Ask the Readers: What Good Financial Habits Do You Have?

By Ashley Jacobs on 7 February 2017 42 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Ashley P., Elena, and Leah for winning this week's contest!

Good financial habits set the foundation for achieving your goals, no matter what your goals are. Some examples are tracking your budget every week, regularly transferring money into your retirement account, and paying more than the minimum on your credit cards, but there are many things you can do to improve your financial situation on a day-to-day basis.

What good financial habits do you have? How have they improved your life? What are some challenges you faced while you were forming these habits?

Tell us about your good financial habits and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

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  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, February 13th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 13th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
     
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Guest's picture
Kristin

My best financial habit lately has been to automate my savings. Automatic deposit to savings account and investments, and apps like Acorns that automatically invest all my roll-ups from my expenditures. If I don't have to think about it, I don't have the chance to think about whether there's something else I want to do with that money!

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Mami2jcn

I pay off my credit card balance every month.

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Elena

I am good at saving money

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Chris

I write down every amount spent, no matter how small or how large. It's been a great way to track $$ and also to quickly spot any problems with credit card charges.

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Guest

Automated savings, 15% 401k contributions, no consumer debt and eating at home about 85% of the time.

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Julie Wood

My good financial habits is that I am not in debt, I save money and pay cash for everything!

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Karen Patterson

We always try to spend less than we make.

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Matt

I bring my lunch to work almost every day

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Monique Hubert

I like to think purchases through for a long time, which usually prevents me from buying anything since I realize quickly I don't need it. Also, I never leave a balance on my credit cards or spend more than I have, which has made me more financially stable and improved my credit score tremendously. That was a hard-learned lesson from when I first got a credit card in college.

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Natalie

A great financial habit is to put some money from each paycheck into a retirement account.

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SKB

"Pay yourself first" is the basis of a good financial plan.

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Natasha

Paying myself first. I make sure to have money transferred to my various accounts as soon as I'm paid.

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Elle

I stick to a budget. I also shop sales/coupon which saves me a lot and pay cash when possible.

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Christie

ALWAYS paying off my credit card every month, making sure we save for the future and for emergencies (emergency fund is what it's all about.) Have fun with my children while they're living at home, they're going to leave sooner rather than later!

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Leah Althiser

Tracking our weekly expenses has been the best habit I've developed. It helps me see where every penny is going and make sure it fits our priorities! Also automated savings and investing has been a huge help. I need to make that money disappear before I ever even see it!

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Lisa

Last year, I finally got it together and formed 2 habits that help me out financially - paying off my credit cards and automatically saving for my emergency fund every month. It was a little bit of a challenge because I was paying for a trip to Walt Disney World in November for myself and my niece. It meant September and October were pretty bare but I made it through without breaking my budget or getting into credit card debt.

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Ernest S.

I log every purchase into an app (currently YNAB), so I always have an up-to-date view of my budget and overall spending.

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MELISSA HANSSON

My best new financial habit is to have my bank email me my account balance every day for checking and once a week for savings. It's good for fraud prevention and it's great for making me want to save money.

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Jakeyr

I monitor my expenditures by getting usage alerts on my credit cards, getting daily balance updates on my bank accounts and monitoring for fraud via LifeLock...all received on my mobile device.

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Guest

I keep track of my income and all my spending in an excel spreadsheet. I know there are apps I can link to my bank account, but it keeps me more aware and accountable when I am keeping track of every time I pay a bill, put gas in my van, make a purchase whether it's necessary or frivolous, etc. I did it for the last four months of 2015, all of 2016, and I'm continuing this year. Keeping track all of last year really helped me figure out what I can cut out, what I'm wasting money on, and how much 'little' monthly expenses like the data plan on my cell phone really cost in the long run. It also helped me 'find' extra money and start a Christmas savings account for the first time. Last Christmas I had enough money for gifts, extra holiday food, cards, and decor without touching my regular paychecks.

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Lisa

Investing my spare change in Acorns and automating my Roth IRA contributions. Also paying myself first l.

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Ria

I track all of my expenditures and every month I try to decrease the amount of money I spend. I also invest at least 50% of my income and try to make my own lunches instead of buying them.

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Amanda

I track every bit I earn and spend. I categorize it, and then, at the end of the month, I write down ways to improve my budget and earning/spending habits. I have found this to be one of the most eye-opening financial habits, as it has led to behavioral changes in many different categories. I have successfully paid off my student loans, while saving 15% of my (rather low income), and I look forward to having my current job pay for me to go back to grad school in the upcoming year. The only debt we currently have is our mortgage. Meanwhile, the four renters we have in our home are helping us pay for our mortgage and most of our utility bills! Reading financial blogs and getting real about my financial situation a couple years ago has been LIFE changing. Thank you!

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Jen D

One financial tip I can share is to read as many reviews as possible before purchasing any items. I have saved a lot of money this way.

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Stephen

I pay attention to every dollar. I only buy gas from Costco, I bring my lunch to work, I get books from the library, I cook at home and I drive the wheels off of my vehicles. I contribute the max to my 401k and have an envelope system for vacations and date nights.

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Karen

I have some of my paycheck automatically withheld for retirement

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Julie Lundstrom

I cut out coupons, plan meals around the sale ads, and do the rewards cards to help save money.

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Gina

My good financial habits are budgeting and using coupons/sales to save money. It helps me have more than I otherwise would and avoid debt.

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Nisha

I keep a budget and record all my expenses religiously. I brown bag lunch 4 times a week.I cook for the week during the weekend and eat dinner at home. Eating out is reserved for weekends, as a social activity. I do not own a car. I save over 50% of my income. I pay credit card balances in full. I do not like shopping, spas, pedicures or manicures and my only self care expense is haircuts. I love to travel and that is my annual "splurge".

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Margaret Davis

Tracking my spending. I've learned the hard way not to carry cash because it seems to flit away in little bits. Instead I have to use my debit card for everything and can then track all my receipts. Also, having to use my debit card for soda and a candy bar is annoying so I can generally talk myself out of the extraneous small purchases :0 But tracking all my receipts has helped me get an idea of how and where I'm spending and if a new habit is helping or hindering my spending.

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Sherri S.

I make a budget and in turn, I'm trying to pay off my student loans by tightening up in other areas.

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dn2erth4u

I always get 40 dollars cash on paydays and stash it away where I can get to it but not easily. This doesn't sound smart on the surface (no interest) but it guarantees I'll have cash on hand in an emergency and I'm not tempted to spend it (unlike extra cash I see in my accounts.

I also joined Digit (an app that saves money for you). I already have over a thousand in this account and I've never missed a dime.

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Kellie

I do most of my spending on a credit card that earns points I can redeem for travel, making my fun time cheaper on occasion. I am not a big spender, so it's easy for me, even with a low salary, to purchase on my credit card and pay it off in full regularly (2-3x/month helps keep me on track and accountable to myself).

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amanda sakovitz

I pay my bills on time

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Susan

If I need to purchase something I first try to find it used or borrow it from a friend or neighbor. I also check out estate sales.net to see if I can find items I need and purchase it used. I rarely purchase anything new.

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Vanessa Flores

I have been pretty good about saving, but we had a car accident that really left us without money because we had to pay for a down payment and some bills. I am slowly getting back up on saving and I realized it can be gone in one second when an emergency hits.

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Kelli

I've finally gotten into the habit of saving at least a little. It's tough since I'm also currently paying down debt, but I just remind myself that if I don't put some money aside I will fall back on credit card reliance and will never get out of the red. Focusing on the future and all the good things I'll be able to do with my money helps keep me motivated.

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Rebecca Ross

I try to save money through as many ways that I can. We are trying to put a lot extra towards our debt, and not take out loans for anything else, no matter what

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Tricia

Hands down my biggest money saver is preparing over 90% of meals at home. This involves making a weekly menu based on what is already available at home (freezer/pantry/fridge/garden) and what's on sale, shopping once a week, and going from there. This doesn't mean that I can't veer off menu if something comes up, but it does mean I have what I need to cook. For most of us, food is one of our biggest expenditures, but it is also one of the areas where we can save the most with very basic planning.

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CYNTHIA

A good financial habit I have is I pay off my credit cards full in every month with auto pay. This way, I avoid paying interest and late fees, which is nice! The challenge is sometimes charges can be high so I pay a lot of money at a time but it's worth it in the end!

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Chris

I'm good at tracking where my money is spent and looking over that data periodically.

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BRB

Having a budget! Basic, but so important!

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Kayan green

I have good financial habit's which helps me a lot with my long life dream which I cut back on spending and more saving. in doing that I have to budget my life style: cut back and using electricity too much, and I also do business with trusted financial institution which grows interest on my money and I also have a good lawyer to handle my money for me. I can say i face challenges for Example: i can't go out as often as i use to, neither shopping but i manage and now i have cars which i dreamed of and also a toy store for kids so i can say it wasn't easy but i manage through that and soon my kids can follow my foot steps thank you saving.

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Happy Love

I use my credit cards like a debit card and pay them off at the end of the month.

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Yvonne

Best habits are tracking everything I spend and reviewing my budget items monthly.

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Rich

Don't make shopping into your "hobby" and eating at home are big money savers.

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April

I always pay my bills on time

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Tabathia B

I budget monthly, coupon and purchase items on sale

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Michelle D.

I am frugal and don't buy things that I don't need.

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Ashley P.

I am really good about balancing my checkbook and keeping track of all my money.

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Ana

I make my own coffee at home, I don't ever get coffee from coffee shops.

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Thomas Murphy

I am good at saving up money.

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Miss Kim

I use coupons for everyday household items and food.

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Michael K

I have automatic bill pay set up so I never pay bills late.