What Are Your Money Rules?
I have a confession to make: I love rules. I know! Most people don’t. But, I do. Having rules gives me a sense of security and control. Knowing there are rules means that the chaos is, if not under control, at least contained a little bit.
Because I’m a rule lover and follower, I have come up with some rules to live by during my financial journey. I’ve developed these “rules” over the years through trial and error, but now I couldn’t live without them. I definitely couldn’t meet my financial goals without them!
Michelle’s Money Rules
I call them “Michelle’s Money Rules” and they have saved me from making those small money mistakes that add up over time and derail your financial goals. They are simple, practical guardrails I’ve put around my behavior with my money and they’ve helped me build a solid financial foundation under my feet.
Money Rules are the guideposts I live my life by so that I have a JoyFULL life today, and I still work towards long-term financial security for tomorrow. These rules help me stay the course and course-correct when I need to.
Your rules will be different than my rules, and that’s ok! Your rules also might change and evolve as you go through life. Mine certainly have.
Here are a few of mine to hopefully inspire you:
- If it’s still in the bag a week later, I take it back
- If it doesn’t make it out of the car in a week, I take it back
- If it’s over $200 I have to wait 24 hours to see if I still want it (most of the time I don’t!)
- I’m allowed to buy all the books
- I’m allowed to buy all the tea
- If it saves Future Me time or money, I do it!
- I’m allowed to eat out once a week (and I plan for it!)
- I NEVER save my credit card information online. Anywhere! Not only does it make it harder to impulsively buy online I’m also protecting myself from hackers. #winwin
My Money Rules help me avoid overspending and impulse buying, and have literally saved me thousands of dollars over the years.
For example, to be nice to Future Me, I like to keep at least 2-3 types of frozen meals in the freezer for those nights I can’t bring myself to cook. I’ve tracked my expenses and I know that it’s usually Wednesdays for me. By Wednesday night, I am too mentally exhausted to have to decide what to feed myself and then cook it.
I know it’s going to happen, so I plan for it. I keep a few things in the freezer that I enjoy eating and can get from the freezer to the plate in fifteen minutes or less. #gamechanger
Why Have Money Rules?
Okay, first of all, don’t let the word “rule” throw you for a loop. You’re the boss here. You get to decide if they are “rules” or “guidelines” or “hacks” or even “potential goals I’m thinking about it”.
It’s your party, you get to do it your way!
What I have learned from my own experience and working with clients, is that your Money Rules become the underlying “support system” for your overall financial goals. At their most basic level, having money rules creates boundaries around what I will and won’t spend my money on, as well as how I will and won’t spend my money.
For example, setting the rule that if I buy something and it is still in the bag a week later I have to take it back has helped me curb my impulse buying. I know that If I buy something and I have not taken it out of the bag within a week, I probably didn’t really want it. This rule or “hack” if you prefer, greatly helped curb my impulse buying and emotional spending back when I was trying to learn to manage my money.
Money Rules and the Budget by Paycheck Method
One of the things I love about the Budget by Paycheck method of budgeting is that I’m working with a smaller “chunk” of my money. Working with a smaller amount is less overwhelming for me than a whole month.
Plus, as I’m looking out over the next ten to fourteen days I can be more intentional with my spending. I know what the “big rocks” are for those two-ish weeks and I know how much “slack” there is in my budget.
Then, my Money Rules come in to support my money plan for those two weeks. If I do go shopping, I have a rule that if it’s more than $200 I have to wait twenty-four hours before I can buy the thing. Additionally, If I buy something and it’s still in the bag a week later - which is within the ten to fourteen-day window of my budget - I take it back. Honestly, just these two rules have saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, over the last ten years!
Money Rules Curb Impulse Buying
Setting rules, or guidelines if you prefer, around how you spend your money takes a lot of the decision-making off the table when it comes to impulse buys and emotional spending. I can’t tell you the number of times I have put something back because it’s over $200 and the next day I don’t even remember that I wanted it. Or, how many times I’ve taken a bag of stuff back to Target because it didn’t make it out of the bag within a week.
There’s also been a benefit that I didn’t see at first. Having these rules in place has helped me see my behavior when it’s happening.
I’ve become much better at recognizing when I’m spending because I’m bored or having a bad day and simply because I’m grumpy. Recognizing my behavior in the moment has been key to changing my behavior long-term!
So, what are your Money Rules going to be? Let me know over on LinkedIn or Instagram because I’d love to know what worked and what didn’t!
Want to know MORE about how to manage your budget in your bill calendar?
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