Money Habits You Shouldn't Skip

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Close-up of someone’s hands counting a stack of U.S. $10 bills

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It is tempting to think that maintaining a budget is the only money management skill you might need. In reality, budgeting is a symptom rather than a solution. If you are regularly making a budget, you’re probably the type of person that is generally attentive to money. That’s the real key to financial success. It isn’t necessarily the budget itself. It is the fact that you're paying attention. What are some of the other good habits that people who pay attention to money exude?

Whenever You Get a Pay Increase, Save and Invest It

Many people use pay raises to inflate their lifestyle. If you apply a raise toward boosting your savings and investments instead, you will have a much better chance of winning the game.

Maintain a Lifestyle You Can Sustain

If you live in a manner that’s far too frugal and deprive yourself constantly, you will eventually counter-balance by overspending. If you maintain a lifestyle that’s sustainable, complete with occasional indulgences in the things you value most, you’ll maintain strong financial habits over the long run.

Practice Some Type of Budgeting

Practice some type of budgeting, even if it’s a basic two category budget. This budgeting involves first pulling your savings off the top, and then living on the rest. If you’d like a more detailed budget, check out the 50/30/20 budget, the five category budget, or a traditional line-item budget. Budgeting is about more than allocating money. It is also about carefully spending your money.

Don’t Put Anything on a Credit Card You Can’t Pay off at Month's End

In fact, if you’re not sure about this, go ahead and pay your credit cards off weekly or even daily to make sure that you’re staying in check. Alternately, switch to a debit card or cash. If you’re unsure if you can use credit cards without digging yourself into debt, stick with cash.

Be Patient

If you want to buy something, save up for it in advance.

Be Grateful

Gratitude is the key to letting go of the importance you place on material items.

Don’t Secretly Spend Money 

Don't spend money secretly behind your spouse’s back. This deception will ruin both your finances and your relationship.

Don’t Equate Having Fun With Spending Money

There are plenty of ways to have fun that does not involve spending a whole lot of dough.

Avoid Impulse Purchases

If there’s something you want to buy, think about it for a week. If you still want it after a week, go back to get it (if you have the savings for it).

Get at Least Three Quotes for Household Work

When you’re hiring repair people, contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other types of household help, it pays to get multiple estimates.

Stick to Low-Fee Index Funds

Stick to low-fee index funds and watch your investment fees closely.

Don’t Trust a Third Party Like Your Stock Broker to Make Good Decisions for You

You can’t outsource your brain. You're the master of your financial destiny. Don’t blindly rely on somebody else to make the decision.

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