Habit Forming: How to make room for healthy habits

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Habit Forming: How to make room for healthy habits

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When I first enrolled in my Debt Management Plan, I honestly did not have healthy financial habits. In fact, my habits were downright unreasonable. 

After I got everything running smoothly on my plan, I started thinking about what would happen after I became debt free from credit cards. At that time, the thought of it scared me. I knew there was the possibility of ending up right where I started if I didn't figure out something. 

I emailed Coach Tammy with my fear and it was the best thing I could have done for myself, besides joining the DMP. She helped eliminate my fears and helped me feel more confident about my future life, free of credit card debt! 

It was after that point that I started thinking about the poor financial habits I had in the past and how to make room for the healthy financial habits to replace them. The following plan helped me find the answers and helped me find a good habit to replace for each bad habit of mine.

Bad habit:

Spending more than I earned.

Good habit:

Writing down every penny I spend and finding ways to cut back. It is amazing how much I spent on unnecessary items.

Bad habit:

Impulsive buying.

Good habit:

Asking myself, "Do I really need it?" Will I really want or need this same item a week from now? Instead of buying it, I add it to my budget and save for it. By the time I have the money, I decide if it is still appealing to me.

Bad habit:

Paying monthly bills with credit cards or consolidating debt from one card to another. How many of us consolidated our debt just to re-use the credit cards we freed up? I know I have.

Good habit:

Paying cash only. If I ever plan on getting a credit card to rebuild my credit worthiness I will only use it if the money is budgeted in my account to pay it off. This way there is no interest added onto the cost of the item.

Bad habit:

Going shopping without a list.

Good habit:

Making a list and only bringing enough cash to pay for the items on that list, leaving the debit card at home.

Bad habit:

Not creating a budget.

Good habit:

Creating a budget and sticking to it.

With all of these new healthy habits I learned on my plan, I have created a new budget for my upcoming freedom from credit card debt. 

This ensures me that I will not just start blowing the money that I have been paying toward my credit card debt. As appealing as it seems to be able to just spend, I don't want to go back to old, unhealthy habits. 

I already have it set up for money to be taken out of my checking account to go towards my different saving accounts; emergency fund, retirement, vacation, gifts, house, etc...I am ready to rock and roll. 

What other bad financial habits can you think of, and what healthy habits can they be replaced with? 

Please share in the comments section below; I can always learn more.

Monica Davis, Recent Debt Management Plan Graduate of CareOne Services,Inc.  

Follow along with Monica's journey now that she is a DMP graduate with her Customer blog under  A Straight Talk on Debt.

Monica Davis

Monica is no stranger to the CareOne Community. As a Debt Management Plan (DMP) customer, Monica has been engaging in our community forums helping others with questions about the plans for under three years.  She is graduating from the DMP this September and is ready to share how she completed her plan early, and what made her successful! Follow mdavis1964 as she shares her tips and insight in the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. Compensated CareOne Debt Relief Services Blogger.


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  • The first sentence of your post really hits home a very valuable point.  I get the feeling that many people enroll in a plan, or even try to take care of it themselves by doing a consolidation loan, or transferring balances or whatever, and think that now that everything is taken care of.

    But in reality, nothing is fixed.....we have to fix the underlying reason(s) of why we got into debt.  Some people end up head over heals in debt by no fault of their own, but many of us (myself included) just made poor financial decisions.  If we don't fix that, the debt will just continue to mount.

    You have a very nice list of bad habits, and I had every single one of them.  Three years on the DMP and Vonnie and I are still fighting to fix them all.  One of the things that I notice that we still do is this:  Payday comes, and we know we have to sit down and do our budget and spending plan for the next two weeks, but we figure we'll do it "the next night" and we end up spending more than we want on that first day. We need to do the budget/spending plan a few days ahead of payday.....otherwise we just shoot ourselves in the foot.

    Great reminder to always keep our eyes on our money.......!

  • Travis you made a great point!  If we don't fix our initial problem we will end up exactly where we were before.  If I don't continue to budget after being debt free I could be setting myself up for failure.  I think that is one reason being debt free is kind of scary in the beginning, just like when I first joined the DMP.

    You and Vonnie have come so far and you will continue to learn and re-adjust.  The best part of making mistakes is learning by them.  There is always something positive to learn behind our errors.  Sometimes it is hard to see the positive at the time we are in the middle of it but later when we are a bit more calm we can find it.  I believe in my heart that you and Vonnie will find a way to figure out your budget in advance.  You always seem to figure things out!!  :-)

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