This year, we set aside February to work on developing good money habits (remember?)—and how to drop the ones that don’t stack up.
With that goal in mind, we asked our readers to tell us about the most pervasive financial bad habit they’ve broken—and the smart strategies they used to do it.
We enjoyed reading over 200 of your inspirational responses—from the couple who successfully cut back on dining out every night to the reader who finally curbed the urge to snatch up anything on sale. Thank you to everyone who shared!
We would like to congratulate the winner of our February Call to Action, who will receive $100 to put toward her financial goals: Shannon Stone, a 31-year-old client services representative and mom from Oconomowoc, Wis.
Below, check out how she cleverly nixed her worst money habit:
“I used to let my immediate wants and desires own me. It didn’t matter if the object or adventure I desired was out of budget—I felt that I worked hard, so I deserved it. And yet, at the same time I never thought I had ‘enough’ to put into savings. I had no savings, investments, or assets.
“So, about six months ago I did a self-analysis. While my husband would put money away into general savings, without any goal in mind, I knew this just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get amped about putting money away for some non-specific purpose.
“That’s when my envelope idea kicked in. I figured out that, rather than saving for obscure purposes, I needed to root my savings to specific goals that I could visualize. I started by making different envelopes for different dreams—’Emergency Fund,’ ‘Waterpark Long Weekend Away With the Family,’ ‘Start Our Own Business’—and drew pictures on each one.
“The images aren’t overly elaborate (I’m not a very skilled artist!). The envelope for a home down payment has a picture of a happy little house with a fence, and outside it’s raining money; My husband is standing outside with an umbrella. It’s colorful and slightly juvenile, but having to actually visualize what those goals looked like made me connect with them—and really inspired me!
“Since then, we’ve saved nearly $4,000. I’m now on my way to having all of my pre-marriage debts cleared, and we’re putting money away like it’s going out of style! Having the vision makes it so much easier.”
Thanks for sharing, Shannon!