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If saving money is your goal, focus on one behavior at a time

Saving money, or refraining from spending, is a habit that takes time.
Saving money, or refraining from spending, is a habit that takes time. File image

Popular science claims it takes anywhere between 21 and 66 days to form a habit.

To change one habit is simply to create a new behavior in its place. These habit-changing tips can work to create new habits for your health, finances or any behavior you want to improve — like listening better, working harder or maintaining a more positive attitude.

Observe

Before you can start changing a behavior, you need to get familiar with it. If the habit you want to change is to save more money, first you’ll have to figure out where your money is going that isn’t savings.

Target

Targeting a habit gives you a focus, instead of trying to change everything at once. Once you get an idea of the current patterns, choose one to alter. Let’s stick with the same idea of savings. After observing your spending, you may notice that you spend your extra income on both entertainment and online shopping. Instead of saying you’ll cut both out in favor of saving, either cut one out or cut each in half by 50 percent.

Track

Figure out how well your new habit is forming by tracking. Where you once saw $100 going toward online purchases and $0 into savings, you should now see $50 contributed to each.

Review

Choose a reasonable deadline to establish your new habit. Then sit down and see how your habit has changed. You can define what success looks like to you. If there isn’t very much difference between what your habit was at the beginning versus what you’re tracking now, try to find something else to target. But if you feel like you’ve accomplished what you set out to, head on to another habit.

So if you’re like most people and your 2019 resolution has already started to waiver — most are totally abandoned by this point in the year already — maybe choose one habit to tackle and follow these steps. It’s all about the progress, not perfection.

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.

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