Find out where your trouble spots are to jump-start better habits.
Only one-third of Americans track their income and expenses, according to a Gallup poll†. Which means the rest of us are either brilliant mental accountants—or we’re winging it, which means we’re likely to overspend and undersave. If you’re one of the wingers, just a month of tracking where the money goes can be eye-opening.
“People realize that they are spending much more money in certain categories than they thought,” says Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, founder of the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents‡. You might think morning pastries aren’t significant until you see the money you put towards them over time.
Much of our spending is now done online or by card. Non-cash spending can be easy to abuse but there’s an upside: online and card spending actually give you a great opportunity to track your money so you can identify trouble spots. Take a look at these problem money habits to see what changes might help.
- "I have no idea what's happening with my money." Knowing where and what you spend your money on can help you identify overspending. Make a point of tracking your spending over several weeks, not only how much money is going out, but exactly where it’s going.
- “I just don’t have enough money!” If you’re trying to make do with not very much, creating a personalized budget can be immensely helpful. You’ll want to create specific categories that are easy to track, and then tweak the budget as needed.
- “I lose track of when my paycheck is coming!” Spending habits work best when you have a sense of what’s coming, both incoming funds (hello, paycheck!) and upcoming payments (goodbye, rent check!). Laying out your spending and income over the short- and long-term can help you plan better, and reduce some of the anxiety of managing your accounts.
- "I forgot!" You meant to pay that doctor bill, and you definitely meant to get that $50 a friend owed you. But with the whirlwind of everyday life, sometimes to-dos are forgotten. Your phone can help you here. You can set up messaging to keep you on-track with spending and other financial goals.
Find your trouble spots and you’re on your way to developing better money habits. If you’re a Huntington customer, you can take advantage of the Hub, the digital banking experience designed to help you look out for your money. The Hub offers spending analysis, help setting up budgets, views of your financial calendars and Huntington Heads UpSM messages with real-time insights into your spending and savings. Better money habits can lead to financial fitness, according to blogger Schroeder-Gardner, who says, “Use the information to your advantage and take back control of your financial life.”