Coming from a family whose members earn really well, we still never really reached the status of being “rich”. Even my mother admits it’s because of their tendency to overspend. They are one of those people who buy the newest iPhone models, constantly go shopping for clothes (both online and in the mall!), and give expensive gifts to families and friends.

Whenever I share this with other people, they are surprised by how different I turned out when it comes to money. What I tell them, as I will now tell you, is that bad money habits can be changed! These are not just mere words by financial experts and advisors; it can actually be done if you only be patient and persevering enough to work towards it.

What makes change difficult for many people these days is the tendency to submit to the thinking that either you are born with a talent for managing money or not. Others, they think that once they developed bad habits, there is no coming back. However, those are simply not the case. We have 2 good news for you.

First, no one is born an over-spender. Good money habits are developed, just as how we did so with our bad ones. It follows, therefore, that bad habits can be unlearned and replaced with good ones. The second good news is that provided below are concrete ways, as given by financial experts, to change your bad money behaviours.

Break The Habit: How to Change Your Bad Money Behaviors

On overspending: Trick yourself into getting over your impulses and temptations to buy.

One problem in overcoming bad habits is that part of our brain motivates us to stop it, whereas the other part tells us to keep on doing it. This applies to our spending habits. We tend to prioritize things that bring only temporary convenience or happiness, so we end up postponing what is for good for long-term. In this case, we postpone saving and investing.

How to Overcome Overspending & Save More Money Fast!

What are actual ways to change this habit?

Since I was young, I always liked seeing big bills in my wallet. Seeing the bills made me not want to spend them, and somehow, until now, it’s the same. I tend to spend more when I have smaller bills, even if it’s a lot of smaller bills.

Little did I know that other studies show that this is actually an effective way to avoid spending. Financial experts say that having your money in bigger bills is better than having them in small ones, even if they are of the same value.

The psychology behind it explains that having bigger bills gives us the illusion that it is harder to earn it back than seeing the smaller bills. Just like many who do the same thing, I end up double thinking whether the product is worth breaking a large bill for. Most of the time, it’s not. Yet, I probably would have bought it still had I brought smaller bills instead.

It also helps to make it a regular practice to pay in cash than charge it to your credit. It is easier to be aware of your spending when you actually see yourself handing out the cash you are about to spend. Beat your laziness to withdraw from cash from the atm. Try not bringing your credit card if you can actually pay with cash.

On self-control:  Rid yourself of the “Carpie Diem” thinking when it comes to financial matters.

“Why save for later when you can make the most of the now?” – this kind of reasoning is quite common these days. While it is not exactly wrong, it’s not a good motto to go by when it comes to financial management, especially if you are aspiring to get rich one day.

When you apply such thinking in your financial life, you will be giving yourself another reason to bring out all your earnings at one splurge. Unfortunately, saving is an essential step in the path to getting richer. How are you planning to save if you keep on spending most of your income just to make the most of life?

Are Friends Your Roadblocking your Financial Progress?

Other than that, today’s generation is a generation with much more limited attention than the past ones. That is because we have so many distractions these days; so many ads tell us to buy this or that, our social media friends make us envious of their travelling experiences, and much more. It is not anymore surprising that we find it more difficult as well to think long-term and look at the bigger picture, to remember our big goals for our lives.

What are actual ways to change this habit?

Take advantage of the conveniences that technology has brought to us. What I do is I make the most out of your smartphone by using it as a tool for budgeting. Countless apps, both free and paid, on budgeting and financial management are available for download on our smartphones. Track your spending by making it a habit of listing everything you spend on. By the end of the day, check your apps. You might be doubting how effective this step is, but wait and see until you try it.

10 Habits Of Successful Women To Adopt To Be Wealthy

If you are really having problems when it comes to saving, you may also opt to automate your month deposits into your savings. This way, whether you remember or not, part of your income automatically goes to your savings account.

I also found out through research that some banks offer savings account from which you can withdraw for only a few times a year. With such restriction, it would get quite difficult to touch your savings for things that are not really needed.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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