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You Can’t Unlearn Good Money Habits

November 30, 2015

Mrs. Saver and I have been writing for this blog on a regular basis for around 9 months at this point, and there’s a pretty good reason why we’ve yet to lose steam. When we paid off our debt and began to gain our financial footing, our world was opened up for new opportunities. When we wondered what to do with our new influx of available cash, there were endless amounts of amazing resources out there to give us some much-needed direction. The best part? The things we’ve learned so far will inevitably stick with us for the rest of our lives.

You can’t unlearn good money habits, and there’s a good reason why — good money habits tend to lead to more money, and when there’s more money sitting in your bank account, it’s pretty natural to feel awesome. When you feel awesome, your natural tendency is to continue the habits that make you feel that way.

Let’s take debt repayment for example (an excellent money habit). When you successfully wipe out a considerable amount of debt, you gain an amazing sense of empowerment. If I can pay off that much debt, imagine what else I can do! You just might find that your excitement extends into areas of investing, entrepreneurship, or becoming a financial guru yourself. Imagine what you can do with an extra several hundred dollars each month when you’re not paying down debt.

Learning how to save money is also a fulfilling habit. When you begin cutting back on those extra expenses in your life, you just might find that you didn’t need those things you were paying for to begin with. In fact, it’s well documented that buying more stuff tends to make us pretty miserable. When we find that we might not need that expensive cable package, phone plan, or brand new car, it frees us up to apply our money to things in our life that have a better chance of providing us with fulfillment (travel, starting a business, working less to spend time with family, etc).

Let’s consider this also — if you spend the next year cutting out those hefty expenses in your life and getting rid of your debt, do you really think that you’ll one day decide, “screw all this smart money stuff. I want to dive head first back into debt.” In my view, that’s highly unlikely.

Unlikely side effects

There is a strange side effect to these good money habits, however. If you’re currently living with bad money habits, you may be envisioning a debt free life, piles of cash and the ability to run out and buy a Porsche. While it’s definitely true that folks with a high net worth have the capacity to buy a fancy new car outright, most of them don’t want to. No, it’s not because they hate fancy cars. Rather, it’s their lack of desire to drop loads money that made them rich in the first place.

Building these good habits will change you. When I was younger, I drooled over the fancy lives of folks on MTV Cribs and marveled at their ability to buy whatever they wanted. These days, it makes me sick to my stomach thinking about the insane wastefulness celebrated on the show. Ten cars that you don’t even drive?! What the f***! 

If you make the decision to turn your finances around — become debt free, learn to save like a pro and think like an investor — there will come a day that your brain turns completely upside down on you. You’ll look back on your financially-dumb past self and possibly marvel at how deep in the hole you really were. You just might make a vow to never go back once you see where those good money habits are taking you.

Being smart with you money can bring some amazing benefits — being generous becomes even easier, taking on risk becomes exciting, and you’re much more likely to pursue a lifestyle that you’ll ultimately be fulfilled with. Even better, the habits that you begin building today can’t simply be unlearned, and the benefits that come with a healthy financial lifestyle will always be more appealing than the alternative.

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  • Mrs. Groovy

    Once you learn how to be smart with money you never forget. As you said, you can’t unlearn it, and good habits lead to more good habits. Even so, we enjoy listening to Dave Ramsey every night. We like the reinforcement of hearing good advice repeatedly.

    You are so ahead of the game! (And I’ve never even seen MTV Cribs). Keep up the great posts.