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The 1 Thing You Can Do Today To Change Your Money Habits

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Change Your Money HabitsPrioritize your money.  To change your money habits all you have to do is understand what is urgent and important for you and then line align your actions up with that. That’s it.  Often people make prioritizing out to be more difficult than it really is.  Let me show you an example using my laundry situation and to explain the basics of urgent vs important.

Prioritizing Laundry:

As mentioned on Twitter we are in total renovation mode right now and will likely be until the summer time.  Right now we are working on finishing the rest of our basement, or the basement-basement as I oddly call it.  It’s just the furnace area, a couple of storage areas and the laundry room.  We started about 3 months ago and there has been tons of progress behind it.  All of the electrical, plumbing, framing and drywall is up.  While we are a DIY family, however no one wants to do the mudding and taping.  Like no one.  So we have to hire that out.  They were coming over on a weekend and it will be a total dusty mess while they are here and I won’t have access to my washer and dryer.  I happened to have the day before off and went to work on doing my laundry.

In total I had 5 loads of laundry to do, a couple of rounds of clothes, tee-towels, sheets and bath towels and maybe not enough time.  So I had to prioritize what I wanted to do in case I didn’t have time to do it all.  I started with the clothes and then moved onto the tee-towels and then sheets and towels.  I did them in that order because I could not afford NOT to wash the clothes.  So they were priority number 1.  I was able to get all of it done because I started early enough, however if I wasn’t able to for whatever reason I made sure I got the important stuff taken care of.  That’s really all prioritization is at the end of day.

Back to money portion of today’s reading:

Same principle goes for your money.  You have to focus on what is most important to you.  You might have a list of 10 money goals that you would like to accomplish but you have to break it down to understand what is most important to you and focus on that.  Once that is complete you can move onto the next task.

Sometimes these are hard choices because we don’t have enough to work with to do everything all at once.  That’s really okay because having a solid financial footing is not a race or competition.  If you are starting in your 20s or 30s you still have a long time to go and can likely do a lot of things in this amount of time.  Great quote from Tony Robbins:

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”

When you take a look at the habits for the most productive people, one of the top things is that they focus on what matters and understand the difference between urgent and important.  Urgent and important get confused often.  Not everything is urgent and many people, either in work or life, believe that they are one and the same.  I say this often but if everything is urgent than nothing is urgent.  Urgent usually has a timeline associated with it or needs to be completed before doing other things.  Side reading is 7 Habits for Highly Effective People.

Urgent vs Important:

Let’s say you want to buy a house and that is priority number one so you want to make your focus saving for a down payment.  But let’s say you have a lot of student or consumer debt and until you pay that off you may not be approved for a mortgage.  In this case saving for a down payment is important but it’s not as urgent as paying off your debt.  Even if you have saved enough for a down payment your debt load is going to prevent you from using it on a house.  As always urgent wins and you have to pay off your debt first.  Take a look at this handy chart to help visualize where each of your goals fit.

Below is a grid to keep in mind when thinking about urgent and important.

Urgent and Important Grid













Source: http://www.poothassociates.com/management/time-management-way-beyond-to-do-lists

Change Your Money Habits and Help the  Rest of Your Life Too:

Prioritization is something that all of us can get better at and it will help in all aspects of your life, either at home, work or school and especially with your money.  Decision making and your money are very personal and you need to make sure you are doing what is best for you.  If you try to focus on too many things at once or something things that are really not important you will miss some of the goals that you really want to accomplish.

Let me know in the comments how you prioritize your money and what your number #1 money priority is right now.


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  1. Paul says:

    Terrific post. I love the reference to “7 Habits”. That book has certainly changed my view on things. Determining urgent vs important can be difficult and I agree that many times we confuse the two. When faced with a task, ask yourself three questions: Is this aligned with my goals? What would be the consequence of I didn’t complete it? Is there an alternative? I have found that these questions help me prioririze in a much better way when it comes to both tasks and money.

    • Couple of Sense says:

      Those are great questions to ask! I’m sure they help you tons in clearly defining your goals and therefore your purpose for your actions.

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