Buidling Financial Habits for People who can't take Commitments
If you have followed me for a while or sometime, you probably find that very often I break nearly every spending cum saving rules I set for myself. Just early of the year, I was against drinking coffee outside but now it’s part of my life. I even went all out to write a post about getting Starbucks cheap in Malaysia.
It wasn't that I do not recognize the benefits of great habits in our finance. I read and read about building habits. I try building a habit cue system around me – setting my daily alarm for reading, sleeping and all sort of nonsense in the calendar. None worked well except the reminder to pay credit cards is exceptionally successful. Find out why below.
Earlier this month, I read a great post about building financial habits in halfBanked, based on the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. The book talks about four personality types in facing commitments :
UpholdersUpholds commitments to both themselves and others.
ObligersUpholds commitments to others
Commitments to themselves, but will challenge external commitments.
Rebels (me)No intrinsic want to uphold either commitment unless it makes sense for them.
What are rebels? They are people who have not intrinsic sense to uphold commitments.
I am pretty sure I am a rebel – which is why no system works on me. I don't do what people impose on me or what I try to impose on myself (did I try?). Any rule is good - be it as long as I get a total say on my finance. But wait, I have spent less than what I earn for the past decades (with few months of exception, you would forgive me don't you), I believe there's also hope for the rebel.
Unfortunately, I think it's too hard for rebels to build habits, but we can choose to make many little good money decisions so that it add-ons to be great.
Make many little good money decisions so that it add-ons to be great.
I like to act in opposite the giants or society norm while defending their emotions or rational, I think most rebels do. If your rebel is against frugality or getting financial freedom – I can’t help you. But if you are rebelling against being in debt, against wasteful consumerism, against the big corporations that monopoly our lives – rebel people can be very powerful self-motivated people in making great money decisions.
Looking back, the main force that prevents me from getting into debt is it totally doesn't make sense to pay any interest and the reason for me to save money is freedom.
Why good financial decisions make sense to me as a Rebel?
I dislike paying interest to the bank, yes, not even a penny. Not even the RM8 yearly ATM fee. Not even the RM0.50 instant bank transfer charge. If you are so used to pay credit card interest, try taking out your past statement and sum up the amount you have paid for the past 2-3 years. Divide that number with the cost of your happy small treat. Could you have bought 100s ice-cream? Go for a fine dine meal? Buy the branded watch you dream of daily? Feeling the pain? -not-intended pun.
So you see, it totally make sense to prevent or get out of DEBT at ALL COST.
My saving drive is freedom, I cherish financial freedom. I live under a lot of money constraint during university - RM0.40/day. I learned that buying something, anything at all without adding joy to my life is taking away part of my freedom. It's a no go - no matter how good the deal is.
Next is to maintain the momentum and you do that by locking the money in some instrument or investment rider. Once something is locked on an income generating instrument - there's no reason for you to spend it.
I am not going to sugarcoat this - Being a rebel is hard because any goals don't work and impulse purchase still happens
a lot a little. But it's also a joyful state to live in - a life with a little structure, a lot of surprises.