First things first I’m going to be super transparent about my experience and how adopting better money habits will dramatically improve your financial situation. As a millennial woman, I think it’s safe to say that for many of us, understanding the importance of financial literacy was just not a priority. It’s like, you make money and just spend it on whatever you want at the moment. 

The moment I knew my mindset around money was severely skewed was when I doubled my salary and was still living paycheck to paycheck. I couldn’t understand how I was making so much more money and was still not seeing the difference. Of course, you can blame inflation and all that, it’s valid, however, even with inflation, you should still be able to adjust and handle your finances accordingly. 

There was even a time where I moved in with my man for about 9 months and didn’t have to pay any bills and STILL I couldn’t see my money. I didn’t have any major financial responsibilities outside of my cute little white Audi A3 car loan, insurance and warranty.

It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom and experienced the shame of asking for help while I make a 6-figure salary and I don’t have children, that I grasped the severity of my situation. I needed better money habits. 

Better Money Habits: Start Today

Below I’m going to share 10 practical hacks you can start today if you are in a similar situation and want to make a change in your life. Trust me, it’s going to be uncomfortable but it’s definitely worth it. Give yourself a solid 6 months and you’ll be well on your way.
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1. Know where you stand financially.

earn more money

Sis, take a day and look at everything. Those student loans, credit cards, personal loans, payday/cash advances, Klarna, AfterPay… you know what I’m talking about. All the things that you’re financially committed to that are not tied to your housing, utilities and things required to maintain your life. Write it all down so you know exactly what kind of debt you’re in. 

Next, write down your monthly income. Maybe you have a 9-5 or you’re an entrepreneur or both. Either way, write down the amount from all of your income streams to get a full view of what you’re bringing in. 

Knowing where you stand is the first step to getting on the right track.

2. Establish your lifestyle goals.

Next, think about what you want out of life. Are you comfortable with your current lifestyle or do you desire more? Maybe you have a goal to travel more or drive a certain car, live in a different city, start a business or whatever else. Think about 1 year from today (5 years if you’re not easily overwhelmed) and establish what you want your life to be.

Don’t think about money, think about lifestyle. Consider hobbies, fitness, beauty, location, relationships and everything else that embodies the future you. 

3. Be realistic about what you can afford right now.

Here’s where life back hand slaps you in the face. Compare where you stand financially with your lifestyle goals and take note of any discrepancies. If you’re currently spending more than you’re making, you’re in trouble.

Additionally, if your debt-to-income ratio is approaching 50%, girl… just stop whatever you’re doing. Take a moment to be real with yourself about the path you’re headed towards. As millennial women, we’re in that critical phase of life.

Every single decision we make can insanely affect our mental health and overall self-confidence. Yes, money and finances play a huge role in your confidence. And the dollar amount doesn’t matter.

I don’t care if you make $70k or $170k per year, the ability to manage whatever you make is most important. 

After you’ve reviewed your finances and you can see what’s going on, it’s time to start seriously budgeting. It’s a good practice to spend 75% or less of your total income on all your necessities (housing, utilities, transportation, food). Also, I’m not a financial advisor, but these are things that have helped me manage my finances with ease.

4. Stop the frivolous spending.

The one thing I realized I was doing that I had to stop immediately was spending money on the little things. Anytime I heard a sale was going on at my favorite clothing store or saw a cute one-piece workout fit on TikTok shop that was $5 just for the next 5 minutes, I was double clicking my apple pay to make the purchase. 

And let’s not even talk about the king of convenience AMAZON that impressively delivers items to your doorstep within hours after purchasing. Just delete the app until you have better self-control. 

Also, living above a super target…… (I know, the horror) enjoying my daily walk to browse the aisles to find random cute things that I didn’t need was like therapy for me. I made it make sense in my head because, I make good money, and this cowboy hat is only $10, so why not.

The problem is… those little things added up every month to something equivalent to a car payment. I also noticed all of the subscriptions I was signed up for that I didn’t use; pay close attention to those, they add up and it’s easy to lose track. 

Stop unintentionally spending money on things just because it’s cheap or on sale. That’s a trap.

5. Spend more intentionally on things that enrich your life.

You don’t really have to stop spending money to have better money habits. I learned overtime that, I couldn’t afford to spend money on the things that actually enriched my life because I had spent it all on sh!t. For instance, pole fitness is a passion for me. But it got to a point where I couldn’t afford to spend the monthly membership fee of $199 for unlimited classes. I can’t afford to spend $199 on fitness each month with a 6-figure salary?? How Sway? That’s embarrassing.

Self-care, education, investments, savings, certifications and charity/donations/tithes are other things that significantly enrich your life. Be intentional about spending money on those things instead of things that don’t matter.

Better Money Habits: 6-10

6. Adopt the mindset that holidays are for spending time with family, not overspending.

You can miss me with the Christmas presents and all that stuff. It’s the obligation that drives me insane. Never feel like you have to purchase gifts just because it’s a holiday or a birthday. Buy gifts when you truly feel it in your heart to give.

I was also guilty of looking high and low for gifts that would impress people and not make me look cheap. This is also a trap that you don’t want to fall into.

It’s okay to spend on kids if you have them, just don’t go broke doing so. (I don’t have children so maybe there’s another layer to wanting to give to your kids beyond your means that I don’t understand, so parents please don’t shoot).

Also, overspending on food during the holidays that no one is going to finish is also a terrible money habit that you should avoid. Bad for your finances and health – but that’s a whole different post

7. Don’t obsess and check your account everyday.

Babe, don’t obsess and log into your bank app every day. If you’ve followed steps 1, 4 and 5, you know exactly what’s coming in and going out. Get to a point where you can just flow… meaning you don’t have to check, you’re in a grove and you have a good handle on your finances. 

8. Maintain an abundance mindset.

No negative thoughts about your finances. Remove the following phrases from your mind and vocabulary: 

  • I’m broke
  • I can’t afford that

Instead, you can say something like, “I have just enough money to cover my bills this month”. It takes the sentiment from negative to positive. Because what a blessing it is to have all that you need to maintain a roof over your head and food on your table. Be grateful at all times. 

9. Create a financial plan to tackle your debt and increase your income.

HA!! You thought it wasn’t coming right?…. You got to the end of the post without me talking about planning this and planning that; but, here it is.

I cannot stress this enough! Planning ahead is the thing that is going to level up your financial life and upgrade your confidence levels times 10.

Either hire a financial planning consultant or DIY that thing and use common sense. Start by writing down your financial goals, your income and planning your paydays accordingly to achieve those financial goals. If you’re looking for a dope planning software to assist, use this link to sign up with Notion today! Here’s a link to the template I use to track my expenses every week. 

6 Expert Ways to Plan Your Day Like a Boss

10. Set strong boundaries with yourself and those around you.

better money habits

Tell your friends and family no. Straight up. Don’t feel bad about it either. Say no confidently and unapologetically. Don’t fall into the trap of people-pleasing or wanting to keep up with society’s standards.

And most importantly, don’t cross your own boundaries, if you have to tell your current self no to protect your future self, you need to do that and be unwavering in your decisions. 

I hope this helps you in your journey to better money habits and financial well-being!

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