How to Build Better Money Habits

Building habits is better slow and steady.

Building better habits is hard, especially in the beginning.

Many times when we want to change our lifestyle, we go big! We commit to going to the gym 5 times a week, going on a restrictive diet, or only going out to eat once a month. This can be overwhelming and make us feel like we cannot successfully stick to that habit, causing us to quit.

Micro-Habits 💪

A more sustainable way to start is by building micro-habits: small, everyday habits that add up to a big change. It may not looks like a big change, but over time it adds up. It’s important to pick one small habit to do at a time; eventually it will feel like second nature.

Micro-habits give your willpower a break so that you can focus on building healthy behavioral changes that deliver long-lasting results. Make it so easy you can’t say no 🙌

An example of how micro-habits work to reach a long term goal is:

Long term goal ✅: Build a 3 month emergency fund.


  • Find your largest spending area that is a want (i.e. not a need). Try to reduce is by $50 or 20%, whichever is larger. P.S: Some banks show charts breaking down spending areas on their mobile app!
  • Contribute $5 a week towards your emergency fund
  • If you eat out once a week, try once every two weeks. If its 3 days a week, try 2 days a week, and so forth.

Cue, Craving, Response, Reward 😎

As James Clear explains, the process of building a habit can be broken down into stages to help us better understand how a habit works psychologically, and how to improve habit building. The neurological feedback loop of habits can be broken down to:

  1. The Cue: Triggers your brain to initiate a behavior, it might predict a reward 👀
  2. The Craving: The motivational force behind every habit.
  3. The Response: The actual habit you preform.
  4. The Reward: The end goal of every habit.

It might look a little something like this:

This four-step process is not something that happens occasionally, but rather it is an endless feedback loop that is running and active during every moment of your life (even now 🤯)

We can transform these four steps into a practical framework that we can use to design good habits and eliminate bad ones.

Building a Plan 🛠️

Let’s build out a plan to hit your long term goal. Once you feel like you have mastered one micro-habit, move onto the next and eventually all of these little habits will turn into a sustainable lifestyle change 💚

  1. Start by jotting down an attainable long-term goal.
  2. Think of some small lifestyle changes that you could make to achieve your goal. Remove all barriers you might have to do to accomplish the small changes!
  3. Prioritize the changes by easiest to do to hardest.
  4. Start with the easiest change, and move up to the hardest.
  5. Stack changes together as you start breezing through each micro-habit!

Pro-Tip: Each time you start a new micro-habit, make sure you set up recurring reminders to keep you on track.

Making drastic changes and expecting drastic results seems quite exciting. But trust Debbie, small habits get the job done much more reliably.

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