If you wanted to quit smoking, you only need to stay off the cancer sticks for 21 days for you to develop a new cigarette-free habit. According to studies, it takes roughly 21 days to lose a bad habit or gain a good habit. 21 days. 3 weeks. People have used this principle to lose weight, stop gambling, stop drinking, or earn more money.
You can also use the 21-day habit principle to help you save money. Just as overspending is a bad habit, saving is a good personal finance habit. Use these tips to help you get going on your new saving habit.
First, you need to decide
If you want to acquire a savings habit, you have to stop thinking along the lines of ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I saved’ or ‘I really hate not having any money saved up but I am sure I will get around to it someday.’ Stop wishing. Stop thinking ‘wouldn’t it be nice.’ Instead, you have to decide. Decisions are very different from wishing and hoping because decisions are backed by action.
Moreover, decisions come at an emotional price-you risk embarrassment to yourself when you go back on a promise you made to yourself. If you really want to give your decision a little more ‘teeth’-make it public. When you decide on a matter publicly, the public embarrassment of going back on your word can act as a powerful prod to move you forward and it can pressure you to keep moving forward.
Once you have decided to take action, the next step is to, obviously, take action. The good news is that your first steps don’t have to be dramatic. You don’t have to put away a huge chunk of cash. You can start slow. Start with something you can’t feel. For example, you can start by saving $5 everyday.
Once you have gone 21 days saying $5 daily, ramp it up to $6 and so on and so forth. The key here is to ramp it up incrementally. You are running a marathon not a sprint so make sure you scale it up in such a way that it doesn’t cause you discomfort.
Go with momentum
Once you have started saving, keep going. You will notice that it will start getting hard for you to stop. When you reach this point, you have gained momentum. Make it work in your favor. Go with the momentum of your new saving habit and keep ramping it up-one small step at a time.