Treating yourself now and then is essential, but it can be easy to go on one shopping spree too many and overspend. But just as it’s important to evaluate our spending habits to see how we can improve them, it’s also important to note the little things that we are doing well. After all, boosting your morale about how much you're saving makes it easier to put money away instead of impulse buying another expensive, all-organic ice cream tub to stress eat. Trust me, we've all been there.
Here are 11 signs you’re better at managing your money than you think you are. Way to go, you!
1. You’ve never overdrawn from an account.
Overspending can happen before you even realize it. So if you’ve managed to avoid hitting this wall, you’re paying more attention to your finances than you realize (and you're paying more attention than many people you know, I'm sure!).
2. You compare prices when you shop.
Rather than impulse buying the very first thing you see, checking around for a better deal is a sign of financial responsibility. If you’re buying groceries, this means checking to see which brands are on sale. If you’re shopping for jeans, this may mean heading into a few different stores instead of snatching up the very first pair you find. If you compare prices, you're doing pretty well.
3. You have a retirement account with something in it.
Regardless of whether you save a percent of money from every paycheck or add chunks of birthday cash when it comes up, keeping money in an account that you don’t touch is a sign that you are thinking about the future responsibly.
4. You’ve said no to a purchase because of your finances.
Being good with money doesn’t necessarily mean you have lots of it; it means that you’re responsible enough to sometimes deny yourself something you want to afford something you need. Bonus points if you turn down an invitation because an event is going to be too expensive for the current state of your wallet. Talking finances with friends and family can be tough.
5. You’re working toward paying off debts.
Ignoring debt in the hopes that they’ll ‘just go away’ is unfortunately an all too common tactic that people use when dealing with finances. But if you make it a point to put money toward paying your debts off every month, you’re more on track than you think.
6. You keep financial goals in mind.
Whether your goal is to own a house, car, or take an extravagant vacation, keeping a specific objective in mind will help you better consider the things that you spend your money on. It demonstrates that you’re thinking about the future and not only making impulse purchases. If you have a financial goal and work towards it in some way, you're more responsible than you think!
7. You educate yourself about finances.
There are a lot of terms to know where literature is concerned, and some of it can feel really obscure. Reading articles or books about finances to become more knowledgeable is a sign that you’re on the right path where finances are concerned.
8. You avoid incurring unnecessary fees.
If you’ve ever decided against using an ATM that isn’t affiliated with your bank or choose one place for take out over another to avoid a delivery charge, you’re more on track than you think.
9. You look for additional ways to earn money.
Using credit cards that give great rewards, keeping some money in a high-yield savings account, or investing money are all ways to let money that you already have do more work. If you engage in any or all of these practices, you’re probably better with money than you realize.
10. You clear out your recurring charges semi-regularly.
You'd be shocked how many people still pay for a gym they haven't visited in years or a music service that's been archaic since 2010. If you regularly look at your recurring charges and clean out unnecessary subscriptions, you're doing pretty well.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets anthology.