The best part about doing something for 21 days (give or take) is that you sort of start to forget you are trying to create a habit of “doing it” (no, not “it” head outta the gutter guys). That’s the beauty of doing something consistently for a period of time, experts say 21 days is the magic number for creating a new habit. Clearly they know a thing or two. Which something have I been doing for 21 days, you ask? I have in the past talked about starting new healthy habits a few times, so it’s a good fair question. But specifically, I am talking about money habits. Spending only my own money, using cash or my Interac® Debit card only, the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge.
In all honesty, it was super easy to not use my credit card, it wasn’t like I needed to wean off of spending money or stop drinking coffee for 21 days. Since I already had a pretty good set of money saving rules I live by, adding no credit card usage into the mix felt like the perfect addition to set me on an even better saving path.
Since it has become a habit to not use my credit card, the Interac 21 Days Credit-Free Challenge clearly worked and I plan to keep up with it. Over the course of the past 21 days, I learned a few more things about my habits that I plan to stick with. And what better way to remind myself of those things, then to write them down here, also as always they might be helpful for you too:
Credit cards are here, but for online necessity purchases only. NECESSITY, in all caps. Most stores accept Interac Debit cards, but there are still a few that don’t specifically, when I’m booking the kids activities and classes, so that credit card will stick around, for this purpose only. It will no longer be used for purchases of the everyday variety. It is not interchangeable with my hard-earned money.
Spending actual money does feel better, but not spending any money feels even better. I knew this before, but maybe forgot it a little bit. That scenario of wanting to buy something, then going through the “do I need it?” “do I love it?” steps I made for myself and realizing that, “nope” I don’t need to buy it, actually feels better than any purchasing retail “therapy”. I enjoy the feeling of either validating or invalidating a purchase, it’s similar to window shopping minus all the wanting, dreaming and contentment issues that follow later.
No more pre-planning the use of incoming money. Well, other than the use of it fitting into our everyday budget. Otherwise, the plan is to save extra money (I work freelance so there have been some months where things are better/extra) and no more thinking, “when that cheque comes in we will use that for vacation/a new couch/”. That preemptive allocating of money can pretty much fall under the same umbrella as using a credit card. Since I plan it away, it’s like I already spent it.
Have savings goals! Large goals and a few smaller ones, like say a 5 year plan and a 1 year plan. When there is a goal you have something to work towards. And you are 9 times out of 10 more likely to reach a savings goal quickly if you are focused on that sweet end goal.
Make sure you are using the Interac Debit card to access money from the account with low fees. One of your accounts has lower banking fees than the other, often it’s your chequing account. Check which one, maybe even go into the bank and get the setup with one account changed (we did a couple of years back). We make sure only to use that account (with the lowest fees) when accessing money, so by the end of the month our fees are lower and we saved money!
Did you take the Interac 21 Days Credit-Free Challenge? If so, what did you learn and how did it go? Do you have any ‘learnings’ to add to this list?
Disclosure: This post was part of a sponsored collaboration between Interac Association and SheKnows
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