Lots of how we behave, is habit; what time we get up, our morning routine, our favourite beverage, and even the route we take to work. While you don’t give much thought to some habits, poor financial habits can have the potential to wreak havoc on our lifestyle. By the same token, developing healthy financial habits will reap rich rewards.

Taking control of our finances, in small or large ways means making our money work harder for us. Ask yourself, is there a bad financial habit you can drop and a good one you can implement to take its place?

5 tips to get started:

1. Automatic savings

We can be lazy when it comes to savings. Many people wait and see what’s left at the end of each pay period before putting funds aside — chances are, there’s not a lot left over to put away for the rainy day.

It’s a good idea to set up an automatic transfer to come out of your account the same day you’re paid. That way you are habitually set aside part of your income, whether it be 1% or 10%. Make sure you pick an account that rewards you for putting aside regularly without taking funds out.

2. Automatic spending

If you have debt you need to get on top of, also set up and automatic transfer to pay more than your regular minimum monthly payment. If you allocate a set amount each pay period to be automatically transferred, you’ll make inroads into the amount owing much more quickly.

This will also help you save a lot on the compounding interest charged on your debts. Therefore, you should pick the debt with the highest interest rate to tackle first.

3. Share your goals

If you have friends, family, or colleagues you trust, share an important goal with them. Is it to lose credit card debt? Pay a set amount off your mortgage? Or to take a trip? Those who write down their goals and share them with others are more likely to achieve them.

4. Lose the credit cards

For some, a credit card that hasn’t reached its limit feels like money in the bank. It isn’t! It’s very expensive debt. Often the thrill of what we bought has long gone by the time the bill is in and we have to pay.

5. Treat yourself

We live in a society that constantly bombards us with images of how our lives should or could be. We deserve to go out for dinner, have a beautiful home, wear those great new shoes, or splurge on that night out. We’ve become accustomed to ‘treating ourselves’ whenever we want because we’re entitled to. We work hard and deserve it.

What about turning that around and asking if we deserve more? Do we deserve financial freedom more than the new tech gadget we’re told we can’t live without? Do we deserve to be debt free rather than spending our weekly shopping budget on a night out? Stop ‘spoiling yourself’ at the expense of your financial freedom.

Embracing healthy financial habits can feel strange at first, but the rewards are rich and worthwhile.