One of the things I’ve learned is that in order to do well financially, sometimes I need to get out of my own way. When I set a priority, I need to automate it so I can’t sabotage myself out of success.
When we set up Ian’s direct deposit when he started his new job, we automatically started saving a percentage of his income as part of our effort to avoid lifestyle inflation when he started making more money.
Use an app to save for you
Before I had the option of using direct deposit into multiple accounts, we used Digit to save money for us. That worked well because it analyzed our spending and took our small amounts based on our past spending behaviors.
Invest small amounts
One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that my Maverick archetype loves to go all-in with big, exciting actions, then I’d lose my motivation and quit. That never worked well for me, so I’ve learned to set up systems that take little to no maintenance when I’m enthusiastic. When I get excited and motivated, I can add to the systems, but if my success with something depends on my motivation, then I know it has a lot higher of a fail rate.
We started using Acorns to invest for us, which meant we were investing the “round up” money that used the spare change from our purchases. Later on, I added a weekly amount that comes out the day Ian’s paycheck hits the bank, so it’s taken out just like a bill. As we’ve done things like decreasing our grocery bill through growing, hunting and preserving our own food I’ve been able to increase what we’re investing regularly, so it’s really growing.
Plan for reality
One of the biggest strengths of my Maverick (one of my top three Sacred Money Archetypes) is that I often just “magic things up.” In fact, most of the people in my family are the same way. Things just tend to work out for us. Living on a wish and a prayer is where we thrive!
For years, I used my gift as a reason to avoid doing smart financial things, which was so silly. When I was manifesting money to care of basic things, I could have been focusing on things that were much more fun and would have a much bigger impact on us long-term. Vacations and travel are a perfect example of this in action.
Recently, we changed Ian’s direct deposit so that 1% of what he makes goes into a travel & vacation fund. It’s not so much that we notice the money being “gone” from the budget, but it’s plenty to cover the basic costs for the few trips we have planned this year. That way, when the time for the trip comes closer I can budget for our spending and fun money out of our “regular” budget, but all of our boring costs like gas and food are taken care of.
Another good example of this is how we plan for our holiday gifts. Last year we did almost entirely homemade things like jams and jellies. The costs were minimal, but we could give everyone things we knew they’d love. I know a lot of people don’t do their holiday gifts this way, so it makes sense to plan for holiday giving.
If you’re going to buy stuff for gifts – make a freaking plan and budget for it. Don’t refuse to make a plan, put it on a credit card and then freak out in January when the bill comes due and you have to make a plan to pay it. Make a plan for reality, and avoid the money drama.
Those are some of the really easy ways we’ve started implementing to automate things about our finances, which helps us make sure our own lack of motivation doesn’t become a problem for us meeting our goals.
I’d love to hear how you use automation to help manage your money without resistance.