Money & You

Money habits and how baby steps can help you

May 6, 2023

Hi there!

Sasha from Team Spotty here.

I don't know about you, but when I go to the supermarket I always end up buying the same things, and cooking the same food for my kids- partly because I know it'll make dinner time easier, and partly because my brain is on autopilot. I'd never really thought about it too much before but there's a whole heap of research that speaks about our habits- why we do them, and why it can be so hard to break them.

It's a little bit like New Year's Resolutions. They sound great on 1 January, but by the 7th they're feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially when it's something huge like giving up cake for a year.

The same thing applies to money. The content below is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, Head of Research at PsychologyCompass, which merges psychology and technology to help people develop habits to improve their mental well-being and performance. In her article, she refers to Dr. Joseph Kable, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, who explains what happens when someone is asked to repeat a behaviour over and over. “Initially there’s lots of areas involved,” he noted. “But as you do the task over and over again what you see is what you see is fewer and fewer areas that were necessary the first time through. It’s only using those neurons and those brain areas that are absolutely necessary in order to get the task done.”

This makes the habits easy and mindless, freeing you up to think about new things. But it also makes habits difficult to break, because your brain has made you unaware of them.

They have some great tips:

  • Make one change at a time. Trying to change everything all at once is overwhelming and increases the likelihood you'll fail. I've always said baby steps lead to great leaps. For me, I need to break things down into bite-sized chunks, especially when they're things I don't find particularly exciting or interesting.
  • Figure out what triggers your habit. Does a place, person, or feeling trigger you to do the habit you want to change? If so, then think of something you could do instead.
  • Associate good habits with positivity. Enjoyable behaviours can prompt your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. If you do something over and over, and dopamine is there when you’re doing it, that strengthens the habit even more. When you’re not doing those things, dopamine creates the craving to do it again,”
  • Automate good habits. For example, if you want to put some money into an account, set it up on an automatic payment. If you want to pay extra off your loans, set up a separate payment that you don't think about. Little amounts can make a big difference!

Go you!

So, by committing to your financial reset you've taken the first step on a new habit.

Whilst life may not be predictable, we're with you every step of the way. By sharing these articles and videos we hope that they can spark 'one thing' that you'd like to think about for your own family, or something that you'll share with your community.

So over time, the habit becomes something that we don't even think about and we create space for our next goal or dream.

Want to delve deeper

The video below goes into more depth on the concepts above, particularly focussed on money habits.

Remind yourself of why you made the commitment for your financial reset

We asked you WHY you wanted the reset. Take some time to add it in to your Customer Portal now. It will help on our journey together.

This was originally posted as an education article on the Money Sweetspot customer portal. If you read this as one of our customers, you would've earned some money off your loan! Do the mahi, get the treats. Find out more.

Related articles

Why hibernating isn't always good for your pocket
When all metrics point to a cold economic spell for many families, it's crucial to know where we can help ourselves.
July 9, 2024
Real people getting Out of Debt and On with Life!
Real stories of resilience and financial transformation from everyday Kiwis that we've supported on their debt detox journey.
April 18, 2024
Understanding the impact of Financial Stress on our Well-being
Explore effective strategies to manage financial stress, ensuring it doesn't affect our health and happiness.
April 2, 2024

Join Our Tribe

Sign up for our newsletter to receive exclusive money tips, educational resources, and the latest updates on personal finance. Join our tribe today and take control of your financial future!

* indicates required
Money Sweetspot provides financial reset debt consolidation loans to help you take charge of your financial life, reduce debts and get on with living.

You are protected by responsible lending laws. Because of these protections, the recommendations given to you about our loan products are not regulated financial advice. This means that duties and requirements imposed on people who give financial advice do not apply to these recommendations. This includes a duty to comply with a code of conduct and a requirement to be licensed. Responsible lending criteria, rates, fees and contract terms apply. For more information visit useful information.

© 2024 Money Sweet Spot Limited