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Paycheck In Hand? 5 Payday Habits You Should Develop Now

happy for payday

When payday rolls around, whether it’s every month, every two weeks, or every 7 days, you may feel an inner struggle between what you want to do with your cash versus what you know you should do with it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can take a few simple steps today to empower yourself for every future payday by developing habits that become painless and automatic, eliminating the battle within. Here are 5 habits to develop each time you get that paycheck.

  1. Express gratitude. You don’t have to love your boss to be grateful. You can even hate your gig and still express a thankful attitude. University of California, Davis professor of psychology Robert Emmons, Ph.D. says gratitude has a big, positive impact on human health and happiness. According to Emmons’ research, those who cultivate a habit of expressing gratitude are eventually less lonely, have stronger social ties, experience improved self-worth and report fewer physical complaints. So put yourself in the shoes of someone who, because of geography or physical disabilities cannot work, and thank your lucky stars that you have the tools needed to earn.
  2. Call out those triggers. If you can identify what you usually do to derail your goals on payday, those triggers instantly lose power. It’s when you don’t recognize them as bad choices that they continue to cloud your good judgment. Naming them aloud to yourself, in a journal or to a friend is the best way to take responsibility and steer clear.
  3. Replace bad habits. Once you’ve shed some light on your triggers, replace them with neutral substitutes. This might mean avoiding a popular hangout after work, taking a different way home, or having your spouse change your password on a favorite online shopping site. Instead, play with the kids, walk the dog, or visit an elderly neighbor. Go to the library or park. Check out our lists of free things to do. Get creative.
  4. Pay down debt. This is the most important payday habit to develop. It can make the difference between a healthy financial future and a troublesome one, fraught with worry and problems. When you get into the habit of paying down debt instead of incurring new lines of credit, you’ll feel better about yourself and your circumstances, thus making it easier to pay down more debt. And once it becomes a habit, you’ll reap those same rewards every time you get a paycheck. Getting started with this healthy habit may be difficult, though, especially if you’re juggling multiple accounts with varying balances. If that’s the case with you, phone a nonprofit credit counselor to simplify things and get on the right track.
  5. Save. In a recent study published by Gallup, figures showed that on average, people spent about $10/day more on weeks they got paid than the in-between weeks. If you get a paycheck every two weeks, that’s $140/month you could be stashing away for the future. Even if you’re not the average, be aware of this common pitfall and ratchet down your saving efforts to force a few bucks into your savings account every payday.

Instead of trying to tackle all these habits at once, but work slowly to establish a lifestyle where every payday is marked by these 5 actions. In a few months, take stock of how far you’ve come, and encourage others by commenting below or tweeting your success story to @CESISolutions with the hashtag #mycesistory

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