3 diary tips that motivated me to save more money

  • “Finance for the People” is one of the few personal finance books that actually addresses economic injustice.
  • Three diary tips in the book helped me change my relationship with money.
  • The most important is a list of things I can do to calm down before making important decisions.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

Changing my relationship with money is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Financial habits that create long-term change, such as automating my emergency fund savings or tracking my expenses, are just the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface, I’ve had to do a lot of hard work figuring out what motivates me to spend and save money the way I do.

Thankfully, a new book called “Finance for the People” is a travel guide to that difficult journey. Unlike most personal finance books, “Finance for the People” actually addresses how credit card, student loan, and predatory loan systems work to keep people on the proverbial hamster wheel.

Instead of labeling money-related behaviors as good and bad, homosexual Filipino American author Paco de Leon offers readers much-needed support in their quest to change their relationship with money while creating smart spending and saving habits. and lasting.

This book continues to support me on my financial recovery journey, starting with these three helpful journal tips.

1. Give an example of an experience you had growing up in which you saw people who were ashamed of money

At the beginning of the book, de Leon dives into the emotions behind why we spend money the way we do. The first tips in the diary ask about the first lessons we have learned about money from our families of origin.

The first thing that came to my mind was a feeling of shame around my house. When I was a kid growing up in the Philippines, I always shared a bedroom with my sisters or cousins ​​who came to stay with us. When we moved to the US, we could only afford a two bedroom apartment, which meant my sisters and I had to share a room. I didn’t have my room until I was 14 when we moved to a larger house in the Midwest.

Watching American TV with the kids who had their own rooms really made me feel ashamed of how I grew up, although I appreciate the close relationship I have with my sisters and cousins ​​as a result of sharing space together.

This deep shame translated into a penchant for branded furniture, home decor, and casual organization containers that put me in serious financial trouble. After discovering all of this, scrolling through my favorite furniture sites like CB2 or West Elm didn’t give me the same relaxing pleasure.

I was immediately motivated to cut a bad buying habit and redirect those funds to my savings instead.

2. What behaviors can you engage in now?

This journal request comes at the end of Chapter 4 titled “What Are You Trying To Do With Your Life? Deconstruct Your Goals”. In the chapter, de Leon states that the key to achieving “financial magnificence” is to increase earnings, especially for people of color affected by the racial wealth gap, with realistic money habits to help you save and pay off debt.

I love this diary question because it reminds me that saying, “I’m going to stop eating out for the rest of the month” is literally not something I can commit to. Right now.

I don’t know what the rest of my month will be like, if work will be busy or if a friend might need an ear after a breakup over dinner. But right now, just for today, I can commit to skipping Grubhub and cooking a simple meal at home instead.

Thanks to this question, I’ve gotten into the habit of breaking down a big commitment into much smaller, actionable steps that I’m really sure I can accomplish.

3. Create your Chill the Fuck Out menu

De Leon refers to a psychological concept called “the window of tolerance”, coined by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel. He writes: “When a person is in the window of tolerance, they can adjust their nervous system to deal with the natural ups and downs of the human being on Earth. In the window of tolerance, they can reflect, think rationally, and make decisions calmly without withdraw or feel overwhelmed. ”

De Leon shares a list of his tips for getting into his tolerance window before making financial decisions, aptly named the Chill the Fuck Out Menu. His list includes:

  • taking deep breaths
  • play an instrument and sing
  • making my wife laugh

De Leon recommends keeping this list close and visible so you can have it with you before making a big financial decision.

My list includes bathing, calling a friend, taking a long walk, and watching a funny TV show. The list was really useful as I was planning a trip to San Francisco with my best friend from high school. Instead of feeling compelled to make quick decisions, I used my Chill the Fuck Out menu to focus.

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