Six practical steps to financial discipline

Written and accurate as at: 29 June 2011

With 78% of Australians saying they are financially disorganised it makes sense to create a quick and practical way to inspire financial discipline.

Here’s six things you can do to sharpen up your knowledge on where your money’s going, and what you can do to minimise waste – two significant contributors to being financially disciplined.

When looking at discipline with money, it helps to look at the activity as much as the money itself.

1. Decide when it’s OK to take on take away food. While some take away foods are really cheap, most are more expensive than eating home cooked meals. Apply some discipline and commit to “no take away food” from Monday to Thursdays for example. Home cooked meals can be good for the wallet, and heart, too.

2. Swap or sell your stuff. If you want to buy some new toys, why not set the goal of swapping or selling old toys to finance the new ones. This will de-clutter the garage and wardrobes, and it keeps your toys alive.

3. Try before you buy. Being a consumer is important as it creates markets for people to generate a livelihood off. But, being a mindless consumer will quickly damage your credit card and leave you with a bunch of stuff you wear or use a few times and then store away. To avoid this, if you think you want something, if possible borrow one to try out before you commit to buying it.

4. Save up for something. With credit cards so freely and readily available, saving up for a future purchase is a dying art. Keep it alive! Get yourself a piggy bank and write a sign on it, “All Coins Gratefully Accepted”. Save up for something and then buy it, even if you have the money to buy it straight away. It develops fantastic financial discipline.

5. Audit what you throw out. It’s a tragedy that so many people in this world go without life’s basics while so many people throw large amounts of food in the bin, compost heap or similar. To get a grip on what goes in the bin, and therefore what doesn’t need to go in the shopping trolley, write a list. Not a shopping list, a waste list. You can then adjust your shopping list to reduce waste.

6. Draw a line in the sand. Every now and then it helps to take stock of where you are up to financially. Review assets and liabilities, and how you’ve used your income over the past 3 months or so. Use how you feel about your current financial position to inspire what you are going to focus on for the next few months. If you need help, don’t be quiet, ask for guidance.

So there you have it. Six actions you can kick off at anytime to sharpen up your financial discipline.

Related Videos

Tim Clue’s video on Discipline