Felicia M. Johnson is an Assoc. Director in Academic Affairs at a higher education institution. She teaches personal finance classes and is active in local organizations that help support the economy, women, and local community.
Know Your Money
Wednesday – March 12, 2014
By Guest Contributor
Felicia M. Johnson
Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to make a financial change in your life? In January of this year, I began Elevate Book Club and our first book was “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I felt it would be a great book to help the participants successfully change regardless if they were trying to improve their finances, lose weight, or advance their career. The Heath brothers believe to make a successful change, you have to do the following three things:
Direct the Rider – Investigate what works well in handling your finances and clone it! Make sure you truly understand why you need to improve your financial situation. Think of specific things you can do to change your finances. For example you may decide to only use cash when purchasing items in the store.
Motivate the Elephant – Now that you know you need to change your financial situation, make sure all those affected can “feel” why things need to change. Maybe instead of just telling your family that if overspending continues you will not be able to pay the electricity bill, have them “feel” what it is like not to have power by shutting it off for an entire day. A side benefit is the uninterrupted time you will get to spend with your family.
Shape the Path – Changing the situation leads to behavior changes. Set active triggers that will support the new change. For example every time you use cash dollar bills at the store, save the all the coins you receive in change in a jar. Then at the end of the month, count all the coins and place the money in your family emergency fund or other special fund account. You will be surprised how coins can add up to large sums of money. Just recently, my husband collected $131 in coins.
Remember, “For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently” (Heath and Heath, 2010).
I would love to hear about your plans for financial change. Connect with me via LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/feliciasigningoff
Felicia Signing Off!
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to change things when change is hard. New York: Broadway Books.
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