I’m a procrastinator. In fact, this post originally started as a form of procrastination.
I like to tell myself that I do my best work when it’s down to the wire but I can’t be sure that’s actually true. I mostly only get things done when it’s done to the wire, so it’s hard to know the other side of the spectrum.
Money is just not something that you can procrastinate on and see good results. If you put off logging in to pay your credit card and miss the due date, you’ll pay interest. If you leave your taxes until the last minute, you could end up paying a late fee. Procrastination can wreck your money if you let it go long enough.
Since I know that procrastination is a part of how I work I’ve developed a few hacks to keep myself accountable when it comes to my finances. Getting *real* with myself about my bad habits has allowed me to change them.
Lump Sum Payments
I hate monthly payments. If I could pay everything in a lump sum I absolutely would. Monthly payments are annoying because they come every damn month. That means I have to pay attention to things on a continual basis. Unless that thing is ‘Parks and Rec’ re-runs, I don’t want to do that.
That’s why I’m a huge fan of lump sum payments. Pay something once, in full, and be done with it. There’s nothing to procrastinate on because it’s already done. There’s nothing hanging over your head each month because it’s already done.
Most companies offer lump sum payments, and some even offer a discount if you can pay in full all at once. It never hurts to ask for a discount even if you don’t see one advertised. Lump sum payments can also be applied to things that you traditionally think of as monthly.
For example, as your landlord if you can pay three months rent upfront (in exchange for a small discount, of course), or if your various insurance companies will talk bulk payments.
Lie To Yourself
Lying to myself has got to be one of the most productive things I ever started doing. Please note: I am not advocating for you to ignore your problems. I’m advocating for you to set yourself up for success.
I work mainly as a freelance writer. That means I have deadlines. Putting my deadlines on my work calendar 2-3 days before they’re actually due is a way I lie to myself. Each time I get an assignment I immediately add it to my calendar earlier than it’s due.
Then I promptly forget about it until about 48 hours before that due date. And then I pull myself out of my pool of anxiety and start writing! By this point I’ve usually forgotten that I have a little more time, and I get my work done earlier than necessary.
Another great way to lie to yourself when it comes to money management is to automate savings. You can set up withdrawals at your bank to happen on the same date each month, so that you don’t have to do it manually. This is one of the most often repeated pieces of financial advice because it works.
Set up automatic withdrawals at your bank so that you begin to build savings. Lie to yourself about how big your paycheck is– if you make $3,000 a month but want to save $300 a month, tell yourself you only have $2,700 to live off of. Build your life around $2,700 and forget that you have an extra $300 a month going to savings. After a year, you’ll have $3,600 in savings, a pretty decent sized emergency fund!
As a procrastinator, it’s so easy to push off saving money. We think ‘I’ll do it next month.’ But instead of pushing off learning how to save again and again, lie to yourself and get that ball rolling. Saving early and often is a key feature of growing wealth, so establish the habit now.
Y’all, I work from home. The tv is right there. All my snacks are right there. My BED is right there. Temptation surrounds me!
I have lost hours of productivity to these temptations. So when I wanted to get more serious about my work I knew that I needed a way to remove them.
When it comes to money, I also need to remove distractions. I don’t have cable, so I miss out on a lot of advertising. I clear my cache history each time after I shop online, so that my cookies get reset and so that the shopping websites don’t autofill again. When it comes to hanging out with friends I never suggest things like shopping or expensive meals out. Instead, I opt for things like walks, board game nights, or cooking meals together.
I only have so much willpower. Removing the temptations that I know will lead me astray means I don’t have to worry about spending money mindlessly.
Procrastination can be deadly for our finances. While I’ll probably never stop procrastinating completely, these hacks have helped my financial situation immensely.
How do you fight your procrastination habits? Have you ever procrastinated a financial to do item?