Chaos Money Management

Developing Money Management Habits in the Face of Chaos

By Melissa Tosetti

Having worked with so many clients over the years I’ve noticed various patterns.

Employees, miserable in their jobs, often decompress during their lunch hour by shopping on Amazon. However, C-Level executives miserable in their jobs, or at least highly stressed, do their Amazon decompression shopping using their phones, while laying in bed in the middle of the night.

Another pattern that comes up all too often is that those with irregular work schedules have a MUCH more difficult time managing their day-to-day finances.

One of the reasons is because as human beings, our habits and routines are triggered. When there is no pattern to your day or week, those triggers aren’t tripped and the habits and routines don’t get implemented.

I’ve seen this especially with clients that travel a tremendous amount for work. Their schedules are anything but routine. Complicating things is that for many of those traveling clients, their companies don’t offer a company credit card and so they have to use their own cards. Too quickly their personal and business expenses become tangled. While the points are fantastic, very often, they’re not taking the time to get reimbursed for everything charged on the cards and the expenses add up. They’re literally paying to work.

So, what do you do when your work routine is anything less than routine? You create new triggers.

Even if you can’t manage your money at a routine time, you can create a trigger to remind you to schedule that time into your calendar. For example:

• At the airport while waiting for your flight.
• While waiting for your computer to boot up you can check your calendar on your phone.
• The first 30 minutes of your day off.

Once the trigger is tripped, the habit you want to implement is to look at your calendar for the next two weeks and see if you can carve out 30 minutes here and there to pay your bills and track your spending. Even if it can’t be done all in one sitting, managing it in chunks is better than not managing it at all.

One thing to keep in mind: You may want to avoid scheduling your money management time for the end of the day. For most of us, even though we have the best of intentions, by the end of the day our will power is exhausted and we don’t execute what we need to do – even when we really do want to do it.

I’ve learned from my own experience as well as that of my clients that tasks like this are best done first thing in the morning or at least, no later than lunch time.