Create a “Stop Doing” List

by Kevin on May 19, 2009

A lot of advice out there in regards to personal finance is setup in a to-do list manner:

  1. set up a budget
  2. save money
  3. pay off debt

This is great advice and something I completely agree with. You should do all three of the items on that list.

Let’s put that thinking on its head for just a moment.

What Should You Stop Doing?

You know what you should do. Yet you are finding it difficult to do any of these things. There’s never enough money at the end of the month to save or pay off debt. You’re stuck in the same old cycle.

Instead of trying to think of things you should do, think of things you are currently doing that you know you should stop doing.

  • Going on expensive eating out and drinking binges with friends
  • Buying things on a credit card and not paying off the card immediately
  • Acting like a hermit and never spending money on anything (Frugality can be taken too far.)
  • Continually buying a new pair of shoes to go with each outfit you own, and you own dozens of outfits.

You get the idea.

The Psychology of Stopping

I’m no expert and I’m not psychologist.

But I think stopping doing the wrong things is easier than starting to do the right things.

Here’s why: you’re already doing the wrong things. For someone without absolutely no training in personal finance discovering and correcting wrong is bound to be easier. You don’t need to understand the complexities of stocks or mutual funds to correct problems.

You just need someone to show you the way.

Stopping is Usually Less Expensive

Generally speaking stopping doing an action is generally going to be inexpensive. I can’t think of many reasons that stopping something would actually cost you money unless it was something like stop eating processed food (all organic food would be more expensive).

Stopping also usually revolves around spending:

  • Stop eating out
  • Stop buying frivolous things
  • Stop taking vacations you can’t afford

Stopping is free.

What do you need to stop doing today?

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