3 Journal Prompts That Motivated Me to Save More Money

  • “Finance for the People” is one of the only personal finance books that actually deals with economic injustice.
  • Three journal prompts in the book helped me change my relationship with money.
  • Most important is a list of things I can do to calm myself down before making big decisions.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

Changing my relationship to money is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Financial habits that create long-term change, like automating my emergency fund savings or tracking my spending, are just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface, I had to work hard to figure out what motivates me to spend and save money the way I do.

Fortunately, a new book called “Finance for the People” is a tourist guide to this difficult journey. unlike most

personal finance books

“Finance for the People” actually explains how credit cards, student loans, and predatory lending schemes work to keep people on the proverbial hamster wheel.

Instead of labeling money behaviors as good and bad, queer Filipino American author Paco de Leon offers readers much-needed support in their quest to change their relationship to money while creating habits of spending and spending. smart and sustainable savings.

This book continues to support me on my journey to financial recovery, starting with these three helpful journal prompts.

1. Give an example of an experience you had growing up where you saw people being ashamed of money

Early in the book, de Leon dives into the emotions that explain why we spend money the way we do. The first diary prompts ask about the first lessons we learned about money from our original families.

What first came to mind was a sense of shame around my house. When I was a kid growing up in the Philippines, I always shared a room with my sisters or cousins ​​who came to live with us. When we moved to the States, we could only afford a two-bedroom apartment, which meant that my sisters and I had to share a bedroom. I didn’t have a bedroom of my own until I was 14, when we moved to a bigger house in the Midwest.

Watching American TV with kids who had their own bedroom made me really ashamed of how I grew up, even though I cherish the close relationship I have with my sisters and cousins ​​because of sharing space together.

This deep shame translated into a fondness for designer furniture, home decor, and haphazard organizing containers that got me in serious financial trouble. After unearthing all of this, scrolling through my favorite furniture sites like CB2 or West Elm didn’t quite give me the same soothing pleasure.

I was quickly motivated to quit a bad buying habit and redirect those funds to my savings.

2. What behaviors can you adopt now?

This journal prompt comes at the end of Chapter 4 titled “What are you trying to do with your life? Deconstruct your goals.” In the chapter, de Leon says the key to achieving “financial greatness” is increasing income — especially for people of color affected by the racial wealth gap — with realistic financial habits to help you save. and pay off your debts.

I love this journal question because it reminds me that saying “I’m going to stop eating out for the rest of the month” is literally not something I can commit to doing. to the right now.

I don’t know what the rest of my month will be like, if work is going to be busy or if a friend might need a listening ear after a breakup over dinner. But for now, just for today, I can commit to skipping Grubhub and cooking a simple meal at home instead.

Thanks to this question, I got into the habit of breaking down a big commitment into much smaller, achievable steps that I’m sure I can accomplish.

3. Create your own Chill the Fuck Out menu

De Leon refers to a psychological concept called “the window of tolerance”, coined by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel. She writes: “When a person is in their window of tolerance, they can regulate their nervous system in order to cope with the natural ups and downs of being a human being on Earth. In the window of tolerance, one can reflect, think rationally, and calmly make decisions without backing down or feeling overwhelmed.”

De Leon shares a list of his own tips for getting into his window of tolerance before making financial decisions, aptly called a Chill the Fuck Out menu. His list includes:

  • take deep breaths
  • play an instrument and sing
  • make my wife laugh

De Leon recommends keeping this list handy and visible so you can have it with you before you make a big financial decision.

My own list includes taking baths, calling a friend, taking a long walk, and watching a fun TV show. The list came in really handy when I was planning a trip to San Francisco with my best friend from high school. Instead of feeling pressured to make quick decisions, I used my Chill the Fuck Out menu to focus.


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