A Money Coach in Canada

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ZenHabits is one of the loveliest blogs I know.

Today’s post was on micro-addictions, and how to overcome them.  I recommend taking a moment to read the post.

Interestingly, I was interviewed by Global TV about money habits – the little things, not the huge stuff and in a way, the little things are micro-money-addictions.  (watch for it this Monday, 6pm news – BC only, I think.)

So here’s an adaptation of the original post, directed towards money.

Think of a little money habit that you have, that does not serve you well.


photo credit: idogcow

Hands up:  Who…

  • eats lunch out, too often?
  • goes shopping, just for the sake of getting out and doing something?
  • often impulsively picks up the tab for others, even though your RRSPs aren’t in solid shape?

Here are some tips to help, again, drawing directly on the ZenHabits post by Jonathon Mead.

  1. Do your best.   When we fall back into die-hard habits, it’s easy to resign ourselves to failure in this area.  Once we resign ourselves, it’s hard to make a change.  Instead, give yourself a bit of mental space to seek to do better.
  2. Chip away.   Take a second, right now, to think of making a change for just one day.  For example, plan to bring your lunch on Monday.   Or this weekend, make plans that are not shopping.
  3. Think small and act big.  There is so much pressure in our society to make heroic-sized changes.  Don’t think that way or you’ll likely psyche yourself out from the get-go.  Instead, think of a small change you could make, then act fully on that small change.
  4. Change your environment.  For example, do you go shopping in part just to get out of the house?  Why? Is there something you could do to make your home more appealing?
  5. One thing at a time.   I frequently need to my clients – typically coming to me for money coaching all raring to go – to master one change, before moving to the next.  Rather than a dramatic overhaul, try eliminating only one bad money habit, and switching it to something positive.  Do this until the new habit is firmly in place, before moving to the next change.
  6. Be persistent.  If you fall off, dust yourself off and get back on the plan.  If you dropped a chunk of serious change in a round-of-drinks for the 15 person crowd, well, so be it.   It doesn’t have to be any prediction of future behaviour.
  7. Reject perfection.  The perfect time to start something will never arrive.  Start tomorrow.  Give it a shot.  See what happens, rather than aiming for the time when all the stars will be aligned.
  8. Do some value work.   This is so ! important.  The whole point behind changing money habits is to live out your values.  What are your values?  Take a moment to identify at least three key values you hold, and ask yourself how well your money is going into those values.
  9. Be content.   Enough said.
  10. Stop Thinking.  Start doing.

Readers:  any other suggestions on how to approach changing a micro-addiction that impacts your money?

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. I was watching the noon hour news today to see whether you would make an appearance 😛 So… Monday it is!


    Sep 18, 2008
  2. E

    There are a few rules I try to use, which basically stems from Tip #9.

    So might I propose:
    9a. Don’t buy additional storage unless you literally have 4 walls. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you have space for storage, you will buy things to fill it.
    9b. I have enough stuff. If I buy something that I already have (e.g. more work clothing, kitchenware, appliances, etc) it is to replace something which has outlived its life or style. I will donate/recycle/get rid of it.
    9c. Recognize that there is no need for the newest (ever) or even new (usually). End of season or last season’s stuff is always cheaper. Used stuff is even cheaper, and it’s not hard to find it in good condition. It’s re-using, which is environmentally friendly.


    Sep 18, 2008
  3. This is awesome Nancy. It’s so cool to see ideas like this adapted to other parts of life.
    Kudos to you. =)


    Sep 19, 2008
  4. To get out of the house and not go shopping have places that you like to visit – a park maybe or a walk along the dyke. Take a bike ride. Or if you need a reason to get out of the house pick up your digital camera – it costs almost nothing to use and can be very rewarding if you share your pictures on free web sites like flickr.

    Use the library instead of the bookstore.

    Download or stream free music instead of buying CDs

    Make stuff – even if it is just cooking from scratch the sense of achievement is worth it – and it is a lot cheaper than take out


    Sep 19, 2008
  5. Ruth

    Hey Nancy
    This is so great. It was exactly what I needed to hear today, as this is exactly what I was pondering today and beating myself up over. I am the ultimate financial black hole at times (my coffee habit alone!!!) and it is the little things that make or break the bank balance. So thank you I feel more positive about making my changes!!


    Sep 19, 2008
  6. @Peter Hey, it’s been a while! Tx for dropping by. Rumour has it that I’m on the 6pm news this Monday. Of course, I’ll be all self-conscious watching it …
    @E Hey, do you want a job? 🙂 Really good points. And I esp. agree about the nature-abhors-a-vacuum.
    @Jonathan Tx for the inspiration 🙂
    @Stephen Your comments are like @E – you’ve filled the vacuum, in a good way. You gave me an idea – I think I’m going to write a post of great places to find streaming music. Any fave’s I should include?
    @Ruth Is it my imagination, or is this the first time you’ve posted on my blog? Or even any blog? A very warm welcome, and I’m really glad if some of the tips were helpful. Should we start caffeine anonymous?


    Sep 20, 2008


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