The Habit Tool is a paper behavioural contract on which people write a pledge to swap an expensive habit for a cheaper one. A picture of a completed Habit Tool appears below.
Before advancing in the present toolkit, please download the Habit Tool (PDF version):
Easy steps to use the Habit Tool.
1) Plan the Habit Swap:
First users should identify a personal spending habit they could modify by buying something cheaper.
To identify spending habits, users may find it helpful to review their most recent bank statement.
A popular example is:
I could stop buying [WHAT: lattes] [WHEN: before class] at [WHERE: the campus café] and instead get [WHAT: espresso shots]
Another popular example is:
I could stop buying [WHAT: cigarettes] [WHEN: after work] at [WHERE: a cornershop] and instead get [WHAT: chewing gum]
2) Make the Habit Tool a constant physical reminder:
Within our project, participants were asked to keep the Habit Tool inside a transparent credit/debit card sleeve. Similar sleeves can be purchased here: [link to Amazon to purchase credit card sleeves].
Users can keep the debit/credit card they use most often inside the Habit Tool. In so doing the Habit Tool becomes a portable and salient reminder of their pledge to spend less money.
Alternatively, rather than printing out blank copies of the Habit Tool and buying card sleeves, users can write their planned swap on a post-it notes that they adhere to the credit/debit card the use most frequently.
3) Using the Habit Tool everyday
The last column of the Habit Tool is titled: ‘Give yourself a tick’.
When users follows through with their planned swaps, they should put a little tick mark in this column.
These ticks help users monitor their success, which is itself quite rewarding.