Curious about how to be responsible with money and life? Most of the goals we set for ourselves are just guidelines for us to be more accountable for our ways. I read the other day that being responsible doesn’t come naturally. Instead, being responsible is a skill that we can all learn.
I quite like the idea. Because it means we don’t have to criticize and blame ourselves for not knowing what we don’t know.
For example, how can you be expected to be good at managing money if you didn’t have a good role model? But the good news is – you can learn how to be responsible with money and other aspects of your life.
So, we are going to discuss the characteristics of a responsible person, financial responsibility examples, and tips for how to be more responsible in all aspects of life!
What does being responsible in life look like?
Simply put, living with intention is how to be responsible in life. Responsibility is making your own choices including how you behave, how you act, and what you say.
So when you’re just reacting to what’s happening to you, you give up your sense of responsibility for your own life. We often forget that we have choices – for instance, you can choose to find another job. You can choose to be happier.
Of course, there are things you can’t control and there’s very little you can do to change those. But when you can put more thought and intention into the things you can control, you’ll start seeing changes.
Being responsible is a skill and a trait we develop as we grow and mature. This is why we don’t ask kids to manage our household budget. We simply know they can’t do it yet.
But what are the characteristics of a responsible person?
Characteristics of a responsible person
Here are some admirable characteristics of a responsible person:
Is always punctual
Respect for other people’s time and efforts is a trait that’s appreciated and praised in a responsible person. Being punctual is how to be responsible at work, with money, and with relationships!
Admits their mistakes
A responsible person admits when they made a mistake. They accept consequences for their actions and decisions and try to correct their mistakes.
Doesn't place blame
Instead of blaming others, a responsible person looks for solutions to a problem. They don’t avoid uncomfortable conversations or situations.
A responsible person looks for ways to learn and grow. They accept that they don’t know everything and they’re willing to ask for help and learn.
At a minimum, being responsible is paying your bills and showing up for commitments you agreed to. But more than that, it involves being able to make conscious decisions about many aspects of life.
That’s why we need to learn how to be responsible at home and work. Those closest to you might also appreciate it if you explore how to become responsible in a relationship too.
So, first things first. Let's dig into how to be responsible with money.
How to be responsible with money
Money is not everything, but we do need it so we can experience the life we want for ourselves. And when our finances are not in order, it affects everything we do.
Our money worries can leave us feeling stressed, frustrated, and angry. In fact, 90 percent of Americans say that money has an impact on their stress level. But what characteristics does someone that is responsible with money have?
Here are a few financial responsibility examples to get an idea of what having your finances in order looks like:
- Paying bills on time.
- Having and sticking to a budget.
- Living below your means.
- Being debt-free.
- Having an emergency fund in place.
- Planning for the future.
So, after seeing these financial responsibility examples where do you stand? If you're not quite where you want to be, don't fret. Use these tips to learn how to be responsible with money:
1. Create a budget
A budget is an excellent tool to hold yourself accountable for your expenses. It’s a great way to know exactly how much money you’re bringing in each month. All of which helps you take responsibility for your finances.
So, pick a budgeting method that's easy for you to stick to. It can be something like the 80/20 rule where you use 80% for your wants and needs and save the other 20%, or it could be a zero-based budget where every single dollar is accounted for. Creating a budget is how to be more responsible with money!
2. Live with less
Look at your expenses and try to live within your means. When you spend less than you make in a month, it also means you’re not buying on credit. This saves you interest and you’re not going into debt. Living on less can better your finances significantly.
3. Pay off debt
First, don’t avoid looking at your debts. Know exactly how much you owe. And then, make a plan to pay them off. Having a plan and a strategy makes it easier to manage your payments.
There are several strategies you can use to get out of debt. The debt snowball method is one where you pay off the debt with the smallest balance first. Once that account is paid off, you apply the payment to the next balance, and so on.
You can also use the debt avalanche method. Using this method, you'll pay off the account with the highest interest rate first. Then, you pay the next highest rate until they are all paid in full.
4. Save for emergencies
Part of being responsible with money is to make sure you have an emergency fund to fall back on when things beyond your control happen. Emergencies happen and disasters can strike. But if you have savings then you can take care of your needs without going into debt.
If you have a house or a car, it’s also a great idea to have separate savings account for repairs because brakes, furnaces, and water heaters can break at any time.
5. Save for the future
You know you won’t be able to work all your life and you won’t want to. So, take care of your future. Contribute to a retirement fund and learn how to invest your money.
You can start by contributing to your employer's retirement program if they offer one. The good news is you don't need much money to invest! So, start saving for your future as soon as possible.
How to be more responsible at work
A lot of us spend at least 30 hours or more at work every week, it's a big part of our life. And when you're responsible at work, you establish yourself as a valuable employee and a dependable coworker.
Here are a few examples to help you be more responsible at work:
1. Understand your job description
The first step in learning how to be responsible at work is to understand what’s expected of you. When you know what responsibilities come with your position, you will know where to focus your efforts and complete what you need to get done.
2. Be accountable for your actions
Being responsible at work includes knowing how to accept praise or recognition for your quality of work. And at the same time, be prepared to admit your mistakes when you make them and offer solutions instead of looking for someone else to blame.
3. Learn how to communicate better
Communication skills are so important not just at work but in every aspect of our lives. At work, you need to interact with coworkers, customers, suppliers, and all kinds of people.
You can improve your communications skills through good listening, removing distractions when you’re talking to someone, and asking questions to make sure you understand the message.
How to be more responsible at home
We juggle a lot of things to live this modern life, but the home is at the core of everything we do. And unfortunately for most of us, our home life is the easiest to sacrifice while we’re chasing deadlines, promotions, and income goals.
Hopefully, we can find a balance to be more responsible at home and do the following:
1. Be organized
Being organized comes more naturally for some than others. But if you’re like me and you’re constantly spending precious minutes looking for things when you need them, then you probably need a little bit of organization around your home.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about color-coded planners and labeled cereal containers. Maybe a weekly meal plan and a calendar for the family’s activities to start? So, there are fewer moments of eating takeouts in the car on your way to after-work appointments or after-school activities.
2. Implement the one-touch policy
I can’t remember where I learned about the one-touch policy, but it has helped me make my house a lot tidier. It is exactly what the name says and you can use it for anything really.
For instance, when you come home from work, instead of flinging your coat and purse on a chair to be tidied later. Using the one-touch policy as a guide, you’d hang the coat, toss your keys in a bin and hang your purse as well. It will take you a minute more, but then it’s all done and you won’t have to go back to do them later.
3. Keep your promises
Just like it’s easy for us to sacrifice home life for work, we’re also not as careful with keeping our promises to our kids and other family members. I think it’s unfortunate, especially to our kids, because we are forming their core memories.
When we don't follow through, we teach our kids that they’re not worthy of time and effort. So, yes, a great exercise to show how to be responsible at home is to keep your promises.
How to become responsible in a relationship
We are in a relationship with ourselves, with our family, with our friends, and with our coworkers. Most of us view our work and our beliefs as a relationship as well. This is why some people say they’re married to their jobs or they have a strong relationship with God.
Needless to say, relationships can get very complicated. But because of that, there are also a lot of opportunities for us to learn to become responsible. Here are a few ways how to become responsible in a relationship:
1. Show up for yourself
Your first relationship is with yourself, so show up for you. Look out for yourself. Give yourself love before you go out and ask for it from someone else. Because no one in the world can love you the way you’re going to love you.
2. Communicate your needs
Your family, your friends, your coworkers, and people are often well-meaning and they want to support you. But they can’t care and support you if you don’t tell them what you need.
Nobody can read your mind. And it’s unfair to expect something from someone if you haven’t told them you want that from them.
3. Apologize when you're wrong
The people we’re in a relationship with, our families, and our friends are often our safe spaces. So, we’re more likely to lose our tempers and be snarky around them.
We’re humans, right? It happens. That’s why an important part of learning how to become responsible in a relationship is owning our mistakes and apologizing, as many times as we need to.
Simple tips on how to be responsible in life
Sometimes, we forget how powerful we are. We forget how much of our lives we actually have control over.
We give away our power because we believe that we don’t have choices. But every day we can choose to make change in our lives. Here are a few ways you can start doing things differently.
1. Be intentional with your thoughts, words, and actions
One of the characteristics of a responsible person that stands out is intentionality. To learn how to be responsible is to accept that nobody can make you think, do, or feel anything except you.
Be intentional with your thoughts. The brain is an amazing organ best used for problem-solving. Don’t use it to remember every mistake you made and criticize yourself for it. Also, your words have power, use them to uplift not just yourself, but everyone around you.
Lastly, multitasking is a myth. Research shows that humans are not capable of focusing on more than one thing, so be intentional with your actions. Yes, even if you’re just watching TV to relax. Enjoy the show, don’t go on your phone, and start scrolling on social media as well.
2. Don’t take anything personally
You hear this a lot, but it’s the hardest thing to do. Because how can we not take things personally when other people are being mean to us, right?
Of course, don’t let people abuse you. But also know that people do and say things because of who they are, not because of who you are or what you did. When people are not getting what they need, they take out their frustrations on other people.
To learn how to be responsible at home, notice this with you as well. When you’re impatient towards your kids or family, is it because of what they’re doing? After a while, you’ll realize that you yell more when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or you’re worried about something.
3. Be consistent
As Tony Robbins said, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
To succeed at embodying the characteristics of a responsible person, you’ll need consistency. For example, you need to plan the steps of how to be more responsible with money. Then, you have to keep doing the actions, even when the initial excitement wears off.
Creating a budget and making a weekly meal plan will become chores and you may want to stop doing them. But you have to decide from the very beginning to stick it out until you see results.
4. Live in the present
Memories are precious. They allow us to remember happiness, wonder, and all the feelings over and over again. But sometimes, they take us away from living in the present.
The future is also a special place because it brings us hope. But again, sometimes, it takes us away from living in the now.
So, make it a point to live in the present – take the time to appreciate where you are, what you're doing, and who is with you. And remind yourself that every moment is important.
Leverage these tips on how to be responsible and live a happier life!
Pick an area of your life where you want to begin learning how to be more responsible. Write down the changes you’d like to see. And then make a list of the actions you can start doing immediately.
Make small changes and stick to your plans until you’re able to say that you are fully responsible for your choices in every aspect of your life.