Recently I was introduced to the concept of harm reduction. It was offered to me in the context of food, but the term was first used in the field of alcohol and drug addiction. But to be brutally honest, food and money are just another form of addiction and so I decided to investigate this concept further.
I believe the first step for improving our money life is to become fully conscious about our money behaviors. One of the tools I suggest is using a spending gap. When we get the urge to spend money, insert a gap—usually time—between the idea of spending and the actual spending. Sometimes this will be enough to stop the natural impulse to spend. But, sometimes we need another tool.
This is where harm reduction can be useful. What if we asked ourselves during the spending gap, will this act enhance my money situation or will it harm it? Honestly facing this question will extend that helpful spending gap. And, at the end of that extended gap, we just might decide that the least harmful step is to do nothing. Not spending—not saving. Just nothing.
We usually think that the obvious step for money management is saving or paying down debt. But sometimes those steps seem too daunting to even begin. But with harm reduction, we can shift that first step into simply do nothing. That nothing will automatically result in savings which might just result in paying down debt. And all we had to do was—nothing!
Try it; you’ll like it. It’s the easiest money management plan you’ll find—harm reduction thinking, followed by doing nothing. Works for me.
Sounds like a new motto: Just do nothing, a new twist for an old behavior.