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How habit stacking can help you reach your financial goals

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2024-05-01 00:00

Estimated reading time
5 min

In this article

  • What habit stacking is
  • How long it takes to form a new habit
  • Different ways you can stack your habits to reach your financial goals
  • The importance of goal-setting

We’ve all had a New Year’s resolution or a specific goal to reach. But as life gets busy and the year goes on, it's easy for our well-meaning intentions to fall to the wayside.

Making a new healthy habits stick takes time and practise – and building your financial wellbeing is no different. If you want to nail your financial goals and develop good habits with your money we're here to introduce you to a neat concept called habit stacking.

What is habit stacking?

Habit stacking is the act of adding a new habit or behaviour to your schedule by ‘stacking’ it with another. The purpose is to build new habits by pairing them with already engrained habits in order to make them stick. Essentially, it’s a buddy system for productivity.

So, how long does it take to form a new habit?

It can take around 66 days for a habit to stick.disclaimerBut with habit stacking, you can take advantage of the habits you already have and add something small (or big) on top of it without having to carve out time to do a specific task.

An important thing about making a habit stick is to try and avoid projection bias. This way of thinking is when we overestimate how much our future selves will share the same beliefs, values and behaviours as our current self. You might overestimate your ability to maintain the healthy habits you want to form through habit staking. To avoid this, it’s a smart idea to be realistic about the habits you want to start stacking. Start small and, once it’s stuck, see if you can build on in it.

How can you use it to help with your financial goals?

Habit stacking can be used by anyone, anywhere and for any goals – including financial ones. But there are a few rules you should follow to ensure your new daily habits are successful, such as making sure your money goals are realistic and achievable – and the habits you pair them with are firm.

Here are four examples of habit stacking you can use to reach your financial goals:

1. Going to the gym + put away a specific amount

Whether you’re a self-confessed gym junkie or just in the habit of going every week, why not attach a savings habit to your normal endorphin-raising routine? For example, every time you pop on your activewear, you can transfer as much or as little money as you like into your savings account. Because you’re hitting the gym each day or week, you can grow your savings while getting those gains.

2. Reading a book before bed + check your budget

Knowing where your money is at is essential to a healthy savings account. If you like to end the day by escaping into the a fantasy world or swoon-worthy romance, then try adding a nightly or weekly check of your budget as part of your night-time routine too. This can help you stay on track with your budget and get a chapter (or two) under your belt.

3. Checking social media + pay a bill

For many people, being on social media platforms is an almost automatic habit. Instead of scrolling through your feed or filming your puppy, use that time to pay off a bill or schedule your next payment to ensure you keep up to date with your financial commitments. 

4. Movie night + add a little extra to your super

While it may not seem relevant right now, one day you will need your superannuation to retire – and hopefully, you’ll have saved a decent amount. When you next decide to have a movie night at home – takeaway and all – consider topping up your superannuation fund before you finish your bucket of popcorn.

Why is it important to have financial goals?

Goals are important for success and motivation. When they relate to money, there’s lots to be gained. Whether you’re saving for a holiday or a rainy day, financial goals can help keep you on track while still enjoying life.


How habit stacking can help you reach your financial goals
Financial Wellbeing Coach

Start stacking and reach your financial goals

We’ve got a number of tools and calculators to help make it much easier to stick to your newly stacked habit. From bill trackers to budget makers, we’ve got what you need to maintain your healthy habits and smash your financial goals out of the park.

Find a tool today



The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.


James Clear, How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science), 2020,