Friction: How it can help you achieve your money goals

What is friction and how can it help you – or hinder you – while pursuing your goals? Hear from U.S. Bank Goals Coach Jill Ross, on small tips for working toward your biggest goals. 

Tags: Planning, Goals
Published: January 05, 2022

Does it feel like some of the best habits are the hardest to create and some of the worst habits are the hardest to break? If it seems that way, it’s because often, it is, according to U.S. Bank Goals Coach Jill Ross.

Let’s take subscribing to a service, for example. Companies intentionally remove “friction” from the purchasing process so that subscribing can be as easy as one click. However, when it comes to unsubscribing from that service, companies often add friction by hiding the unsubscribe button, requiring you to call customer service to cancel, or some other tactic that makes it a time-consuming task. This added effort is called friction and it discourages ending the service.

When it comes to building better financial habits, we can take a hint from these tactics by making positive habits – like saving – easier to do, while making negative habits – like overspending – harder to do.

Adding and removing friction to your daily habits can be a great way to stay on track with your short-term and long-term financial goals. Here are a few of Jill’s tips to help you pursue your money goals:


Remove friction from positive habits you want to increase.

1. Download your banking app 

Having your banking app visually top-of-mind on your phone can help control spending and saving. You’ll be able to see exactly where your money is going, keeping you aware of your financial situation and long-term goals – and thus less likely to make unplanned purchases.

Jill Ross
Pictured above: Jill Ross

2. Automate bill pay and savings

The adage of “out of sight, out of mind” rings true with money. By enlisting the help of autopay for your bills, you’re more likely to stay on top of your payments and avoid late fees.

With an automated savings, you set the amount you want to put aside without having to make a conscious choice to save. Even a small amount saved each paycheck will accumulate without any additional effort.

3. Make better choices more convenient

Review the areas you spend money that you’d rather not. For instance, if you tend to spend extra money on takeout, try setting aside time on Sunday mornings to grocery shop online or in person to stock your fridge. An investment in your pantry now can save you money on takeout later.

If additional fees from rush deliveries on household items are eating away your funds, do a regular inventory at the beginning of each month. Determine what products will need to be replaced in the next 30 days and then restock those items in advance to avoid those added convenience fees.


Add friction to negative habits you want to break. 

1. Remove one-click spending

Many websites make it effortless to make a purchase with one click or stored payment information. While this instant process may be satisfying in the moment, it can deter your long-term goals.

Try unlinking your card from accounts that have made impulse buying easy. If you need to enter your card each time you make a purchase, you might find the friction created helps you make more thoughtful purchases.

2. Clear temptations from your phone

It’s easy to fall into autopilot and use apps and websites where you’re automatically logged in and your preferences are saved. Consider deleting retail and other convenience apps to create friction. Even something as simple as clearing your browser search history and deleting bookmarks can provide the extra steps needed to slow down unnecessary purchases.

3. Unfollow brands on social media

Do you find yourself easily influenced by the accounts you follow on social media? It’s common to want the newest beauty product, kitchen appliance or tech gadget the minute we see it on social media. If you tend to be motivated by these posts and it results in spending beyond your means, consider unfollowing accounts that entice you to splurge. 


To learn more about goals coaching or schedule a free goals discovery session, visit



Goals Coaches do not:
·       Recommend or offer any products or services of U.S. Bank or its affiliates.
·       Conduct financial planning or provide investment advice.
·       Make recommendations or give advice on matters involving health, including physical, mental, emotional or medical.
U.S. Bank assumes no responsibility for and makes no claims concerning the merit or sufficiency of your goals and does not assume any responsibility or liability for any losses or other outcomes resulting from decisions made by you, actions taken or not taken by you, in connection with U.S. Bank and U.S. Bank Goals Coaching services.