When it comes down to it, our financial choices are all based on habit.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we get into the practice of carrying a credit balance or buying a coffee every day, and once we’ve formed those habits, they seem normal and even harmless.
So, what’s the harm in these spending habits? You’re wasting money!
Consider this list of the most common money habits and see if you need to change your ways to improve your finances.
Learn the most common bad money habits and break them now to improve your finances and your life!
1. Having a credit balance (wracking up debt on your cards)
The one at the top of the list is that pesky old credit card.
While credit cards can be advantageous in some very specific situations, most of the time, they’re more harm than good.
Don’t get me wrong, there are responsible ways to use a credit card; however, the biggest problem is that when you carry a balance month to month, you’re charged interest.
So, not only are you still in debt from the balance, but you also owe extra now because of interest.
Do your best to pay off the balance each month, or better yet, don’t use a credit card at all.
2. Breaking your budget with non-essential daily purchases
Sure, everyone enjoys a night out once in a while or even an afternoon cup of coffee, but in reality, these “periodic purchases” can really break your budget if you let them get out of hand.
Even if it’s just a cup of coffee every day, that can cost you nearly $5 a pop, meaning $25 to $35 a week and $100 to $140 a month.
By spending that much extra each month that isn’t accounted for, you’re likely to bust your budget sooner than you ever thought possible.
Instead, make your coffee at home and plan for “splurges.”
Budget a few dollars here and there to be able to go out or enjoy a special treat, but be sure to stick to your budgeted amount.
3. Neglecting to save
Tucking money away is one of the most important financial practices that individuals today aren’t doing.
Or, if they are, they’re “saving” it for last.
Instead, focus on how much you can put into savings among the first calculations you make, and you’ll be much better off.
There are lots of ways to save money ranging from a typical bank savings account to an employer 401(k) and others.
4. Failing to keep records
There are lots of things you can get a break to come tax time.
But, the government won’t cut you a break if you don’t have proof of the purchase or expense.
Get in the habit of keeping your receipts as well as filing or organizing them.
Create a system for yourself with which you keep track of your expenses and hold on to the documentation of your regular expenses. It will make a big difference for you in the long run.
5. Paying for things you don’t use
I try to weigh all of our purchases with this measure.
“Is this an item or a membership, etc. that we will regularly use? Will we get our money’s worth out of it?”
If the answer is “no,” I don’t buy it and vice versa.
But, lots of people are in the habit of paying for items they barely use.
Are you currently paying for a gym membership, cable subscription, or other recurring expense that you rarely take advantage of?
Or, do you make regular impulse purchases and then end up never using what you bought?
Kick the habit by evaluating each purchase you make and even consider walking away from the purchase initially.
If it’s an item you keep coming back to, you’ll likely use, if not, then you just saved yourself some money!
Improving your finances is all about making better choices and forming good habits.
Bad money habits are common, but you can beat them with the knowledge of this list as well as a commitment to making the most of your money.