The choices that we make every day can impact our financial goals big time. I mean, it’s just too easy to fall into bad habits that can derail our finances.
I had my fair share of these bad habits; I had always been an impulse buyer. If I really wanted something, there was no thinking twice. I loved eating out – all the time and I never really cared how those habits affected me. I just thought that they were small and insignificant.
But after having to quit my job and after taking a good look at where I was standing financially, that’s when it hit me.
I’ve realised that those small and insignificant habits have financially sabotaged me. I knew that if I ever wanted to reach financial independence, those habits have got to go.
The key to mastering and gaining financial control is to start breaking those bad habits and start developing smart habits.
That’s why today, I have decided to gather 10 bad money habits to break in order for you to build more wealth. Check them out!
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Bad money habits
You don’t track your spending
There is just no reason not to track your spending with all of the great technology available to us. I understand if you don’t want to sit in front of a spreadsheet noting every chocolate you buy, but no one has to do that anymore.
If you don’t track spending, you don’t know where your money is going and how much you might be wasting every month.
Spending $/£5 a day on coffee doesn’t seem like much if you never see it all added up, but it is hundreds of dollars/pounds a year which is a lot.
If you love buying coffee so much that it’s worthwhile to you, fair enough. Tracking spending doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on things you prioritize.
It just shows you what you’re spending overall which allows you to cut back on things you mindlessly spend on that are not priorities. So, you have more to spend on your priorities.
Would you like advice on cutting down your monthly expenses, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:
You don’t want to budget
I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that I believe most people understand basic budgeting principles. Money comes in (via income from a job or side hustle) and then money goes out (to pay for bills and miscellaneous expenses).
What I don’t understand, is why so many people don’t want to budget. Is it because they are afraid to put the numbers down on paper?
They don’t want to see the true, dire situation that they’ve put themselves in?
If you’re digging in your heels and fighting your partner (or your partner is fighting you), it’s time to get over yourself and get serious.
The awesome thing about budgeting is that the numbers never lie. They always tell the truth about what is truly happening.
And with knowledge comes the power to do something about it.
The first few budgets are going to be difficult. There may be some money arguments, and you might feel a variety of emotions from anxiety to relief and everything in between.
Would you like to know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:
Being dependant on credit cards
Relying on a credit card is one of the most serious bad money habits that most people have. Using credit cards isn’t bad, but if not used wisely it can leave you in huge debts.
One of Dave Ramsey’s great money hack is to cut off the credit card and adopt the envelope cash systems. One missed payment will have you shelling out more and more.
Most people who rely on credit cards end up spending more than they earn, which of course leads to debts. They are addictive, which means you will continue spending more money than you earn creating an even bigger vicious cycle.
A credit card should be reserved only for emergencies or if you can use it wisely. If you have been using a credit card for your basic needs like food and rent is a habit you need to stop immediately.
You end up spending so much compared to using cash, because with a credit card you aren’t seeing the amount of money that you are spending, and using cash makes you think twice.
Would you like to know how to tackle you credit card debt to get on the path to financial freedom? Then see the post below:
You aren’t setting goals
Would you embark on a cross country road trip without access to Google maps? My guess is no. Setting goals for your money is exactly the same!
Without a map or plan for your money, you won’t know where you’re headed. Setting financial goals helps you know what you’re working toward and if you are on track.
They allow you to turn dreams into reality. They give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve and give you a deadline.
When setting financial goals, be sure to set both short-term and long-term goals. Short term goals can range anywhere from a year to five years.
And for long term goals, think 10 years or more. You might also want to set small weekly and monthly goals.
I know that when I started setting monthly goals, I was able to focus more on my money than ever before! Make sure your monthly goals support your long-term goals.
Would you like to know how to set SMART financial goals, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:
Sticking with minimum payments
I know that making minimum payments on credit cards are more doable than constantly paying the full balance. I’m definitely guilty of this. I was not comfortable spending half of my payday paying off the full balance.
Paying the minimum balance seems to be the best way to go especially if your budget is tight but constantly doing this will only cost you so much more money in the long run.
Try setting up an automatic transfer of the full balance from your checking account to your credit card – this will help avoid the temptations of going for the minimum payments.
Would you like to know how to complete a no spend month to save money? Then see the post below:
Oooooh, look! That looks nice, I’m going to buy it. No! You’re an adult, and one of the many crappy things about being an adult is that you have better impulse control than a five-year-old.
You can’t just buy whatever strikes your fancy.
Shop with a list. For everything, groceries, clothes, shoes, presents.
I love food and cooking, and one big way I curbed impulsive grocery spending, was to limit my main shop to once a week and not every time I fancied it. This way I have saved a fortune.
You can still buy things not on your list when you buy things online but you have to search them out rather than being forced to walk by them on your way to the checkout.
Use another kind of list for bigger purchases. A thirty-day list. If you see something you really want, write it down and then wait. If at the end of thirty days you still want it, it’s more likely to be a genuine need than a momentary want.
You don’t shop around
I’m not talking about the little stuff. You don’t have to drive to three stores to save money on toilet paper. You would probably spend more in gas/petrol money than you save doing that anyway.
But if you are making a big purchase, a new computer or television for instance, don’t just buy the first thing you see.
Do some research. And not just on price if you are making a big purchase. Make sure that what you buy not only has the best price, but is reliable and has all of the features you want too.
There are lots of comparison sites out there that you can use to make sure you get the best deal. Make sure you are buying something at the best time of year too if it’s not an emergency purchase like a new refrigerator.
Certain things go on sale at certain times of the year and if you can wait a bit, you will get a better deal.
Do you have subscriptions that you are barely making use of? Maybe it’s that gym subscription you sign up for, but you haven’t stepped foot in the gym in the last two months?
Cancel the subscription or memberships that you hardly use!
Companies have a great marketing strategy where they entice you to sign up for a free 1-week trial period, but in most cases, you end forgetting to cancel the subscriptions.
That would be a great place to start, and that money can go towards your saving plan.
If you use the services that are adding value to your life then keep them. If you barely make use of them, then it’s time to cancel and save yourself some money.
Eating Out Frequently
Don’t mistake being a foodie with eating out frequently.
If you’re living a payday-to-payday lifestyle, being a foodie doesn’t work. You can love food but spending money you don’t have isn’t smart.
Having that type of mindset will keep you broke forever.
If you enjoy food and love to try different dishes, do it at home. Cooking at home gives you more control over the food you put into your body.
And cooking is fun; especially if you love food.
Trying to keep up with the jones’
You have no idea how the Jones’ afford the lifestyle they have.
It could have taken them years and years of hard work to arrive where they are. Or what they have could all be from borrowing.
Either way you don’t see what the Jones’ go through to maintain what they have. It could be sleepless nights because they are working so hard or sleepless nights and ill health because of money worries.
You cannot base your spending on the Jones’, because you’ll never be on the same level or you’ll always be playing catch up.
You are living someone else’s dreams.
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Bad money habits – Final thought
If you’re guilty of any of these money habits, then it’s time to create better money habits!
Start by tackling one or two areas today. Whether you decide to track your expenses, or set money goals, just start.
You won’t regret doing the work to create better money habits so that you set yourself up for financial success!
What are bad money habits?
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about topics such as lifestyle, self-care, self-development, finance, saving money and making money. Come and join the community!