Bad Money Habits You Need to Break Now!

Eliminate these 5 things to keep your wallet fat and happy

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Impulse spending

You really want that new outfit you see in the store window. You know it’ll fit you perfectly, so you head inside. One look at the price tag and you practically choke on your own tongue. You try it on anyway…just for fun. Yes, it fits perfectly! So what if it costs a weeks paycheck. You deserve it.

Wait! Don’t pull out your credit card just yet.

Your rent is due, your fridge is empty, and you need gas in the tank. The LAST thing you need is a new outfit.

Impulse spending is an easy way to keep yourself in a lot of debt. If you have a shopping habit (or an addiction), it’s time to evaluate how and why you spend your money unwisely.

Unplanned spending is based on emotion. We can jump on believing we need something without thinking rationally.

Make a pact with yourself to curb your spending habits.

Try forcing yourself to wait, at least 24 hours before you make that purchase. If after a day you’ve decided that the purchase is necessary and reasonable, then by all means, purchase it. But only if you can afford it.

Decrease your shopping trips, and substitute it with another activity you enjoy that doesn’t cost as much money.

Take any spending apps off your phone and otherwise make it more difficult to access shopping accounts online. Treat online shopping like you would regular shopping; wait 24 hours before purchasing.

Paying bills late

You tossed aside the mail to read later. Except you forgot about it and now you’re going through a huge pile of papers. You open letter after letter. Most of them are junk mail. But, buried deep in the pile is your credit card bill. You forgot to pay it by two days. Two days! Now it’s late and you’ve wracked up late fees on top of the payment.

Late fees and extra interest can really add up quickly and take a huge chunk out of your earnings.

It’s easy to keep track of bills. I typically use the calendar on my phone and set alerts. When a bill comes due, I know ahead of time because I’ve sent myself a reminder. That’s only one way.

Find a way that’s right for you to remind yourself on a consistent basis to pay your bills on time. Use it. You’ll save a lot of money when you avoid fees.

Relying on credit cards

You make all your purchases on your credit card. You want “miles” and your credit card gives you a mile point for every dollar you spend. Except, you keep a running balance and never seem to pay off your credit on a monthly basis. When you look back on your statements, your charged interest rates could have paid for two plane tickets for your next vacation.

Oops.

Using credit cards to pay for things is one of the worst habits you can make for your finances. It’s a dangerous game to play and most of the time you’ll lose your money.

Unless you can pay your balance in full every month (and most people can’t because they live above their means buying on credit), you should not use your credit cards to make purchases.

When you carry a balance from month to month, the dollars you spend will cost you much more in interest. You can spend thousands of dollars paying down balances, and may find you’ll never get ahead unless you quit this bad habit and intensely focus on paying down your debt.

Start paying for purchases with the money you already have. Period. If you don’t have the money, you can’t spend it and you won’t be living above your means.

Giving in to your vices

You really want to quit smoking, but you can’t. You tried over and over, but you need that cigarette. You’ve run out again so you head to the store to purchase another pack. You shake your head as you hand over a $10 bill and get very little change back. You seem to hand over $10 a lot during the week. No wonder you’re broke all the time. You know you need to quit this damn habit. You’re only hurting yourself and your pocketbook.

Along with that shopping vice, there’s many other things we can spend our money on compulsively and excessively which is not good for us or our finances: drinking, smoking, gambling, dining out, drugs, clothing, ‘hobbies,’ spa treatments, plastic surgery…the list goes on.

Whatever your vice, look to see if it’s costing you too much and if can you change your life to stop the destructive habit before it ruins your financial health (and your overall physical and mental health). Don’t underestimate the courage and effort it takes to change a habit or an addiction. It takes a lot of emotional discipline to overcome habitual obstacles…and probably some outside help.

Not Budgeting

Yep, here I go again, talking about how important it is to budget.

Not budgeting makes you vulnerable to overspending. You aren’t able to track your expenses if you have no budget in place.

Budgeting helps you see your incoming money and where it’s funneling towards when you spend it.

A budget enables you to create a positive change towards your money. It will help you save money if you do it right.

There’s many apps and ways to budget smoothly and with little emotional pain. Find one that works for you.

Cha-Ching Money Blog helps you manage your personal finances by giving you tips on changing your money mindset and lifestyle. Sign up for our newsletter for ongoing tips, stories and ideas on how to make your money work for you.

Written by

Advocate for Women / Editor of The Virago

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