Money can be stressful. Feel great by kicking these less-than-stellar money habits to the curb.
Everyone is guilty of a bad habit or two. When it comes to money, it’s a good idea to recognize the bad ones and bust them right away.
Here are a few less-than-stellar money habits to break:
Spending more than you make: Spending more money than you make is the cardinal sin of personal finance. This bad money habit will have a trickle-down effect, causing major problems in all areas of your personal finances. If you spend more money than you make, you will have to rely on loans or credit to cover the rest. With loans and credit, also comes interest, making you pay even more money than you are already spending or make. This is a vicious cycle that will trap you into debt fast. So, if you are currently spending more money than you make, address this bad money habit first with a budget. Here are 6 easy steps to create a realistic budget.
Not setting savings goals: If you don’t have savings goals, you’ll never have the savings you need. Whether it be saving for retirement, an emergency fund or even a vacation, saving money should be an obligation to ourselves. If we don’t prioritize it, all too often it doesn’t get done.
Buying lunch, coffee, or snacks every day: Eating out can be irresistibly easy, yet problematic. There is nothing wrong with buying the occasional lunch or splurging on a coffee or snack on the go, but when it is every day, that expense adds up quick. Therefore, avoid last minute food purchases and plan ahead. You’d be amazed the amount of money you save.
Making late payments: Paying your bills late is a bad habit to have but happens to the best of us. Because let’s be real, who likes paying their bills? But, when you pay your bills late your credit score takes a hit and you could also be costing yourself more money in late fees and interest charges. Therefore, make it a habit of always paying your bills on time. If you’re the type of person who procrastinates, consider enrolling in bill pay. A secure, easy and convenient way to pay your bills automatically.
Not prioritizing high-interest debt: All debt isn’t equal. Rank your debt in order of highest interest to lowest interest rates, and prioritize paying off the debt with the highest interest first. Focus on paying one debt off at a time while making minimum payments on all other debts. As each debt is paid off, you have one less minimum payment to worry about each month, giving you more room to breathe. For more tips on how to get out of debt, check out our 5 get-out-of-debt-steps to financial freedom.
Paying ATM fees: When you’re going somewhere and you need cash, make sure you plan ahead. You may feel like it’s no big deal to stop at a random ATM, but those $1, $2, $3 even $4+ service fees will rob you blind over time. If you’re going somewhere that doesn’t take plastic, plan to stop at your local bank or credit union and use the free ATM that’s provided for you.
So when it comes to breaking those less-than-stellar money habits, stick to the basics: Live within your means, avoid consumer debt and save for the future. If you can achieve these three things, you’ll be in a good financial place.
The information provided here is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation.