We all have money habits. Some of us spend impulsively, while others are more mindful about how we use our money. But what habits are actually harmful to our financial health? Understanding and changing spending habits are critical to ensuring financial stability.
Here are some common habits that can hurt your wallet:
Buying things you can’t afford
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re spending more money than you have, it’s going to catch up to you eventually. Whether it’s buying a new car when you can’t really afford it or going out to eat every night because cooking at home is too much of a hassle, living beyond your means will always come back to bite you.
Not tracking your expenses
If you’re not keeping tabs on where your money is going, it’s very easy to overspend. Make sure you know exactly what you’re spending each month and where that money is going.
Paying for things in cash
While paying for things in cash can help you stay within your budget, it can also lead to problems if you’re not careful. If you lose your cash or have it stolen, you’re out of luck. And if you don’t have enough cash on hand when an emergency comes up, you’ll be in a tough spot.
Using credit cards for everything
If you’re using credit cards for every purchase, you’re probably racking up a lot of debt. While there are some cases where using a credit card is the best option (like if you’re earning rewards points), in general, it’s best to use cash or debit for most purchases.
Not having an emergency fund
An emergency fund is a savings account that you can use for unexpected expenses. If you don’t have one, you’ll likely end up putting any unexpected costs on a credit card, which can add to your debt burden.
We’ve all been there- you see something you want, and you just have to have it. But impulse buying can really hurt your finances if you’re not careful. If you find yourself constantly buying things on a whim, make sure you take a step back and ask yourself if you really need them.
Whether you’re buying a car or hiring a contractor, always remember that you can negotiate. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a good deal, don’t be afraid to ask for a better price.
Paying full price
In today’s world of discounts and coupons, there’s no reason to ever pay full price for anything. If you’re regularly paying full price for items, you’re doing it wrong. Take the time to look for coupons and deals before making any purchase, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money in the long run.
Not taking advantage of rewards programs
If you’re not taking advantage of rewards programs, you’re missing out on free money. Many credit cards offer rewards points that you can redeem for cash back or travel. And many retailers have loyalty programs that give you discounts and bonuses for shopping with them.
Not planning ahead
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not planning ahead. Whether it’s failing to budget for a big purchase or not having enough saved for retirement, not planning ahead can really hurt your finances. Make sure you take the time to think about your future goals and how you’ll achieve them.
How to change it
If you find yourself making any of these ten mistakes, don’t worry- it’s not too late to change your ways. Check out the Bills.com breakdown of Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. Just start by making a few small tweaks to your budget and shopping habits, and you’ll be on your way to better financial health in no time.
The Bottom Line
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to fixing your finances. But if you’re making any of these ten mistakes, it’s time to make a change. Understanding and changing spending habits are what it’s all about. By tweaks to your budget and habits, you can get your finances back on track. And once you do, you’ll be on your way to a bright financial future.