You make good money, but don’t seem to have any savings. Maybe you’re sabotaging yourself with terrible financial decisions. Here are 10 bad money habits to break.
1. • Always Overspending: Can’t stop random shopping? Before you hit the store have a plan. “Make a shopping list before buying. Think about want versus need,” says Jon Lal, smart shopping expert and founder of coupons and cash back website BeFrugal.com.
2. • Living Without a Budget: “How can you possibly save money if you don’t know where it’s going?” asks Kristl Story of TheBudgetDiet.com. “Establish a written budget and track expenses. This can be done the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or try free services like Mint.com.”
3. • Always Paying Retail: Just because the tag says $100 doesn’t mean you have to pay that much. “Look for discounts. Ask about a senior discount (if you are of age). Use coupons. Pay with a reward credit card. Earn cash back when you shop online. Look at weekly ads before grocery shopping,” says Lal.
4. • Indulging in Impulse Purchases: Do you see something and buy it without a second thought? Not a good idea, says Story. “Patience pays because you have a chance to shop around for the best price, find a coupon or even order a discounted gift card. Establish a 48-hour waiting period. After 48 hours if you still really want the item…buy it, but chances are you’ve gone home and realized that you don’t need it, or you really can’t afford it,” she points out.
5. • Spending Too Much Time Trying to Save Money: You need to be efficient in your hunt for savings, says Lal. “Value your time. Don’t clip every coupon and drive around deal hunting every weekend. Put your computer to work–quickly browse weekly online ads, print coupons for what you need, shop online and get it delivered. Before doing frugal things like making your own soap, calculate what you’d save and how much time it will actually take you. Some things are worth paying more for if it saves you enough time,” says Lal.
6. • Keeping Up with the Jones: Just because your neighbor or your friends own the latest products, doesn’t mean you need them as well. “This is one of the reasons that so many people are in financial trouble right now. We try to emulate others that we think have it all and buy things we cannot afford to look good on the outside,” says Danny Kofke, author of How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher’s Salary and A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and Your Kids) How to Live Wealthy with Little Money. “Establish priorities. Doing what is right for you (and not someone else) is a value many “wealthy” people possess. Having this value will lead to setting priorities for you and your family.”
7. • Having a Fear of Money: Fear of losing money, fear of not making money, fear of not enough money…all these fears can be counterproductive. “A bad habit is looking at money in terms of fear and scarcity,” notes Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think. “The better approach is to see money from the point of view of freedom, opportunity, abundance and possibility.”
8. • Setting Yourself Up For Failure: If you have a weakness for certain items, don’t put yourself near temptation, says Kofke. Say for example, you want to cut out your $4 daily (or $1,460 annually) Starbucks treat, then don’t go near a Starbucks on the way to work. “We all have areas that we lack some control in. We need to recognize these so we do not sabotage our plans,” he says. “Instead, set yourself up for success.”
9. • Thinking About Money Emotionally: Take your feelings out of your financial situation. “A bad habit is to look at money from an emotional standpoint,” notes Siebold. “The better approach is to use logic when it comes to your finances. In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment about a great deal you think you are getting on something you really don’t need.”
10. • Having Low Financial Expectations: Dream big, says Siebold. “It’s a very bad habit to have low expectations about making money. When you have low expectations, you’re disappointed when you don’t make that much,” he offers. “The better approach is to set your expectations very high, and get excited about making money. In fact, set them five times higher than what you expect to make this year and remember that money flows to great ideas like water. The key is learning to turn on the faucet.”