If you want to save money, you need to make sure bad spending habits aren't holding you back. Here are 7 bad spending habits you should break and ways to break them.
We all have some spending habits that leave us spending more than we thought or spending money we don't need to. The trick to getting our finances in check is to take a good look at some of these spending habits that drain our wallets unnecessarily. Here are some bad spending habits you should break, and what to do instead.
Bad Spending Habits You Should Break
Don't make food an inconvenience
Make it much easier to eat at home by creating a meal plan, using leftovers, and making freezer meals to have on hand in advance. Take your lunch with you to work rather than eating out. Pre-make snacks for the week by cutting your own vegetables, cheese and other foods that are often bought in pre-cut and pre-portioned out packs.
Going shopping for entertainment
One of my biggest problems with spending is using shopping as a form of entertainment. “Window shopping” never works out for me unless I leave my wallet at home. This doesn't mean you can't ever enjoy shopping just for fun, it simply means that you need to limit how much you do it. If you do choose to shop for entertainment, set yourself a strict budget and stick with it.
Using rewards systems too much
You may have rewards cards for chain pharmacies, grocery stores, and even gas cards. These can be a great way to save money and get free things, but don't make any purchases you don't already plan on making just to get points. You are wasting money if you do this and doing exactly what the retailer wants you to do. Instead, plan your normal purchases around the programs.
Paying bills late
Those sneaky late fees or convenience fees you pay to be able to pay with a card over the phone add up. Don't get caught in the trap of paying this way. Instead, make it a point to always pay on time and in the cheapest way possible. This might be a little inconvenient for you, but you will be saving yourself 20-50 dollars a month. If you are already in the trap, make a way to go without something else, such as a meal out that month, to pay up your bill and keep it paid on time.
Using ATM's that are not from your bank
It may be easier to just use the closest ATM to your location, but you could be charged double. Not only will the ATM charge you a fee, but your bank may be charging as well so that $20 you just took out could cost you $25 or more. You can ask your bank if they offer apps for your phone that help you locate the nearest in-network ATM based on your location.
Emotional spending can lead to heartache
When you buy junk food because you are having a bad day or go shopping with friends because you got some bad news, you are emotionally spending. These purchases may not seem much, but they can really add up. In order to get a better grip on these money habits, you need to identify what causes you to do it. If it is stress, find something else that can help you gain some inner peace. Come up with a plan for not spending during emotional times or at least a budget for when it does happen.
Using credit cards as if they are extra money
Many people make the mistake of using a credit card as extra spending money when in reality it isn't. That “extra money” comes with a hefty price tag and can easily start a cycle that is hard to break. Don't use your credit cards unless you absolutely have to and stop thinking of them as extra cash in your wallet.
Do you have any spending habits that have gotten you into trouble in the past?