We are all guilty of certain bad money habits. In fact, I am willing to bet that even if you are the most frugal person in the world, you are still guilty of at least one bad money habit.
For me, it was too easy to use our credit card. Over just a short period we managed to find ourselves buried under credit card debt, and it took us years to get out from under it.
The first step to fixing these bad money habits is to identify them, so you know where your money is going and why you are so broke. Learn from my mistakes and see if these poor money habits are making you broke too!
You Are Investing In “Things”
We walk into Target and are immediately drawn into the Dollar Spot where we find planners, notepads, and cute mini dishes for our home.
We justify the purchase by saying I can spare a few dollars and end up spending $20 or (usually) more.
The purchases are justified because we say that we’ll be more organized or our home was missing this adorable heart-shaped shell-filled dish.
In a few months, when we go to declutter our homes, we’ll ask ourselves why on earth we bought another planner (which never helped us become more organized) and another bowl (we could’ve lived without).
Having a few sentimental or pretty items around your house is not the problem, in fact, I encourage you to keep these things. What I am talking about is the excessive amount of stuff that your hard earned cash goes to pay for, that should have remained on the store shelf.
Using restraint right now, while you are paying off debt, or just making ends meet will help you have more later.
To carry the math out, just one frivolous $20 Target “One-Spot” shopping spree each month is $240 over the course of a year. You could’ve put that money towards debt or filled your savings account instead. Ask yourself: Is it truly worth it?
You Are Not Aggressively Paying Off Your Debt
If you are not currently putting as much as you can toward paying off debt or can’t even tell yourself how much you have, this is a bad money habit.
Paying off debt is not easy, I’ve done it myself. It also does not come without a little bit of sacrifice somewhere. Despite this, when we made the last payment on our debt, I remember how freeing it was.
Paying off your debt is one of the best things you can do for you and your family’s future. Knock it out as quickly as possible!
You can find a bunch of articles to help you get started here:
• Tips for paying off debt even when you’re broke
• How the debt snowball works
• How giving more can help you get out of debt
• How to pay off your debt faster
• How to pay off your debt on one income
• Habits to start now to get out of debt
• How to prioritize your debt
You Don’t Shop Around To Get The Best Deal
You may be asking yourself: isn’t shopping considered a bad money habit? I’m not talking about wasting time walking around the mall looking for things to buy. This is shopping for the best price because you already know you need something.
Last summer we wanted to get our three boys each a pair of Croc Shoes. I was emailed a coupon code to use at the Croc Store, but my husband James wanted to just get them at Dick’s Sporting Goods because we were already there. I made our whole family walk down to the Croc Store to see what deals they had and use our coupon… only to discover that Dick’s was truly cheaper. Even after the sales and coupon stacking, the shoes were priced lower at Dick’s to begin with. How frustrating!
Before you buy something, you should make sure that you are getting the best deal, and there are a lot of things to consider with this.
First, is there another store that sells the item cheaper? Is the gas to get there as much as the savings? Can you buy it online for less?
There are certain things to buy at Warehouse Stores, Drug Stores, and even Amazon. We get in the habit of buying the same things at the same places.
It’s good to reevaluate our shopping habits every so often, and make sure you are really, truly, getting the best deal!
You Stay In The Store Too Long
One of the best ways to avoid impulse purchases and change your money habits is to limit your time in the store.
The longer you’re there, the harder it will be to turn down something you’ve had your eye on, or jogs your memory of something you wanted.
Don’t tell me that you won’t be tempted by anything in the store because this is the attitude that gets people in the store in the first place!
If you find yourself unable to handle the temptations of the grocery store, consider doing an online pickup service to avoid being in the store at all.
If you can’t control yourself when you are in the store, don’t shop alone and don’t go in unless you have to.
If Walmart has the best price on toilet paper, but you can’t go in without buying eight other things, then it won’t matter how great the toilet paper deal was.
For a while, I tracked my overall spending just by avoiding Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Target. That meant I was only shopping at the Grocery Store, where I was less tempted by impulse purchases. I paid full price for things at the grocery store that I knew I could get cheaper at one of the warehouses or big box stores.
But by doing so, I saved over $100 each month. I hadn’t realized how destructive my impulse purchases were with household products, electronics and clothing.
I had to retrain my brain to be a better steward when shopping. Thankfully, it didn’t take long and now I can go to those stores and stick to a strict list!
Sometimes when we are over budget or don’t make enough money, it’s easy to point the blame away from ourselves. The truth is, that if you are practicing any of these money habits, they might be the reason you’re not making ends meet!
YOUR TURN: Which poor money habits are keeping you broke? Recall your last shopping trip. What extra items did you purchase that you just didn’t need? Be honest with me in the comments below!
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