One of the most sensitive and important topics in the world is money. Money gives us choices. Money gives us freedom. Money gives us the financial stability and security that we as humans need. But financial stability requires sacrifice, discipline and change of bad habits that many people are not aware of it.
The following are some of the worst money habits and mistakes people make:
1. Lack of savings
If you are employed or earning money in any way, you should definitely have a savings account.
One major mistake people make often is spending their money without saving any of it. If you are one of those people who says they don’t have anything to spare, you have been mistaught.
A good tip is to save money you earn first, then spend the rest. On your budget list, you should have savings as the first priority. Build a habit of putting aside a fixed amount of your earnings to a savings account before you spend it all.
2. Failure to budget
Did you know that two-thirds of Americans do not budget? Most people go on spending their earnings without a proper budget set in place. Without a budget, it is easier to spend more than what it should be reasonable. Also, when people don’t have a budget they tend to spend more than what they bring home each week. Are you one of these people? Don’t fret.
Here is a quick overview on how to set up a budget.
3. Constantly upgrading devices
One of the things that can give your finances a significant blow is upgrading your devices and electronics every time a new one enters the market.
Having a device that is outdated and isn’t functioning properly warrants for a change. However, if you have a well-functioning device, upgrading it will only cost you money that you won’t recover. If you have to replace, recycle the older model but only if you must.
If you have to replace, recycle the older model but only if you must.
4. Trying to keep up with others
Trying to match the lifestyle of your friends is one of the fastest ways to go broke. Although is fine to go after the nice things in life, most of us should be grateful for the things we currently do have.
If you find yourself trying to keep up with your friends or others, just simply don’t. Live a life that fits you and don’t worry about status.
Never let indulgences in your life become out of control. Again, going out with friends once in a while or spending $5 on coffee isn’t bad. The problem is when it becomes a habit and you are not keeping control of your expenses.
Let’s take the $5 coffee as an example. If you do it daily, you can easily spend overly $1800 per year on just one cup of coffee. Think again. That money you could be allocated for investments and your future. So, track your weekly spending and keep it on the minimum.
6. Living on borrowed cash
Never spend money that you don’t have. You should be very cautious and avoid spending money that isn’t yours yet. You could have a credit card and may be able to spend money freely on debt, but at the end of the day, you will have to dig in your pocket and pay up. Don’t take a loan or use a credit card if you don’t have a particular use for it and know where you will get the cash to repay the loan.
7. No emergency savings
According to the Federal Reserve, in 2018 the US household average savings rate was 6.8%. This means most of the households live paycheck to paycheck. In case of an emergency, these families will be in a tough financial situation because of lack of savings.
Today, most people in the world live an overspending life which means they live on everything they earn.
Create a budget, avoid overspending and put aside an emergency savings account to set yourself up for success. Many personal finance experts recommend putting aside three months worth of your expenses in an easily accessible savings account in case of an emergency.
8. Buying a new car
Buying a new car is simply a bad idea. As soon as you leave the car dealership, your vehicle starts to depreciate. If you were to sell it the next day, it would cost less than you bought it. Also, it is a fact that registration and insurances for new cars cost more as compared to a used car.
Save money and buy a used well-kept car instead.
9. Expensive habits
Do you smoke or binge drink? People who constantly smoke or drink knows that this is an expensive habit. Smoking is costly for both smokers and the country. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people’s habitual smoking is costing the country more than $300 billion every year in lost job productivity and medical care.
It’s easier to say it than done but if you or a love one has this poor habit, you and/or them should quit. Instead, set that money aside in a savings account or make it grow.
10. Lack of a shopping list
When going grocery shopping we are lazy to write a shopping list and think we can memorize what we need. But, do we really?
Going shopping without a shopping list leaves us to spend more money in the store. In a research study, “Supermarket shopping lists: their effect on consumer expenditure”, author Art Thomas shares how pre‐planning may influence both time spent in store and grocery expenditure, two factors of importance to supermarket retailers. Another bad idea is shopping when we are hungry. When we shop in these ways, we tend to buy things we don’t need and forget the essentials.
Remember to make a list and stick to it when you get to the store.
11. Constantly updating wardrobe
A lot of people have this need of keeping their styles updated all the time. Now, there’s no problem updating our wardrobe. The issue is in when we spend too much money on it. A better way to approach this is to set a monthly budget for this and keep track of how much we are spending.
12. Occasional traveling
Traveling anytime you are free is another tempting habit and a lot of people travel irresponsibly. Skyscanner has some good tips on how to save on travel costs. Travel cheap if you have to, don’t just pack and hop on a plane without proper budgeting.
13. Using your credit cards all the time
Did you know using credit cards make you spend more money? Research by ValuePenguin has shown that people are willing to spend more—as much as 83% in some cases—when paying with a credit card instead of cash. Use a budget app to help you keep track of your expenses on weekly and monthly basis. Also, build a habit of carrying some cash on you to actual feel money leaving your hands. This habit will help be more conscious and in control of your money.
14. Leaving lights on
Believe it or not leaving your lights on is costing people a lot of money. When you leave a room, turn off the lights. Make sure only the lights that you are using are turned on. Having lights on when you are not using them jacks up your utility bills, and you end up with money leaving your pockets without you even knowing. Remember to turn off all the lights when not in use.
15. Constantly eating out
Not only eating all the time is bad for your health but it also bad for your pockets. The US Bureau of Statistics estimates that an average American household spends a whopping $3,000 a year dining out. Here’s what we recommend:
- Go to lunch or happy hour instead of dinner. Restaurants will have better dining deals earlier in the day
- Split an entree with someone else, or take half of your food home
- Skip the extras like drinks, desserts, and appetizers
- Buy discounted gift cards to chain restaurants through sites like Cardpool and Raise.
Make sure you take these mistakes into consideration and avoid them if possible. Start building a habit of budgeting to keep track of what you are spending.
Which money mistakes are you guilty of? Are you spending your money wisely?