Lately, I’ve found myself being unable to keep my grubby little mitts out of the candy dish at work. The dish keeps getting filled, and my sugar loving brain reminds me every few hours of the chocolate goodness that awaits me a few cubes down.
One trip to the bowl got me thinking about all the bad financial mistakes we make because it’s engrained in our brain as a bad habit. Our bad habits start to become an addiction slowly, and it’s so incredibly hard to break an addiction!
We don’t often recognize the problem until it’s too late and our finances catch up with us. Just like when my college friends turned 21 and discovered the bar scene, getting their bank statements and realizing they spent over $1,000 in one month! Or in my case, when my wife keeps calling me pudgy! (At least she’s honest. Dang candy dish!)
Breaking a bad habit isn’t easy. The candy dish is still there, but with enough hard work I beat the sweet tempting calls from the dark chocolate deliciousness contained within the dish and I am on my way to not being called pudgy! We can do the same for your bad financial habits and here’s how we can save yourself a few extra bucks by fixing the habit.
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How to break a bad financial habit!
Some bad financial mistakes happen simply because we don’t plan ahead and I am so guilty of this one.
When my wife and I go shopping on the weekend, we inevitably get hungry. We usually have a good breakfast, but our shopping trips tend to be quite the outing. Now we have two options, cut the trip short, go home, and continue shopping later or suffer the fierce wrath of a hungry spouse.
So which do we choose? Option three, of course, head to Taco Bell and spend $8 to fill our bellies. You would think with all the stops we make to Taco Bell that I would own some stock in it.
Unfortunately, I don’t have stock in Taco Bell, and I lose $8 every time on an already expensive shopping trip. However, keeping snacks handy is an excellent way to keep ourselves satisfied while avoiding a hangry spouse until we can get home and cook something.
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Stop Paying with credit cards
Credit cards facilitate bad habits, and it’s time to shred them for good! Credit cards are like that one guy who always tries to convince you to do something that you know you shouldn’t do, but each time you give in because they make a few valid points.
With cash, it’s easy to see how much money you have to spend. It’s hard to buy something at the store when there isn’t any more cash in your wallet, but it’s so incredibly easy to swipe a card and not know how much money is in your bank account.
Since you don’t see how much money you’re spending, it’s easy to grab one more cup of coffee or dinner on your way home from work. This bad habit could be avoided with a few dollars in your wallet.
Credit cards also come with a nasty interest rate. Not tracking your spending and overpaying is going to cost you 18 percent or more! I don’t know how credit card companies get away with these ridiculous interest rates, but they are taking advantage of peoples need to borrow money.
Cut your credit cards up and switch to a cash system to avoid this bad habit. If you aren’t comfortable living without a credit card, then tuck it away in a drawer somewhere. Remember, out of sight out of mind!
Practice Good Budgeting
Good budgeting practice can eliminate most, if not all, bad financial habits. Budgeting is a hard skill to learn, but it’s well worth it. My wife and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course and it whipped our budget into shape!
How can a budget help your bad financial habits? One of the best ways is it helps you avoid credit card debt.
Let’s say you need some major car work done, and it’s going to cost you $700. Bad financial habit says to throw it on a credit card and figure out how to pay it off later. A good budgeter sets aside money each month knowing in advance that it’s only a matter of time until his or her car breaks down. The good budgeter can cover most or all of the expenses when an issue occurs, even though they aren’t happy to spend the money.
A good budgeter also knows how much cash flow is going into their bank account and avoids wasteful spending to ensure money is saved at the end of each month. Without knowing how much you’re spending it’s easy to treat yourself to something nice. Knowing where you stand in your finances allows you to know when it’s ok to treat yourself and when to hold back.
My weakness is Taco Bell, but with my budget, I know when I can and can’t eat it! Although my doctor might have something to say on the matter.
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Learn to Say No to Yourself
Remember when you were eight, and you wanted that cool toy at the store, but your mom told you no? You threw a fit in the store because you really wanted it and how dare your parent deny you of having everything your eight-year-old self-desired.
Discipline is a hard skill to learn, but it is one of the most important. Ever since being a child, all you ever wanted was for every adult to say yes to your every demand as if you ruled the world.
Guess what? You are the adult now, and there is no one standing in your way of what you want. You can finally have everything you ever wanted! The only difference is you’re paying for what you want and not your parents.
Do you want new headphones and the latest iPhone? You could buy it and probably put it on credit. Who’s to stop you? Season tickets for your favorite sports team? Why not!
You need to be your own worst enemy and start denying yourself the things you deep down inside know you can’t afford. It isn’t fun or glamorous, but it is responsible.
A practice for shopping is to ask yourself, “Is this a want or need?” If it’s a need, such as food to survive, then buy it while trying to stay within budget. Don’t try to justify junk food as a need. If it’s a want, do you have enough money saved up for it? If you do then great! If you don’t, consider saving up until you have the financial means to buy it.Sharing is Caring!Click To Tweet
Use Auto Pay or Set a Reminder
Do you struggle to pay your bills on time? You’re not alone. Procrastination seems to be in our nature! Why do something today when you can put it off until tomorrow?
Deciding to put your bills off until another time might result in experiencing life without electricity! You know how you’ve wanted a vacation lately? You’re utility company just sent you back to the era before electricity. Boring I know, but I bet they have your attention now.
Use auto pay for your bills so you don’t forget. You can usually set auto pay up with almost any company because the easier they make it for you to pay, the greater chance they will get paid.
If auto pay isn’t for you then set up a monthly reminder on your phone. Make sure you pay it when the reminder goes off or you might forget to pay it (it happens).
Finances don’t always come easy for people. Work hard and stay diligent and you’ll find yourself breaking your bad financial habits.
If you’re looking to save more money, consider signing up for our free budget and save money course. The course is full of tips to help your family save more money.
What are your favorite tips for breaking bad financial habits? Let me know in the comments below!