We all have spending habits that we instinctively know are bad, but forgo changing because it’s a little more challenging than we want it to be. I completely understand, but if this year we could cut just one bad spending habit we’d end up making a really nice (positive) dent in our bank accounts.
Not sure what spending habit you should consider cutting? Here is my list of the four top culprits:
Rarely are any good shopping decisions ever made on impulse. That adorable hot pink owl pillow will totally go with my lime green chair… said nobody ever. Impulse buying is one of the worst spending habits that we all, even the most prudent of us, come across every once in a while.
If you find you’re particularly susceptible to impulse spending, perhaps instilling a 72-hour waiting period before purchasing anything will help. Nine times out of 10 after I’ve had a night to sleep on it, I either realize that the desired purchase is completely unnecessary or forget about it altogether. So, next time you face a, but I have to have it scenario, try the sleep-on-it method and see how it works for you.
Relying On Your Credit Cards
Credit cards are so convenient, which makes them both a blessing and a curse. I would risk a guess that the mass majority of us have, at one time or another, relied a tad bit too much on our credit cards to help us out. Even when we didn’t have the cash to pay it back right away…
The catch to this plan (and what makes it one of the most devastating spending habits) is that if you get strapped with extra credit card debt, the interest is killer! If you’re going to be using your credit cards make sure you get the actual benefits from them (aka the points) without paying extra money for your purchases.
I’m looking at you, food delivery — look, I’m not pooh-poohing all delivery, every once in a while you really do deserve to treat yourself. But we do a lot of buying for convenience, and that convenience is a bad spending habit that we pay for. It might only be a dollar here, three dollars there, but all of that adds up.
When you have the opportunity to take price over convenience, I would encourage you to take it. Maybe that means walking three blocks to pick up your pizza instead of getting it from Uber Eats, or perhaps that’s making a legitimate trip to the grocery store instead of buying a $7 jug of milk at the one-stop-shop around the corner.
Those Really Bad Vices…
You know the ones — drinking, smoking, gambling… throw pillows… You know what I’m talking about. These are particularly bad spending habits if they negatively affect your health (last time I checked no one died from over-exposure to throw pillows) and cost a boatload of money.
If you smoke three packs of cigarettes a week, that’s over $1,000 in yearly costs. Likewise, if you hang out with your friends at the closest happy hour three times a week, you’re looking at a bill of over $2,000. And don’t even get me started on those throw pillows.
Vices are obviously a bit harder to curb that some of the other spending habits, but if you’re looking for a way to improve both your personal and financial help (and free up some space on your couch) it might warrant a look at pulling back some of your vices.
What spending habits are you hoping to tackle this year?
Looking for More Ways to Save Money?
- It’s That Time of Year Again: Doing the 52-Week Savings Challenge
- Start Your 2019 Budget Now. Here’s Why
- Do You Really Need That Designer Bag? Shopping Rules You Need in Your Life