Many people have at least a few poor spending habits. They might be fairly minor, like buying coffee every morning instead of making your own, or they might be more severe, like reckless credit card spending.
For some people, these poor habits prevent them from paying off their student loans and achieving the financial stability that they desire.
In order to avoid accumulating more debt than you can handle, it’s important that you do what you can to break your bad money habits as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there are a few highly effective fixes that can help you avoid throwing money away unnecessarily. .
Track Your Spending
As they say, the first step is admitting that you have a problem.
Often, people don’t recognize their poor spending habits until they’ve already buried themselves under a mountain of debt.
One of the easiest ways to identify your bad money habits and recognize ways to save is to track your spending.
Track your purchases for a month and separate them into categories such as rent, utilities, entertainment, groceries, and dining.
If doing this on your own seems like a lot of work, free apps like Mint will automatically categorize your spending. Just link your bank account and check back regularly.
Tracking your spending is the easiest way to see where exactly your money is going every month. You’ll likely be surprised to see how much you spend in certain categories.
Create a Budget
Creating a budget is probably the most basic yet most important financial advice.
Be that as it may, a lot of people think they don’t need one. These are also often the people that are surprised to see their bank account balances are so low at the end of every month.
Other people avoid budgeting because they don’t know where to start. Fortunately, creating a reasonable budget doesn’t have to be difficult.
After tracking your spending for a month, you can create a simple budget by adding up your total recurring expenses, setting aside a certain amount for savings, and splitting up the rest between categories like eating out and entertainment.
Alternatively, there are plenty of budgeting apps that analyze your spending habits and create a budget for you.
The bottom line is that you’ll likely never achieve your financial goals without sticking to a reasonable budget.
Use Credit Cards and Personal Loans Responsibly
Credit card debt and personal loan use is at an all-time high and is continuing to rise.
Credit cards give people access to money whenever they need it and often charge extraordinarily high interest rates. As a result, it can be very easy to accumulate extreme credit card debt.
Personal loans tend to offer lower interest rates than credit cards but can also lead to overspending and building debt.
However, credit cards and personal loans can be a great financial tool when used responsibly.
In order to avoid debt and benefit from rewards, you should treat your credit cards like debit cards. Only spend as much money as you have. And only take out in loans what you need.
Too many people treat credit cards and loans like free money. As a result, they end up paying down the interest on their balances for years.
If you make sure to pay off your credit card balances in full every month, you can reap all of the rewards that credit cards offer without any of the negatives. And if you pay your loans each month, you won’t accrue any fees and will pay off your balance by your loan term.
Cut Out Impulse Spending
Everyone is guilty of making impulse purchases. Maybe you made the mistake of browsing Amazon after getting your paycheck, or you see a sale at the store that you don’t want to miss.
Black Friday is a great example. Every year, people flock to stores to take advantage of sales on items that they’ve never even considered buying before.
Impulse purchases happen because you buy something without taking the time to consider whether or not you really need it and can afford it.
The best way to avoid impulse spending is to simply wait before making a purchase. If you aren’t absolutely sure that you need a certain item, tell yourself that you’ll buy it in five days if you still want it or decide that you need it.
Waiting just a few days to make a purchase will give you time to think about your priorities. Often, you’ll find that you lose interest in the item or you’ll completely forget about it altogether.
Poor spending habits can be a huge burden on your finances. Whether you simply want to save a little bit more money or you’re trying to dig yourself out of debt, bad habits will often prevent you from doing so.
Using the methods listed above is a great way to get started on breaking your bad money habits and improving your financial stability.