If you want financial freedom in your life – and let’s face it, you do – then you need to give up your worst financial habits. Replace them with good habits, and you will get yourself on the right track.
As examples of bad financial habits, you might want to consider breaking the following if they relate to you. Let’s cure you of them before they make you financially unwell.
Bad Habit #1: Not paying your bills on time
And by bills, we are referring to anybody you owe money to. From utility companies to loan providers, you need to make those payments on time. You may be charged a fee if you don’t, and your bank or credit card provider might hike up your interest rates on your loans. Not only will this affect you in the short term, but it will also bring down your credit score, meaning you will struggle to get credit in the future.
Cure: A simple solution is this: set up direct debits or standing orders with all of your outgoing payments. This will help you if you are not paying your bills on time because of forgetfulness. If you are struggling to make your payments, rather than burying your head in the sand, you should also contact your utility and loan providers. They will usually set up a payment plan with you to make your life easier. By doing one or both of these things, you will be able to budget your finances better and go one step closer towards acquiring a good credit score.
Bad Habit #2: Spending money you don’t have
If you know you can’t afford to buy something, then don’t. If it’s not a necessity, then don’t make your life difficult. Sometimes in life, it is better to go without than go into debt, so you need to take control of your finances so you only spend your money on those things that you can reasonably afford to buy.
Cure: The obvious cure is to leave your credit card at home so you aren’t tempted to use it. Instead, take out cash from the bank, being sure to only take out money that isn’t used for bills and other necessities. You then have something tangible to hand, letting you know how much money you can afford to spend. This should curb any bad spending habits. You should also create a budget plan, marking down how much money you have coming in, and how much goes out of your account each month. Download one of these budgeting apps to help you. You will then have a clearer idea of what you can afford to spend. Then to buy those nice-to-have items, consider the things you can do to boost your spending power, such as looking for extra income opportunities, instead of using money you can’t afford to lose when spending.
Bad Habit #3: Living for today and not tomorrow
You might have the spending power to get what you want today, but what about tomorrow? The ‘live for today’ mentality is a faulty one, as while you’re in your right to enjoy your life with the money you earn, you should still set some aside for your future. What if you lose your job? What if you need to pay for car repairs? How will you be able to retire comfortably? Always have a future mindset, as you may not always be as well off as you are now.
Cure: Again, stop spending! Or at least use your budget plan to know what you can comfortably afford ONLY after putting some money away into your savings and emergency fund. There are some tips here to help you to save. But even for the money you do have spare, ask yourself: Do I need to spend it? If you don’t need something, then question the purchase. Treat yourself by all means, but don’t let this become a habit. Think about the nice-to-have items you can’t currently afford. Surely it is worth holding back from spending to save up for those luxury items that aren’t within your power to buy today. Something for you to think about anyway when you’re tempted to impulse buy at your favorite store or website.
Bad Habit #4: Overspending on your essentials
Thinking about your monthly outgoings, consider how much you are spending. In some cases, you may be spending more than you should be. We are thinking about your utility bills, insurance providers, and the food you buy from the supermarket. You don’t need us to give you the cure – you probably know what you need to do – but are you procrastinating?
Cure: For your energy bills and insurance costs, you should do the obvious thing, and use a price comparison service online. After all, why pay more when you could be paying less? It’s senseless, especially if you are going to get the exact same service from somebody else. When you have finished reading our article, do a Google search, and look for those comparison sites that are designed to help you save money. Then think about your food shopping. Could you shop at a cheaper supermarket? Could you opt for cheaper brands when filling your basket? Do a price check and start spending less on your food shopping. In all cases, it takes very little effort to compare prices, but by doing so, you might start saving big!
Bad Habit #5: Being too frugal with your money
You shouldn’t spend more than you earn, but do you regularly spend less than you earn? Okay, so this makes perfect financial sense, but not when you’re miserly with your own money. After you have put aside money into your savings, and after you have paid out on your monthly essentials, look at what you have left, and consider how you might use it.
Cure: Easy, go out and treat yourself! A new outfit, a gourmet meal, something for your living room… if something will make you feel happy, don’t hold back forever. There is sometimes nothing wrong with the ‘live for today’ mentality when you have money to burn, so if you have been stockpiling your reserves for a rainy day (well done you), remember to live a little once in a while. You might deserve it!
We hope this advice has been useful to you, especially if you know you are guilty of any of these bad habits. Let us know what you think, and if you have some suggestions of your own fro our readers, be sure to share your financial wisdom with us.