Have you ever heard yourself asking the question, “Where is all my money going?” It can be frustrating seeing your bank account balance at the end of the month and it’s not quite what you expected. Are you doing any of these self-sabotaging things?
- Not tracking your money.You cannot make changes without being aware! Sometimes people are resistant to start tracking and budgeting because they are scared of what they might find. While that is understandable, thinking like that will only make the problem worse. Face your fears and get in control! Use a tracking tool like Mint so that you can visibly see where every dollar you spend is going. This is the first step in getting a handle on your spending. Read my blog post about how I use Mint to save money every month!
- Buying things just because they are on sale. I have fallen victim to this marketing scheme many times. If something is originally $100 and its on sale for $60, your inclination is to think, “Hey, I can save $40!” If you buy the item, you did not save $40, instead, you just spent $60. Only take advantage of sales if it’s for something you were already planning on buying.
- Taking multiple trips to the grocery store. I try to buy all of our groceries for the week at one time. If you catch yourself running in to grab “just one thing!” you most definitely will not come out with “just one thing!” This goes for the infamous Target runs, too!
- Not paying off your credit cards in full. If you don’t pay off your cards in full every month, you are paying interest on every single purchase you made. This type of debt can creep up on you very quickly and get you stuck in a hole that is very hard to get out of. Take a hard look at your spending habits to make sure you stop spending beyond your means. In the meantime, hide your credit cards and dont charge one more item on them until they are paid off!
- Treating yourself. I’m all for the occasional impulse-buy and treat yo’self days. We all deserve it sometimes! However, a treat is just that – a treat. A treat should not be every day or even every week. It will be hard to break that habit at first, but keep exercising self control over your purchases and it will get easier.
- Bad Habits. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the US is $5.51. If you smoke 1 pack a day, thats over $2,000 a year! That is a vacation right there! Other costly bad habits that add up include drinking alcohol excessively, buying sodas everyday, and lottery tickets, too!
- Comparing your financial situation to others. Many people think its normal and acceptable to have credit card debt, no emergency fund, or many other bad financial habits. Bottom line: Who cares if its normal? Do you want to be held back by these things? Also, every person’s financial situation is different and may appear better/worse from the outside than it actually is.
- Not packing your lunch. The average cost to eat lunch out on a weekday in America is $10. If you dont pack your lunch, thats $50 a week and $2,600 a year. Try to start cutting back to just a few days a week and eventually just one day a week. I try to only eat lunch out on Fridays with my coworkers. Sometimes its difficult to say no when everyone is going out because I don’t want to miss out on the social aspect. However, I would much rather be spending my lunch money on my all-inclusive vacation instead.
- Not making any goals. If you don’t have financial goals, its very hard to be motivated to make changes and save money. Whether its going on a vacation next year, or paying off your car – set aside money each month towards that goal. Having the desire to accomplish that goal will give you the kick to make some changes in your spending.
- You think spending money will make you happy. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Stop thinking that buying this new dress or this new toy for your child will make you happy. Having financial freedom is what will make you happy! Start thinking about your future self instead of the here-and-now self.
Are you guilty of any of these cash-sucking habits? Even addressing one or two things can start to make a difference in your finances. If you have any more tips, please leave a comment or send me a message!