We all have both good and bad habits when it comes to our money. But some habits are worse than others. In fact, some habits might be making you broke! I know that I’m guilty of breaking not one, not two, but all of these habits in my past! I was living life day by day completely unaware of how I was setting myself up to fail with money in the future. To keep you from living a life where you don’t have enough money to cover emergencies (or retire one day!) make sure you avoid these 7 money habits that are making you broke!
1. You spend without thinking.
We’ve all been there (at least I know I have). You’re browsing online and you see an ad for something you like. You automatically feel the need to have it. Next thing you know, you’re holding your debit card and punching in the numbers frantically. Less than 3 minutes later you’re sitting there wondering what happened. That item wasn’t in your budget. But somehow you couldn’t stop yourself.
Impulse spending is a real thing, and I’m not going to lie. It’s a hard habit to get over. I know that I personally still struggle with impulse spending even though I’ve been budgeting for over 8 years. EIGHT YEARS! Need tips on how to stop impulse spending in its tracks? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Head on over to 12 Ways To Stop Impulse Spending.
2. You aren’t paying yourself first.
Let me paint a picture for you…you’ve written your budget. It looks ah-mazing! In fact, you even found enough money in your budget to set aside $400 to your emergency fund! Huzzah! You promise yourself that at the end of the month you’ll have an extra $400 left in your checking account to move to savings. However, by the end of the month, you’re down to $28 in your checking account. Where did the other $372 go?!
Look, I’ve been there. Have you? You had all the best intentions to have money left over at the end of the month. But listen up…you have to pay yourself FIRST! That means you don’t leave the money in your checking account and hope it will be there at the end of the month. That’s too dangerous! I know that if I have any extra money in my checking account then I’ll spend it! Instead, send money into your savings the day you get paid. Yep, get that money you promised yourself that you’d save out of your hands. Put it in a safe place so you won’t be tempted to touch it. Pay yourself first, friend. That includes retirement too!
3. You’re spending too much time comparing.
Have you fallen into the trap of comparing your life to others? Maybe you find yourself wanting to take the same upscale vacations that your friend is taking. Or maybe you want your house to look like it came right out of Pinterest. No matter what it is, don’t let comparison make you broke. It’s easy to get sucked into the comparison trap which can lead to unnecessary spending. Stop spending your life trying to keep up with your friends or people on the internet. Instead, you do you. Focus on your goals and work toward what you really want, not what others have.
4. You aren’t setting goals.
Would you embark on a cross country road trip without access to Google maps? My guess is no. Setting goals for your money is exactly the same! Without a map or plan for your money, you won’t know where you’re headed. Setting financial goals helps you know what you’re working toward and if you are on track. They allow you to turn dreams into reality. They give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve and give you a deadline.
When setting financial goals, be sure to set both short term and long term goals. Short term goals can range anywhere from a year to five years. And for long term goals, think 10 years or more. You might also want to set small weekly and monthly goals. I know that when I started setting monthly goals I was able to focus more on my money than ever before! Make sure your monthly goals support your long term goals.
5. You aren’t planning for the future.
Chances are one day you’re going to want to retire so you can enjoy years of rest and relaxation. Chances are you’ll also want to enjoy a nice family vacation too! But listen up! You need to be saving for your future now. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Now. Make sure you have a retirement account set up that you’re contributing to monthly. And be sure to set up a separate savings accounts for other big things in life that you’ll want to enjoy (like a grand vacation). Because the last thing you’ll want to do is go into debt to take that vacay or retire.
6. You skip the budget because you’ll “start over next month.”
How often have you told yourself that you’ll start over next month when it comes to budgeting or saving money? Come on, let’s be honest. I know that I’m guilty of doing this many times! Every time you tell yourself that you’ll just start over next month, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to win with your money.
Here’s the deal…you need to expect the unexpected. This means that you go into the month knowing that something will come up. Something will try to throw you off your budget. When you anticipate this happening, you can be better prepared for it! Try setting up a buffer in your budget where you have money set aside just for things that come up. Or set up sinking funds that cover some of those unexpected expenses.
When you start feeling the need to start over next month, then that’s when it’s time to write a Mini-Budget! Seriously, mini-budgets have been life-changing for our family! They are smaller budgets that you write to last you from today until payday. A mini-budget allows you to get back on track even when life throws you a curveball! You can read about how to set up mini-budgets here.
7. You don’t know where your money goes.
Do you know where every penny of your money goes? Can you easily tell me how much money you spent on groceries last month? What about restaurants? If you answered “no” then it’s probably time to start tracking your expenses. It’s so important to know exactly where you are sending your money. However, most people can’t answer those questions.
Look, I get it. Tracking your expenses can be time-consuming. But just like exercising can take time, we do it because it helps keep our bodies healthy! Tracking your expenses helps you make better choices when it comes to managing your money because it reveals your spending habits. It allows you to set specific spending goals and track how you’re doing. Plus, it doesn’t have to be difficult! Learn how I track my expenses (and how I have for years) here. It doesn’t matter how you decide to track your spending as long as you find a method that works for you and that you can maintain!
Now is the time!
If you’re guilty of any of these money habits, then it’s time to create better money habits! Start by tackling one or two areas today. Whether you decide to track your expenses, or set money goals, just start. You won’t regret doing the work to create better money habits so that you set yourself up for financial success!