Bad spending habits could be holding you back from financial freedom. Some of those habits may not seem like a big deal, but they can lead to you wasting a lot of money over the course of a year. Here are seven habits that need to go, and how you can replace them with good habits.
1. The Snack Machine Conundrum
Getting a drink and chocolate bar out of the vending machine at work is something you do daily. While the cost per trek is not that much, think of how that adds up over the course of a year. How much debt could you eliminate or at least pay down by refraining from buying snacks from a vending machine?
Get the same satisfaction by bringing something from home. You’ll get the lift and free up a significant amount of your income.
2. The Lunchtime Scramble
You only have 30 minutes for lunch, so that means finding somewhere that can serve you quickly. Five lunches out per week will get expensive. Bring a lunch from home at least four times a week. You’ll eat well and have some time to relax before you have to get back to work. Best of all, you save money.
3. The Fast Food Drive by
You’re tired and don’t want to cook tonight. The solution is to whip into a fast food joint and pick up dinner. This works so well that you end up doing it three or more times a week.
Invest in a cookbook that is loaded with recipes that you can prepare in fifteen minutes or less. Along with more nutritious meals, you’ll also have leftovers that you can take to work the next day.
4. The Grocery Store Dash
You seem to drop in at the supermarket often, usually to pick up one or two things. The only problem is that you emerge with impulse purchases that you really didn’t need. Of all the bad spending habits, this is among the most common.
Limit your trips to the supermarket to once a week. Use a list and do not buy anything that isn’t on it, no matter how tempting. If you run out of something before the week is up, make do with what you have. You’ll still eat well and save a ton of money on your food budget.
5. Buying Deals Syndrome
Don’t buy something just because it catches your eye or it’s on sale. Institute a cooling down period of at least three days. That gives you time to objectively consider the purchase and decide if it will provide long-term value. If not, then you never truly needed it in the first place.
6. The Credit Card Swipe
Credit cards are great financial tools, but it pays to use them wisely. Do not use them for incidental purchases. If you can’t make those purchases with cash, then don’t make them at all. When you do use cards for something worthwhile, use cards that feature cash back programs.
7. The Neighbourly Competition
Remember that you don’t have to buy a new car every time the neighbours do, especially when yours is still in great shape. Be happy with what you have. In the interim, place money in an interest bearing account every month so you can pay cash when there is the need to replace something around the house.
If you need help breaking bad spending habits, work with a debt counsellor. Doing so will help you identify specific areas where you can improve and learn to live within your means. Over time, you’ll replace those bad habits with good ones and be well on your way to financial freedom.