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 a year.
Here are seven habits that need to be replaced with good habits.
- The Snack Machine Conundrum. Getting a drink and chocolate bar out of the vending machine at work can seem like a harmless treat. It doesn’t cost too much each day – but have you considered how it adds up over a year? How much debt could you eliminate or pay down by refraining from buying snacks from a vending machine? Get the same satisfaction by bringing a treat from home.
- The Lunchtime Scramble. You only have 30 minutes for lunch; if you haven’t planned accordingly, you will need to find somewhere to serve you quickly. Five lunches out in a week will get expensive really fast. 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.
- The Fast-Food Drive-By. You’re tired and don’t want to cook tonight – you’re not alone. More than 50% of Canadians eat out at least once a week. Pulling into a fast-food joint and picking up dinner may seem like an easy answer, but it can quickly become a frequent bad habit.
Invest in a cookbook 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.
- 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 you 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. You can also use an online grocery pick-up option. This will eliminate impulse buying and help you stick to your list. You’ll still eat well and save a ton of money on your food budget.
- Buying Deals Syndrome. Don’t buy something just because it catches your eye or is on sale. Wait at least three days before making the purchase in order to give yourself time to objectively consider the purchase and decide if it will provide long-term value. If it won’t, then you never truly needed it in the first place.
- The Credit Card Swipe. Credit cards are great financial tools – but only when used wisely. Make sure you’re not using them for incidental purchases. If you can’t make those purchases with cash, then don’t make them. When you use cards for something worthwhile, ensure your card has a cashback program.
- 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 any of these bad habits sound familiar, consider reaching out to a credit counsellor. They can help identify areas where you can improve and teach you how 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. For a free consultation with an accredited credit counsellor, contact SolveYourDebts.com.