It’s no secret that bad habits can be hard to break. This especially rings true when it comes to our money. Between recurring bills and day-to-day expenses, we can easily fall into spending routines and lose sight of where we want our money to go and where it’s actually going.
That’s why we’re breaking down some of the most common bad spending habits along with helpful hints to quit them for good.
Bad Habit: Not Having a Budget
Not having a budget is the easiest way to overspend and develop bad spending habits. That’s because you simply don’t know how much you’re spending. This can also prevent you from making progress towards or reaching important financial goals like building an emergency savings, paying off debt, or saving up for a big purchase like a house, car, or vacation.
Solution: Create a Budget
Creating a budget is the best way to get on track financially. Financial experts recommend the 50/30/20 rule — meaning 50% of your earnings go towards necessities, 30% towards wants, and 20% towards debt and savings. You can also start by making a list of your recurring monthly expenses — things like your rent or mortgage, utilities, and phone bill — and subtracting that from your income.
Once you determine what’s leftover, you can decide how much you want to spend or save in other areas, like gas, groceries, entertainment, and more. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start, consider finding a financial planner or testing out some budgeting apps.
Bad Habit: Not Tracking Your Spending
Not tracking your spending goes hand-in-hand with not having a budget. It goes beyond the question of how much you’re spending and addresses where you’re spending your money. You may find that you’re overspending in your ‘necessities’ or ‘wants’ categories and not putting enough towards your savings and debt.
Solution: See Where Your Money’s Going
Try enlisting the help of apps like Mint or Every Dollar, which categorize your spending for you. Spend how you normally would for a week or two, then check to see the areas in which you’re spending the most. You might be shocked at how much of your money is going towards things like daily coffees and frequent dinners out.
From there, you can get a much clearer picture of where exactly your money is going and break your budget down into more specific categories. So, instead of having a general ‘entertainment’ budget, you could create subcategories like restaurants, coffee shops, and movies to better track (and limit) your spending.
Bad Habit: Impulse Spending
We’ve all been there before: We use the one-click-buy feature on Amazon a little too frequently or get swipe happy at the mall after a stressful day. And while it may feel great in the moment, it’s usually followed by buyer’s remorse and frantically pulling up your bank statement to see how much damage was done.
Solution: Determine Wants vs. Needs
As you start to budget and track your spending, simultaneously work to build the mindset of wants vs. needs. That doesn’t mean restricting yourself entirely; it simply means taking some extra time before buying anything to see if it’s really worth it. For example, instead of asking, “Do I want or do I need these shoes,” you can remind yourself that if you buy the shoes now, it may hinder your progress towards other goals in the future.
Bad Habit: Too Much Swiping
While credit and debit cards are extremely convenient, they can also prevent us from actually seeing how much we spend. Sure, we see the amount on our receipts and statements, but it doesn’t have quite the same impact as physically seeing our money being spent and know exactly what it’s going towards.
Solution: Use Cash
One of the easiest ways to see where your money is going is to literally see where it is going. When you physically hand over money, you actually see how quickly it goes away. That can also help instill the habit of evaluating your wants vs. needs and reminding yourself that saying ‘no’ in the moment can mean saying ‘yes’ to something else down the line.
Get Back on Track with LendNation
Everyone is susceptible to bad spending habits, and it can be hard to get back on track. That’s why LendNation is here to help. Whether you find yourself in an emergency without a backup plan or need cash fast, you can get help with an online loan. All it takes is filling out a quick application online or stopping by any one of our convenient locations to get started. We have title loans, installment loans and payday loans for all your cash needs.