We all have temptations and money pits that all our extra money seems to be sucked up by magically, leaving you wondering where all your extra cash went? Here are five bad habits that will make your budget moan and a few tips on how to break them:
1.) Window Shopping: With the internet, commercials, and catalogs available; window shopping is becoming a budget breaking habit that takes a lot of discipline to stop. We all have weak spots for a certain item; shoes, clothes, or even electronics and can’t resist purchasing the newest style or do-da. Staying away from stores and not requesting catalogs or email updates from your favorite stores is a good place to start breaking the habit. Before buying the latest item you crave, ask yourself: “Do I need it and will use it daily?” and “Can I pay cash for it now?” If the answer is no, walk away. You can also make a “wish-list” and let the items sit for a month to be revisited and see if the same desire rises up before purchasing the newest fashion design.
2.) Cash: Carrying a lot of cash can be just as bad of habit as paying everything with plastic. Cash can give you feelings of having extra funds. Only carry enough cash for the items you need and leaving the rest in a safe, secure place can help curb the temptation to spend all of it. Budgeting is just as important when choosing to pay in cash or plastic. If you prefer the green habit, try to budget your cash into envelopes for different items, such as groceries, entertainment, and car insurance. It will help you keep things on track and not take five dollars from different categories to buy a few wanted items.
3.) Saving Your Info With Vendors: Shopping online is getting easier and easier and the stores are being so considerate to save your address and credit card information—some even come equip with one-click ordering buttons. It’s very easy, but also very dangerous. Not only does this help impulse shopping become a bad habit, but also a budget breaker. Don’t allow vendors to store your information and avoid signing up for emails and catalogs if they are too tempting to shop when you really shouldn’t. It can be great to know about a sale, but if you didn’t need anything, it’s just another temptation. Having to get your credit card and other information to purchase an item can help you break the habit by rethinking the purchase before the last “submit” button is pressed.
4.) Clipping Unneeded Coupons: Clipping coupons is an uprising trend to help lessen the pinch of the tougher economy—but is it such a great habit? Getting discount off brand-name detergent or a few cents off that package of goodies is good, but you may be surprised that your grocery bill isn’t doing down despite all the coupons. The truth is that buying generic brands are usually cheaper than the name brand and discount coupons. Some coupons can make us buy things we will not use or didn’t want just to get the discount. Or try a newer, more expensive product when the store brand is just as good. Start with a grocery list for the week to bust this habit. Look for coupons that match the items you need and get rid of the ones that you can’t use by a coupon clipping group or swapping with a neighbor. Compare prices after the coupon with the generic brand to get the best deal.
5.) Emotional Shopping: We all do it. Having a bad day and need a small item to make it a little better? Want to award yourself after the promotion or losing that extra five pounds, so you go shopping? You earned those new pair of shoes or that newest gadget. Letting your mood dictate your buying decision is the quickest way to break your budget. Sober up before shopping. Plan the shopping days the weekend afterwards and see if you still want that item or if you can still afford it after the bills are all paid. Be honest with yourself and reward yourself with items that don’t cost money, like a spa day at home, free event in your community, or spending time with your love ones.
It takes some discipline to break these bad habits and it definitely will not happen overnight. With some planning, discipline, and avoiding the temptation, you can break these habits and end up with a little extra cash at the end of the month.
Bradley, Claire. “Habits that will make you broke.” Yahoo! Publication (2010): n. pag. Web. 9 Oct 2010. <http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/110940/habits-that-will-make-you-broke?mod=bb-budgeting#mwpphu-container>.