Bad money habits can cost you big. Here are 10 of the worst and most common money mistakes, and how to break them.
You like making money, you like spending money… and, like most people, you hate the idea of your moola going to waste, right? Chances are, though, that you have some bad financial habits that you aren’t aware of and that are quietly costing you a fair bit of cash. Here are 10 of the most common money mistakes people make. Learn how to break them, and take control of your finances for good!
1. Spending money you don’t have
Can’t really afford it? Don’t buy it. If you are using your credit card to buy an item you haven’t saved for, rather wait and save until you can pay for the item without putting a huge dent in your credit card or (even worse) having to take out a payday loan. Credit debts carry high fees and interest rate charges, creating a hole that can be difficult to get out of.
2. Spending money without thinking
Avoid impulse buying, and rather plan your purchases to make sure you’re getting the best deals on the things you need (as opposed to bad deals on things you don’t!). Don’t allow yourself to be drawn in by flashy signs telling you how much you’ll save by buying the item now – buying something you don’t need is not saving but spending. Do your homework, compare prices, and – especially when you do your groceries – shop with a shopping list.
3. Not budgeting
Take what you just read about money and shopping lists, and apply it to every aspect of your financial life. Draw up a budget so that you know how much is coming in, how much is going out, and exactly where it’s going. Make adjustments throughout the month to avoid getting into debt. It is important to live within your means. Do not spend more than what is going in and, even better, plan to spend less so that you can save.
4. Not preparing for an emergency
Work a rainy-day fund into your budget. Life happens, and unplanned-for expenses (car repairs, home repairs, medical bills, etc.) will blow a hole in your budget if you don’t have emergency savings set aside. Even a small amount each month can help when those big expenses hit unexpectedly.
5. Ignoring the calendar
Don’t pay your accounts late. If you do, it’ll hurt your credit score in the long run and cost you penalties and interest in the short run. Consider the EarlyPay option on TymeBank’s EveryDay account, which puts your salary in your bank account the day before your normal salary date. That extra day buys you time to pay your accounts as soon as your salary arrives so you’re not tempted to skip a month and spend it on other things.
6. Not having enough in your account for debit orders
Debit order disputes (when a scheduled debit order is unable to be processed due to a lack of funds in your bank account) carry penalties and bank fees that are completely avoidable. Balance your budget (point 3), check the date (point 5), and you’ll avoid that double cost.
7. Maxing out your credit card
A credit card can be a useful money tool. It makes purchase payments easy, it builds your credit record, and it lets you go cashless. But if you spend too much time in debt, you’re in trouble. Credit card debt carries high interest rates, which can dig a hole that you’ll struggle to get out of. As soon as your account balance goes negative, make a plan to get back into the black.
8. Paying too much for bank charges
How much do you pay for an ATM cash withdrawal? How about bank account admin fees? If you don’t know the answer, find out – and adjust your behaviour so that you’re not paying for banking services you don’t need (or, worse, never use). Read your bank statement carefully every month to identify the charges coming off your account.
9. Forgetting the long term
Spending in general – and shopping specifically – is about the short term: you’re buying what you want/need right now. Saving, on the other hand, is about the long term. Wealth takes time to grow, and in order to grow yours you’ll need to be patient and make some short-term sacrifices (like focusing on what you need, rather than what you want).
10. Saving without a goal
Ask yourself: Why are you doing this? You’re saving, but what are you saving for? Whether it’s a specific goal (like buying a car or going on holiday) or just to reduce your end-of-the-month stress, make sure there’s a purpose behind breaking your bad money habits. Saving is seldom easy, and not always fun. TymeBank’s GoalSave makes it easy to save towards a goal, keeping you focused, disciplined and motivated.
Be smart with your money
Open a TymeBank EveryDay account; it’ll only take five minutes, and you can save on banking fees, only pay for banking services you use and set up a GoalSave to help you reach your financial goals.