Everyone has a bad financial habit. We live in a country that spends billions on advertising to make us want to make purchases; However, if you are looking to make change and break your bad financial habits use these tips. Remember: even though the habits are hard to break and require conscientious effort, there is payoff. Note the emphasis on the word payoff.
- Pay bills when you receive them. Think of all the stress and anxiety (not to mention late fees) that you experience when you put off paying your bills. When you receive the email notification or open the bill in the mail, take care of it. It will only take five minutes, and you won't be swamped with bills at the last minute.
- Use cash and not your card. You need to save up for a trip or need to pay off a credit card, but you have a hard time controlling the amount of swipe purchases you are making. Minimize this urge by using your ATM card once a week to withdraw the amount of money you have allotted yourself for the week. Keep your cards at home, and even stow your credit cards in a hard to reach place in your closet to keep you from using them.
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- Buy only what you really need. Most of us take impulsive shopping trips to buy items we really don't really need. Some claim shopping eases their tension, gets their mind off of other things, or gives them a boost of happiness. Take the time to figure out what spurs you to buy unnecessary items, and only buy items that you really need, like an oil change or a Winter coat. Try to replace shopping with free, social hobbies like riding your bike or taking a walk with friends.
- Track your expenses. Sometimes restaurants and businesses will charge you the wrong amount, but you won't have the receipt to back up your claim. Other times, you might have insufficient funds for the check you just wrote. Keep your receipts, and spend a few minutes every night to double check your charges, and know the current balance of your bank account. It beats getting overcharged or having to pay an overdraft fee.
- Check your credit score annually. Get in the habit of checking your credit score to make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies. If you do notice something wrong, you can always send in correction letters, so your applications for credit cards, car loans, or a mortgage are approved.