Working with money is largely about developing good habits and sticking to them. Many people don’t even realize that, but a large portion of the way you interact with your finances comes down to the habits you’ve developed and how well you can control them. Unfortunately, for many people, their ability to get on top of these things is actually not that good, even if they believe otherwise. If you’re not paying attention to how you’re acting with your money, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything is fine, when it’s in fact far from that. Here are some examples of bad financial habits that have quite the strong potential to mess things up for you down the road.
Not Saving Enough
This is probably the biggest one out there by far. Failing to save enough money can have serious consequences at the worst possible time, and it’s not something you can correct on short notice either. Ideally, you should have enough saved up for about six months’ worth of expenses. That way, even if you find yourself without a job, you should be able to have something to keep you going until you’re back on your feet. This is a very simple backup plan that many people fail to bother with, only to find themselves facing significant issues when they need money urgently
Treating Loans as Free Money
Speaking of urgent money, loans are also something you need to be careful with. They’re a great tool, sure – but they also come with some strings attached that the average person doesn’t consider very carefully. A loan is not “free money” – you still have to pay it back, and you have to actually put a lot of thought into planning for that if you don’t want to face disaster. Make sure that you can keep up with the instalments, and if there’s any sign that you might have to delay a payment, get on top of that situation immediately. Talk to the creditor, let them know what’s going on, and make sure to recover as quickly as possible.
Buying Things Just Because They’re on Sale
Not every sale is your friend. In fact, unless you were actually looking for a specific item, buying it on sale usually means that you’re just wasting money. It’s true – and some people don’t even think about it in this way. That’s part of the reason why you see so many people “addicted” to shopping, always looking for the next best deal and trying to catch a nice discount on things they don’t really need. It gets worse when you consider that some people spend hours of their time driving around just to save cents on a purchase.
Taking risks is inevitable when dealing with finances. But you have to make sure that yours are calculated. Gambling with your money – both in the literal and the figurative sense – is a very bad idea if you don’t know what risks you’re taking on, and what consequences you can expect from them. There are many ways to spend your money on things that promise great returns but don’t actually work that way, and the financial market can actually seem like a bit of a trap for the unprepared. And while that’s true, it’s also not that difficult to avoid those problems if you pay attention to what’s going on.
Not Keeping Track
Which brings us to another important point. You have to keep your finances in check, and track them as best as possible with any tools you have at your disposal. There are various advanced budget trackers that you can use to get a much better overview of your current situation than the one you have in your head. They don’t take a lot of time or effort to set up, and they can run pretty much on auto-pilot after that – you just have to input your information and let the tool work its magic. And the best part is, many of them are completely free!
Inflating Your Lifestyle Too Fast
Finding yourself with some extra income can be a nice feeling, but it can also be dangerous. Many people lack the capacity to be careful when improving their lifestyle, and end up spending more money than they’re actually earning, and not even realizing how things got that bad. This is particularly common among those that don’t keep track of their finances as we described above. The point is, whenever you find yourself earning more, you should take the time to evaluate how you could improve your lifestyle before actually committing to any such changes.
Because if you wait a little, you’ll often find out that things are not exactly as stable as they initially seemed. And it’s good to find that out before you’ve made any harsh changes to your lifestyle that incur even greater costs to you, rather than dealing with the consequences of that at a later stage.