Today I have a guest post from Shountee Turner. I’m sure many of can relate to holding onto bad financial habits but if you ever want to stop being broke, it’s time to ditch them!
Target is evil! I’m convinced of it.
With pure intentions and a goal set, I arrive for a quick toilet paper run.
I tell myself –
“Self – stay focused! Keep your pupils transfixed on the household essentials section. Go straight to the toilet paper aisle!”
Then it happens. I lose all sight of my TP goals. It’s those conniving Target Team Members clad in khakis and crimson shirts! Darn you! You merchandising geniuses!
The colors, the trinkets, the wall hangings with their messages of positive empowerment. Those perfectly fitted, extra-long tanks in colors like sea foam. Suddenly I need them all.
Somehow, I muster up every ounce of willpower that I have left and I lay the items down in the wrong department – and I smile – knowing that I have won.
Then I realize that I just have to have everything that was in my cart in the first place.
About $150 and 4 hours later, I am sitting at home disappointed in myself, surrounded by Target shopping bags. To top it all off, I forgot to get the toilet paper.
Funny story, with blame placed on everything except the one person in control – me. Sadly this is a true depiction of how I used to be. Every month I would run out of money and I really could not understand why. I worked full time and was paid a decent salary, but I saw people around me that made less and always had more.
I had no idea how they did it. So I decided to figure it out. I knew that I needed to be more financially responsible and I learned that creating financial stability would require a commitment to major change in my habits and lifestyle.
Here are just 5 habits and/or acts that many of us do that contribute to a lack of financial stability along with solutions that will have an immediate effect and also provide long-term results:
1. Dining Out Every Day
When you dine out every day, or even just 3 times per week, you are literally eating your money.
So much can be saved by preparing meals in advance and cooking from home. It is both healthy and cost-efficient, resulting in the savings of over $50 per week. That is $200 per month.
This of course, is easier said than done. Throw in children, work, and other responsibilities, and finding time to cook seems daunting.
So just pick a day. Grab your Tupperware, and devote a few hours to cooking for the week. Make it a significant other and/or a family affair. With all hands on deck, a lot can get done in a shorter amount of time. As a bonus, you also create lasting memories.
2. Not Making a Budget
No matter how much you have, you are never too broke to budget. Without a budget for guidance, we often end up spending more than we have available and sometimes more than we earn. Some people keep a monthly budget.
This is a great start, but I have found that writing out weekly expenditures can provide a more comprehensive view of the best way to allocate money where it is needed. It also helps to track excessive spending habits and figure out where there is room to cut costs and save.
3. Not Saving for a Rainy Day
It is quite fitting that savings should follow a budget. It is imperative to always save something. Rainy Days are never expected and incidents such as car trouble or accidents, layoffs, increases in utilities, gas, food prices, and unexpected house repairs just happen.
If financially unprepared, taking care of these things can be a major setback and create a situation where a choice has to be made on what is the priority out of a list of priorities. This can quickly become a cycle of debt where something always has to go unpaid.
Late payments result in late fees and sometimes reporting to the credit bureau and more money goes out in the long run. So start with just a little bit – whatever you can put aside and gradually increase it. The goal is to eventually save enough money to cover your bills for at least six months.
Related: How to Save Your First $1,000
4. Being Loyal to Brands
There are some items that you just cannot skimp on. For instance, my children have allergies so I stick to a specific laundry detergent that is without dye and fragrance.
In those situations, it is unavoidable to not stick to the brand that you prefer.
However, most often generic options, especially store brands are the same as the brand name version of a product.
There is nothing wrong with buying generic and shopping around from time to time. Your grocery bill could be at least $50 less. That is a substantial savings over time. However, if you are absolutely dedicated to your favorite brand, be sure to look out for sales and utilize coupons to stock up on the item. This will also save you money in the long run.
Related: How to Save Money on Groceries
5. Buying a New Car Every Two Years
We all want to upgrade our car. The new models are so enticing. However, if you have a good car, maintain it and focus on paying it off. This will give you quite a few years of reliable transportation at no additional cost to you. It even provides a car to pass down to your teenage driver – if you are really brave.
Cars depreciate the moment you drive them off of the lot. If you purchase or lease a new one, while still paying off the debt of the old one, you continue to put out money without any return.
Bad financial habits can hold you back over time but the key is to identify what the habits are and start by changing your mindset.
Changing these habits will put you back on the path toward financial stability and freedom! Remember – patience is a virtue and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This process takes time. As in all things consistency and a solid plan is the key to your success.
If you know your financial situation needs improvement and you’re ready to make a change, Chonce provides financial coaching for accountability, support, and guidance. You can apply for coaching here then book a free 15-minute call to learn more about the program and see if it’s right for you.
Do you have any of these financial habits? What’s one thing you’re focusing on changing for this year?
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