Bad Habits that are Making you Broke
Ooohhh bad habits, don’t we ALL have them? And how impossible it seems to break away from them sometimes! Unfortunately, we tend to be the last ones to realize how we are hurting ourselves, our wallets and even our relationships. After all, habits are simply those things we do automatically, without giving them much thought. They are ingrained into our brains, branded into our days.
And we could all agree that some bad habits can be deadly.
But as important as stopping those deadly habits can be, I’d like to focus more on those that we consider normal, and non toxic. Here are some really bad habits that are making you broke:
Bad Habits that are Making you Broke
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Take out coffee
As shocking (not) as you might find this, one of the worst habits I have observed in others, is the sad romance with “take out coffee”. Whatever happened to a home made cup of joe?
What used to be a simple, may-be-bad-for-you-but-whatever habit, has turned into a giant money pit. I have been trying for years to understand the logic behind it, and all I can come up with is:
Coffee drinking habit meets social status meets “convenience”= wasting money
How else could I begin to explain kids in high school stopping for “coffee” before school? Or moms constantly posting a pic of their (insert your preferred take out coffee company name here) every single day? Truth is, I can’t really understand it.
If the reasoning (as weak as it is) is that they lack time to make themselves a cup at home, then why do I see those huge lines on those coffee shops’ drive thru? I can guarantee you it would take much less time to take care of it at home. (If you are interested to know, this is the coffee maker we have, and love. We use it every day!)
$5 per coffee per day x 5 times a week is $25 weekly, and $100 monthly.
Don’t you just hate it when your fridge is full of leftovers that eventually go to waste? Yeah, me too. And did you know that if you pack the leftovers for lunch instead, you will not only avoid the food waste but also save money?
Yep, that’s right.
Not a novel idea by any means, of course. Just not very popular, and definitely not a way to keep up with the Jonases. See, oftentimes we give in to the pressure from co-workers to go out to lunch. Some co-workers might go as far as to make fun of you for your sack lunch.
However, I can promise you that none of them will bend over backwards to help you make ends meet when money is tight. That’s just a fact.
Instead of bending to the social pressure of spending money on lunch, pack some of what you already have at home. It might not be as fancy and convenient. But it will save you money.
$10 for lunch daily x 5 times a week is $50 weekly, and $200 monthly.
Lack of a meal plan
I have said it many times, but I’ll say it again. If you want to save money, you have to meal plan. A meal plan takes the guesswork out of dinner time. It is a lot simpler to just check your meal planner in the morning and get the meat out of the freezer than it is to decide what to cook at 5 pm, when you are tired from work and your brain is fried.
I know the task of meal planning can seem a little bit daunting at first. The problem is that not having dinner pre-planned is a bad habit that will make you broke. But just like eating an elephant, if you take it a bite at time, it is much easier. To start, meal plan weekly. Take into consideration length of workday, activities, and what you already have on hand. Get comfortable with your weekly meal planning. And once you get the hang of it, decide if you want to make it a monthly task or not.
Meal planning is also the best (and probably only) antidote to the next bad habit that is making you broke.
Take out dinner
Raise your hands if you have rushed out the door to get fast food for dinner when you have no idea what to make. I wish I could see the show of hands. And I wish you could see that I raised my hand as well.
I get it. Truly, I do. You didn’t plan dinner, got off work late, and now the meat is not thawed out, let alone anything quick to cook. I know I have been there. More times than I can count.
When that happens, you make a quick run to a fast food so you can feed your family. Understandable. And costly. Not because you do it maybe once a week. But because it is so simple to get take out, that you fall into a habit. A very bad habit that is making you broke.
$30 for takeout for a family of 5 per day (I’m being modest, and also assuming that you go for the least expensive items on the menu) x 5 times a week is $150 weekly, and $600 monthly. On takeout.
Grocery shopping without a list
A well planned grocery trip is not only a fast one, but also a money saving one. If you are going to the grocery store to just get whatever strikes your fancy, then you will over spend. Not to mention, you will probably buy stuff you don’t even need.
Instead, keep an ongoing list of things you run out off. When is time to go grocery shopping, check the list, and then do a quick run thru of your refrigerator and pantry. Oh, and don’t forget to eat something before you go shopping 😉
No blow money in your budget
Want to treat yourself to take out coffee once a week? Or maybe go out to lunch with co-workers on Friday? Or maybe go blow some money on books at the bookstore? Well, you can. And you should.
Especially if you are bad with money, having a little bit of money to spend on whatever you want is a must. A tight budget can feel constrictive at times. Especially if you are a big spender just learning to stay on budget. By giving yourself a small stipend (within reason), you will have a chance to indulge, even if only a little.
No fun money in your budget
All Work and No Fun is the land where happiness dies. While staying on budget is mighty important, having a reasonable amount for fun budgeted in will be motivating. No one wants to just work to pay bills, right?
Not having at least a bit of money for fun is a bad habit that can make you broke. I know it sounds contradictory, but it really isn’t.
See, you will still want to go do fun stuff, even if it isn’t budgeted. That’s just the way it is. You will think, “oh, screw it, I want to go to the movies”. And so you drop $50 on movie tickets for the family. Plus an extra $20 for popcorn and beverages.
The bottom line is, when you budget for fun, you are giving yourself permission to spend that amount of money having fun. And since that’s the purpose of that money, no budget category will suffer.
Lack of a budget that works
Did you know that 60% of Americans live without a budget? I know. It’s scary. Unfortunately, even those who do have a budget, find it hard to stick to it. Or their budget is incomplete, and therefore, it doesn’t work.
A budget that works is the guide you need to manage your personal finances. And in order for that guide to be effective, it has to include everything, from your regular monthly bills, to your small expenses.
Needless to say, for your budget to work, it needs to be realistic. It has to have all the facts, including how much money you make. Otherwise, you will find that following your budget (or money guide) is just another bad habit that is making you broke. It’s almost as bad as not having a budget at all.
Bad Habits that Are Making You Broke
In case you didn’t catch that, by my own guesstimate (is that a word?), by changing some of the bad habits that are making you broke, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars every month.
Things is, since the money leaves your bank account on small increments, it’s hard to see the big picture. That’s why I wanted to put it out there. Think of all the things you could do with the money saved. You could save it. Or you could pay off debt, which in turn will free up some extra cash each month. Or if you are debt free, and have some savings, you could even enjoy some extra fun time.
When you stop spending your money feeding your bad habits, tons of possibilities open up for you. Truly, the sky is the limit when you make better use of your resources.
Now tell me, are you guilty of any of these bad habits that are making you broke? If so, which one? Can you think of other bad habits to add? Please, let us know in the comments below. Inquiring minds want to know!