Habits, we all have them. Some are good and some are nasty little devils that sit on our shoulders. There are habits we are perpetually trying to change, and so much so, we even make New Year’s Resolutions. We try to get into the habit of exercising more, eating healthier, stop biting our nails, twirling our hair, slumping our shoulders from stress, on and on it goes.
What about our habits when it comes to money?
Some of our nasty little financial habits can be as bad as having a little red devil on our shoulder whispering evil little nothings into our ear. Little nothings like go ahead and buy it, you deserve it or the infamous phrase – you only live once. Sure, you only live once but would you like to be drowning for that entire lifetime?
Truth or Dare: What are your nasty little financial habits?
Like most PF bloggers, I started blogging for financial reasons. Duh! My reasons were purely debt-ridden ones; I was tired of constantly paying someone else instead of myself and living paycheck to paycheck. I still have my battles but I take them on one at a time.
A dose of truth about Budget Bloggess – 13 nasty little habits that got me trapped into a debt box:
- Buying new cars instead of used – I have only had two used cars in my life, my first and second. Ever since, I have had new cars.
- Nickel and Diming my money away – I chiefly did this through Booze and Lottery tickets – I work hard for my paycheck but like most human beings, I’m delusional and think that one day I may escape it all and win the lottery. Even though my odds are about 1 in 14 million, I still do it on occasion. Between booze and lotto, if I had a grand total of the money I’ve wasted over the years, I’m sure I’d want to whack myself with a shovel.
- Impatience – never being able to wait to save for something, the “I want, I want” always outweighed my better judgement. Having patience and saving for something makes you appreciate it more.
- Paying regular price– far too often in my life, because of impatience, I quite often paid regular price for purchases. Go figure, I’m in sales and never took the time to negotiate!
- Impulse – right up there with impatience, I always had a nasty little habit of buying on impulse. Once I get an idea to buy something or go on a trip, it’s acted upon almost immediately. Combine impulse with a few glasses of wine and I can easily have a $5000 Christmas trip to New York booked before you can sing the 12 days of Christmas.
- Never setting limitations – sure, reward yourself for an important milestone, just remember when to stop and not spend all your savings!
- Not learning properly about money – my how the tables have turned! Now I read every book and article I can get my hands on.
- Not following financial advice from my father – This has to be the nastiest habit I can’t escape. I’ve followed some of his advice, such as investing in an RRSP from 16 years of age but not when it came to spending. My father is the epitome of frugality; he was able to retire at 45 and is living on a Hawaiian island for 6 months of the winter season. Who’s laughing now? Not me.
- Never saying NO – I could never say no, ever. In my INFJ quest to please people, I have rarely said NO to things. This equated to paying for friends meals etc., buying lavish gifts for friends and family and always using my car to drive everyone everywhere.
- Not having a budget! Up until three years ago, I never had an idea of where my money was going, all I knew was I had debt. Once I took the time to do a budget, I was shocked and had a new challenge to fix things.
- Borrowing money from my parents – this is a super icky no no. Every parent wants to help his or her kid, right? Well, sometimes that’s bad. If you help them once, they will think you’ll do it again. My parents did exactly that, even though I vehemently begged them not to bail me out again after my divorce. They did and I wracked debt back up again like a stupid child that learned nothing. Learn something – make it so you never have to borrow from anyone.
- Letting one setback derail the whole thing – you have one big stupid purchase, then you make another one, and another. You’re straight back to square one. Don’t ever do this. I’ve done it several times and let me tell you, it ain’t fun digging back out.
- Not setting good priorities – putting a lavish lifestyle with designer clothes, food and wine ahead of more important life goals gets you snarky comments at work like: “Yea, I could afford a nice car too if I didn’t have a house.” Now you know why I don’t have a house, I chose a car instead. Choose wisely.
How do you change and drop those nasty habits?
One step and one habit at a time. Don’t change everything all at once! You’ll end up failing and never wanting to try again, which is just silly, but hey, it happens.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Coming from a perfectionist like me, this is easier said than done. Accept your failures but be determined and persistent in your ability to change.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. ~ Winston Churchill
Do things slowly. Like booze and lotto tickets? Slowly wean yourself off by cutting your budget each month. What I did: Downgrade from the expensive wine to the cheaper $10 bottles, then cut it off altogether.
Do you like challenges? Set financial goals for yourself to make it fun and rewarding. Be sure to make them realistic and reachable, if not, you’ll feel defeated and deflated.
Don’t do something in a way that you know you’ll be bound to fail. What do I mean? If you’re a computer person, do your budgeting online or on your computer. If you’re a more hands on, pen and paper type, do it that way. If it’s a rewarding experience, you’ll be apt to consistently do it.
Your turn: Truth or Dare: What are your nasty little financial habits?
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Viktor E. Frankl
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. ~ Leo Tolstoy