The first step is admitting you have a problem
So admit it, we’ve all had a time when we spent money for no good reason. I myself have a love of sunglasses - anytime I see a sweet pair of shades, I can not resist. Now I have a dozen pair of sunglasses, some of which I have never worn. In addition to the sunglasses, for some reason I buy anything that would possibly look even remotely cool in my apartment, this summer especially.
The next step is to seek help
So in an attempt to refrain from seeking clinical assistance I thought I would look around the Inter-Webs to see what I could find. And who would have thought that the Internet was good for more than videos about cats and “Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday”? So for those of us who want to get rid of those dumb spending habits, here are some good tips.
Kick Your Bad Money Habits
Breaking a bad habit is often as successful as taming a Nile crocodile. You may think you have it under control, but then – SNAP – the jaws tighten and you’re stuck.
So if you have a few nasty money habits you want to kick, try a few of our tricks and give yourself some time.
Aim for a goal. Articulate your goals, figure out how to achieve them and break each into smaller steps. Once you have a set destination and know how to get there, it becomes easier to stay focused.
Pay yourself first. Whether you’re saving for retirement, an emergency fund or a dream vacation, put aside money for that goal first. Use automatic transfers and direct deposit to make saving effortless. (Online Banking makes automatic transfers a cinch!)
Keep saved money separate from spending money. Live off of the money in your spending account and forget your saved funds. You may want to establish separate accounts for long- and short-term goals as well. This way you won’t overspend on a vacation that shortchanges your college fund.
Pay more than the minimum. With credit cards, the minimum payment may hardly make a dent in your overall balance. To dig yourself out of debt more quickly, funnel as much as you can toward the account and leave your credit cards at home so you aren’t tempted to use them. Once you’ve discharged the debt, only use credit cards for true emergencies or pay off the balance each month.
Use found money wisely. First put a portion of unexpected income, such as birthday money, a bonus or tax refund, toward your financial goals. Then you can use the remainder however you want.
Get the highest rate for your savings. Although you may want to have a big cushion for emergencies, what you really want is for that money to work harder. Set aside a reasonable amount that you can’t afford to lose in a safe account, such as a money market account. Then find suitable higher-yield options for the bulk of your savings.
Avoid unnecessary fees. Anytime you pay a penalty fee you are actually paying someone else for nothing. To avoid late fees, log every due date on one calendar – from bills to rented movies – and refer to it daily. Also, make a point to use only our ATMs rather than paying a foreign ATM fee. (Remember, RT4T account holders can use MIDFLORIDA ATMs and Publix Presto! ATMs for free.)
Reward yourself. You don’t want to sacrifice so much to achieve your goals that you feel deprived. Leave a little room in your budget for small treats. And as you reach benchmarks toward your goals, give yourself a little bonus. But your reward shouldn’t sabotage your efforts. For example, if you just paid off a credit card balance, splurging on an expensive pair of shoes that puts you right back into debt doesn’t make sense. Instead, rent your favorite movie and have your friends over.
We have come so far
Good luck everybody with the saving. I know saving during the summer can be an impossible mission, or should I say Mission Impossible? But, if you follow the tips above, I’m sure you can keep that money in your pocket.