Ways to Save Money

Are These Bad Money Habits Holding You Back? Here’s How to Break Them

January 12, 2016
by Dana Sitar
Staff Writer
money goals

It’s January, and we’re all setting our financial goals for the year. The holiday madness has passed, and you have time to reflect on your progress from last year.

As you’re looking ahead at what you want to achieve in earning, saving and buying this year, make sure you also take some time to note what you might have done better last year.

That is… pinpoint your bad habits.

If you’re having trouble naming them yourself, Business Insider created a list of 13 bad money habits you should break this year to build more wealth.

You may not be committing all of these financial sins, but if you look through the list, you’re bound to find one or two (or many) that are holding you back.

Break these bad habits in 2016 to give yourself a better chance of achieving your financial goals.

Using Out-of-Network ATMs

ATM fees continue to rise, so what may have been an insignificant number — $1 or $2 — when you formed this habit may now be eating a serious chunk of your money without you even noticing.

The average consumer pays $4.35 for an ATM withdrawal at an out-of-network ATM. With an average withdrawal around $118, that’s a fee of 3.6% for something you could be getting free.

If you frequently withdraw cash, consider the convenience of your bank’s ATMs. If you can’t find one near you, consider switching.

Or look into an online bank like Aspiration, which offers refunds all out-of-network ATM fees.

Not Tracking Your Spending

The pesky task of tracking your expenses seems like more trouble than it’s worth. But once you start doing it, you’ll realize how valuable it is.

In fact, you’ll be able to measure its value in actual dollars.

Tracking your spending will help you see areas where you’re spending more money than you realized.

Do you “treat yourself” to a new outfit more often than you were budgeting for? Spend just a little more than you planned on lunch — most days?

Those hidden expenses will add up, but tracking them holds you accountable and helps you stop them.

Treating Unexpected or Irregular Expenses as One-Time Costs

This one is going at the top of my bad-habits-to-break list: Not planning for unexpected or irregular expenses.

These include those big things no one can predict: medical emergencies, weather disasters to your home and sudden job loss, for example.

They also include irregular expenses you probably know will happen: vehicle registration, annual membership fees and holiday shopping. And those you don’t always see coming: late fees, wedding or baby shower gifts.

If you think you’re making progress on saving but don’t budget ahead for some unexpected costs, consider your savings much less valuable than you believe.

Settling for a Sub-Par Rate on Bills

Did you know you can haggle for better rates on your utility bills?

You can! Read our tips on haggling your bills here.

Saving $5 or $10 each on your cell phone, electricity, cable, water and other utility bills can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings each year.

That’s hundreds of dollars you can put towards achieving your 2016 financial goals!

For more tips and bad money habits to break this year, read the full article at Business Insider.

Your Turn: Which bad financial habits can you identify in yourself? How will you break them in 2016?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more

by Dana Sitar
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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