9 Dangerous Habits That Are Making Us Miss Out on a Whole Bunch of Money

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We all have bad habits.

We leave our laundry on the bathroom floor. We bite our nails. We swear a little too often. We hit the snooze button four times in a row.

But perhaps the most dangerous? Bad money habits.

Money habits can be difficult to break. Heck, sometimes they can be difficult to recognize just because they’re so ingrained in our day-to-day lives.

But now’s the time to pinpoint these dangerous financial habits — and break them — so you can stop missing out on a whole bunch of money.

1. You Keep Meaning to Invest, But You Never Do

We get it. There are a lot of things on that “I’ve been meaning to do this” list, but you never seem to get around to them. If investing is one of those things, that means you could be missing out on a ton of money.

And here’s the thing: You can actually invest like the 1% does, and all you need to get started is $500. A company called DiversyFund will invest your money in commercial real estate — specifically, in apartment complexes that it owns — and you only need $500.

Real estate can potentially earn you more money than the stock market. Over the long term, investing in the stock market will earn you an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to a number of studies. DiversyFund can’t guarantee how its investments will perform in the future — no one can — but historically, it has earned an annual return of 17% to 18%.

So stop thinking you don’t have enough money to do things like invest in real estate. All you need to get started is $500.

2. You Procrastinate One of The Most Important Money Moves You Should Ever Make

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Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by looking into a term life insurance policy.

We get it. Life insurance thing to procrastinate. You don’t have the time or money for that, right? But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.

Rates start at just $8 a month. The peace of mind of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

3. You Settle on Buying Smaller Stocks When You Could Own Part of Google or Amazon

Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company. 

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, you’re probably assuming this is totally out of reach. You’ll stick with your penny stock, right? Wrong.

A lot of people use the app Stash. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $1.

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google or Apple, for as little as $1.

The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends. 

It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account. 

4. You Ignore Your Credit Score

We get it. It’s so easy to dismiss your credit score. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway, right? Eventually it’ll take care of itself.

But as soon as you go to buy a home, take out a car loan or even open a credit card, you’ll immediately regret these assumptions.

The truth is, your credit score plays a large role in some of your biggest financial decisions, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult to get it on track, thanks to a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.* “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.

Getting your free credit score takes less than two minutes.

5. You Assume You Already Know Everything

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When it comes to handling your money, it’s important to continue learning. It sounds cheesy, but it’s all too easy to assume you already know everything you need to know.

Instead, push yourself to learn more about investing, saving and budgeting through websites, podcasts and books.

Here are a few of our recommendations (besides The penny Hoarder, of course):

  • “How to Money” podcast
  • “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey
  • “The Side Hustle Show” podcast
  • “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
  • “The Money Nerds Podcast”
  • “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Samuel

6. You’re Convinced You’re Already Getting the Best Deal on Home Insurance

Here’s another dangerous habit: Assuming you’re getting the best price on your monthly bills — like your home insurance. Or, worse yet, being too lazy to even check.

Sure, this isn’t something you actively think about — you just know you’re required to have it — but the problem is, you’re paying too much.

Luckily, an insurance company called Lemonade makes it easy to find out how much you’re overpaying.

Lemonade’s policies start at just $25 a month. And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. Lemonade will make sure you have what you need.

Just answer a few questions about your home to get started.

7. You Stick With the Same Car Insurer For More Than a Year at a Time

When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? Was it more than six months ago?

If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal, so it just might be time for you to cancel your current policy and find a new one — and you don’t have to wait for yours to expire.

But shopping around twice a year? We don’t want to do that either. 

A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $825 a year.

You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s license, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.

Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.

8. You Watch Videos Online — and Don’t Get Paid

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No matter who you are or what your budget looks like, it’s always nice to have some extra income.

Well, what if we told you a research company would pay you to watch cooking videos on your computer?

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone. It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos.

It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

9. You Assume Paying $5/Month for Cell Service Means You’ll Have Bad Reception

Many of us assume we’re just stuck paying $100-plus for cell phone service each month, but there are actually plenty of discount options out there — that really do work.

A discount wireless company called Tello offers plans starting at just $5 a month. How much are you paying now? Exactly. Imagine cutting that to just $5. 

Tello operates on Sprint’s nationwide network, offering 4G LTE data everywhere Sprint does. It lets you choose a wireless plan based on how many minutes and how much data you want, and you can even use Tello’s coverage tool to see how strong its network is where you live.

You can bring your own phone (Tello works with any Sprint-compatible phone), or buy a new one through them. Even better — there are no early termination or activation fees, no contracts or phone-exclusive plans, no tricks of any kind. 

If you decide you don’t like it, you can always just change your mind. See how much you could save here

Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

*Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.