9 Worst Ways You’re Unknowingly Sabotaging Your Savings

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One way or another, we all sabotage ourselves. It’s the human condition.

We put obstacles in our own way. We make excuses to ourselves. We are our own worst enemies.

It’s the same with money. Ask yourself, Why don’t I have more money? It’s because we all let bad financial habits creep up on us. We undermine our own chances of financial success. We’re stealing from ourselves.

Here are 10 ways people sabotage their own finances, and what you can do instead.

1. Thinking You Don’t Have Enough Money to Invest in Real Estate

Take a look at some of the world’s wealthiest people. What do they have in common? Many invest in large private real estate deals. And here’s the thing: There’s no reason you can’t, too — for as little as $10.

A company called Fundrise lets you get started in the world of real estate by giving you access to a low-cost, diversified portfolio of private real estate. The best part? You don’t have to be the landlord. Fundrise does all the heavy lifting.

Fundrise’s Starter Portfolio has a minimum of only $10 and is geared toward first-time real estate investors. Your money will be invested in the company’s Flagship Fund, which already owns more than $250 million worth of real estate around the country, from apartment complexes to the red-hot housing rental market to larger last-mile e-commerce logistics centers.

Want to invest more? Fundrise offers a variety of account levels and features to fit every type of investor’s needs. Once invested, you can track your performance on Fundrise’s website and mobile app, and watch as properties are acquired, improved and operated. As tenants pay their rent, you could earn money through quarterly dividend payments, and over time, you could earn money off the potential appreciation of the property. Since 2014, Fundrise investors have earned roughly $100 million in dividends alone.

So if you want to get started in the world of real-estate investing, it takes just a few minutes to sign up and create an account with Fundrise.

*Past performance is not indicative of future results. The publicly filed offering circulars of the issuers sponsored by Rise Companies Corp., not all of which may be currently qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission, may be found at www.fundrise.com/oc.

2. Putting off Life Insurance (Policies Start at $16/Month)

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Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How will they 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.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. 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 $16 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. Assuming You’ll Never Be Able to Invest in Amazon or Google

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

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

That’s why 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. Telling Yourself Your Credit Score is Hopeless

Here’s one way that lots of us sabotage ourselves: By not keeping track of our credit score.

Your credit score is important because the higher your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, a car loan, a credit card, or even a deposit on a car rental or an apartment.

So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within 90 seconds, 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 90 seconds.

5. Not Using Up Your Entire Paycheck

No, we’re not talking about going to Whole Foods and buying out its fancy cheese supply. Instead, we’re talking about creating a zero-based budget, a budget that finds a place for your every dollar.

You’ll want to start by tracking a month of expenses. How much do you (or don’t you) have remaining? Then, consider your financial goals. Do you want to save money? Invest money? Pay off debt?

Work backward to cut your expenses until you can achieve that goal. It might take some patience, but it’ll pay off.

This is a smart, proactive way to make sure that you’re not hamstringing yourself by spending haphazardly.

 

6. Not Canceling Your Car Insurance

When was the last time you compared car insurance rates? Chances are you’re seriously overpaying with your current policy.

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

7. Not Growing Your Wealth by Learning From Others

We sabotage ourselves by letting bad financial habits creep into our lives and stick around, slowly and steadily draining our bank accounts.

One of the best ways to get your money in order? Learning from others! These could be the millionaires themselves, personal finance experts or real-life people who’ve had success. Search the internet for blogs and websites, listen to podcasts and read books.

Here are a few of our favorite resources (ahem, besides ourselves):

  • “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

8. Watching Videos Online — But Not Getting Paid For It

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If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. A website called 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.

InboxDollars won’t cover your full rent, but it’s an easy way to bank a little extra while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — so you can put the money directly toward rent. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started. You can cash out once you hit $30.

9. Not Cutting Your Cell Phone Service to as Little as $5/Month

Here’s a big way we all sabotage ourselves: We overpay.

Take your cell phone bill, for example. How long have you been with your current company? Probably a while, right? Which means you’re probably paying way too much.

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

Tello recently switched to a nationwide GSM network, which means improved 4G LTE/5G coverage, faster data speed and a more stable network. 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. More than 7,000 customers have given it an excellent rating on Trustpilot.

Plus, Tello is super flexible. It lets you choose the plan that makes sense for you. Plans are priced based on how much data and how many minutes you want. For example, a family of four can get 2GB of data each, plus unlimited talk and text for just $56 a month total. Free hotspot and unlimited texts are included in every plan. Plus, there are no early termination or activation fees, no contracts or phone-exclusive plans and no tricks of any kind.

It’s easy to get started and see how much you could save. Tello makes it simple to switch and even keep your phone number. No need to even leave the house — you can do everything online. You can bring your own GSM phone or buy a new one through them. See how much you could save.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He tries not to sabotage himself too much.

*For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

**You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. 

***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.