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Last Updated on November 28, 2017

You’re Burning Your Hard Earned Money If You Do These 8 Things Often

You’re Burning Your Hard Earned Money If You Do These 8 Things Often

Saving money in today’s economy can sometimes feel impossible. Do you often find you earn an okay amount but don’t seem to have enough at the end of the month? Taking a good look at our spending habits and recognising how we use our money can go towards re-evaluating and cultivating a life where we only spend what’s necessary.

8 Daily Habits That Drain Your Money Unknowingly

What can you do to help stay mindful of what you spend your money on? It’s all about adopting habits to help you be aware of how you spend your money but these are common habits we have that drain our money more easily.

You Justify Buying the Cheap Stuff

We think we’re saving money if we opt for the cheaper options but in truth, quality lasts longer. Looking at more expensive options as an investment rather than an unnecessary expense is a better mindset to have but we seldom think like this because in the moment more expensive equals more money.

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Spending money on items that last rather than cheap ones that need replacing more often will save you money in the long run.

You Justify Buying Sale Items

We’re led to believe that buying stuff on sale is saving money. If you’re in a supermarket and what you intend to buy is on sale, then great. But we can get caught up thinking we’re getting a bargain when really we’d never have bought that item in the first place were it not on sale! So curb unnecessary purchases – don’t get sucked in to the sale items and justify buying them because you believe you’re saving money – you’re not.

Your Savings Account is Too Easy to Access

It’s so easy these days to with internet banking, to have easy access to our savings. While your good intentions are slowly piling up in your savings account, if it’s easy to get to, you can sometimes delve into it if you feel you’re down on your money.

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So find savings accounts that aren’t so accessible and can’t be linked to your current account. This will help you think twice about transferring that money if it’s not so easy to do.

You Don’t Wait 30 Days Before Big Purchases

This is a good trick if you’re more of an impulse buyer. Impulse buying can drain our money extremely quickly and we can be very good at justifying why we need an item. If it’s a big purchase then do this 30 day rule before going ahead with it. You’ll be surprised at how much your mind can change in this period and often you’ll realise you probably don’t need to buy it or, even better, find a cheaper alternative in the meantime.

You Don’t Set Realistic Goals

When we set the intention of saving money, we can get lots of big ideas on how to do this but most of the time, although it feels good and productive to set these big goals, you can’t realistically stick to them in the long term. This then begins demotivation. So for example, instead of setting the goal of not eating out in the next month, set a more manageable goal of letting yourself eat out once a week instead of your normal 2 or 3 times.

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You Don’t Write Lists of What You Need Before Shopping (and Stick to It)

This is similar to the impulse buying but more so when we’re food shopping. When you’re hungry, you will buy around 20% more food than if you went on a full stomach. Being purposefully mindful before you leave the house by making strict lists of what you need, will cut down more spending than you realise. Research recipes in advance and stick to only what you’ve written down. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t make the cut!

You Waste Time Finding Cheap Deals

The emphasis here is on time. We spend so much of our time researching in order to find the best deals and often in these moments the best deals actually pass us by or sell out. Think of time as money too – overthinking and overanalysing can waste you money despite thinking that you’re ultimately saving it.

You Don’t Carve Out Time to Declutter Your House

Decluttering your living space is one of the best things you can do to save money. Not only because you can sell many of your old items and actually make money, but also it transforms the space in your mind as well. Once you realise that you don’t need so many possessions to make you happy, it will shift your mindset and make you more aware of unnecessary spending in the future.

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Cultivating this mindset is what will save you the most money in the long-term and help you to re-evaluate what’s important to you. So adopt the mindfulness of spending your money to create a better way of saving it.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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