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10 Habits That You Don’t Realize Are Costing You

10 Habits That You Don’t Realize Are Costing You

You may not realize it, but some things you do habitually can make you lose money. Let’s see what those costing habits are and how we can reverse them.

1. You are a chronic complainer

If you always see the bad side, then you might not see the opportunities around you. When you miss opportunities, you inevitably lose money.

For example, if you are too busy complaining to yourself about how your co-worker sucks, you might not think that you would be a great fit for that new project that just came out. Yes, the one that would boost your resume and possibly lead to a promotion. Opportunity lost.

2. You don’t exercise

Here’s a weird benefit of exercise: people who exercise at least three times a week make 9% more than their non-exerciser coworkers.

Not already exercising? Keep your chin up. A habit-making program like Exercise Bliss could start forming you into a regular exerciser starting next Monday.

3. You think you would never spend this much money, and then spend it

My friend and NYT best-selling author Ramit Sethi likes making fun of people who think they will never spend, e.g. $30,000 on a wedding. But when time comes, and it’s their turn to get married, they spend it.

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I’m not criticizing spending money on your wedding here. I’m just saying that had you accounted for the “having a big wedding” scenario, you might have saved more in the past, and hence not need to get into credit card debt.

4. You don’t negotiate

From negotiating the price of your car, to negotiating your salary, you have a lot of potential to save thousands of dollars. Yet beware, negotiating is not something most people are skilled at. I recommend buying books and then spending 1000x more time actually practicing the books’ teachings with a friend.

That’s how you’ll walk into a negotiation with confidence and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.

5. You think short-term vs. long-term

We often don’t really take into account the effect of our actions in the long run. For example, you not negotiating a $5k increase in salary does not just cost you $5k this yea, but maybe next year as well.

In your next job interview, the employer will try to pay you according to your past salary. Your negotiating position will start from $5k less than what it could have.

And that just compounds as years go by. Thousands of dollars lost, because of an innocent, missed $5k negotiation.

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6. You think “I can’t do it” instead of “How can I do it?”

You can make more money at your current job. You can negotiate more, or improve your skills and then ask for a raise.

Or, you could make more money on the side. Or, you can start your own business.

The options are infinite. The more you’re stuck on “can’t”, the more you’ll be losing money that you could have earned had you not had this bad “can’t” habit.

Start with Appsumo’s Make your first dollar, and you might be surprised with the results.

7. You avoid saying “no”

Your sister asks you for money. She never gives the money back, but you still just can’t say “no.”

You keep lending money, or buying dinner for your friends, just because saying “no” is easier than paying. I’m not saying that “no” should come easy. But I am proposing to be conscious about why you do what you do.

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Regardless of whether you are a guy or a girl, I definitely recommend the book Lucky Bitch by Denise Thomas. Those unconscious patterns will rise to the surface right away!

8. You confuse your account balance with your self-worth

The balance on your account is just a number. Yet, we tend to be emotional with that number. When this balance is not up to our standards, we may feel shame and self-pity.

That’s exactly what overweight–or even thin–people feel when on the scale. The number on the scale feels like it describes their self-worth, when it doesn’t!

The result of this confusion is that you might be afraid to even open up those new bills. Or, you might avoid dealing with your debt because it’s just way too scary to do so.

But the good news is that it’s just a number–it doesn’t have anything to do with who you are.

9. You don’t take your emotions into account when paying off debt

Not knowing how to pay off your debt can hold you back and make you pay it off more slowly. Man vs. Debt advises: start with the debt that you most want to get rid of.

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Not the debt that costs you the most, the debt that you really want to cross of your list. Why? Because your emotions matter. Because if paying off your debt doesn’t give a feeling of relief, then you’re just not going to be as good at it.

10. You buy stuff without understanding why

In Money: A Love Story author Kate Northrup urges us to understand what made us make each purchase. First, we look at our credit card statement. Were our purchases good ones, or are there any purchases that we would have been better off without?

Once we complete this step, we move on to step two. How did we feel when we made each purchase?

If you actually do this step, you might find out that the purchases you made while feeling bad, needy, or lacking, are not the ones you are proud of.

Next time you are about to buy something that you MUST have, ask yourself: “Why do you really want this?” Are you, e.g., buying a coat because you actually need it, or are you buying a coat in the hope that your new friends will like you better?

Now it’s your turn to let me know: Do you have any of the above costing habits? If yes, what will you do to reduce it, or even better, get rid of it?

More by this author

Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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