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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 March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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