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9 Dumb Habits You Never Realized Make You Earn Less

9 Dumb Habits You Never Realized Make You Earn Less

We live in a capitalistic society; what that means is money is up for grabs for anyone with the ingenuity and perseverance to chase it. Jumping in a wind tunnel full of Ben Franklins and grabbing as much as you can is profitable, but you can’t do that for a living. Instead you have to plan and execute specific actions to ensure you remain financially solvent. If you want to spend your retirement years swimming in a vault full of coins like Scrooge McDuck, avoid these nine dumb habits that keep you from earning money.

1. Float Like a Social Butterfly.

Social media is a useful marketing tool, and every so often you need to connect with your followers. The problem comes when you spend all your time on social media. The likelihood of links posted in social media being clicked is dependent on how many followers you have. Expect a 1/1000 ratio (one person clicking a link for every thousand that view it) on average, and don’t waste all your time marketing on social media.

One of the easiest ways to avoid wasting time on social media is to avoid reading feeds. If you use Twitter to keep up with trending topics, make a list to ensure you’re only seeing the subsection of people you follow whose updates consistently keep you in the loop on topics you follow. Also, downloading a social media aggregator such as Hootsuite or RebelMouse will allow you to merge multiple social media accounts, so you can expand the reach of your message while minimizing time spent socializing. Now get back to working on something more important!

2. It’s Called a Lunch Hour for a Reason.

It’s OK to take breaks, and we have a great lifehack discussing the importance of them. If you work for a company, it’s mandatory they give you a break; if you work on your own, you need a lunch break to give you time away from working. An hour is usually a decent enough break, although 30-minute and two-hour lunches have their uses as well. The problem comes when your lunch takes up too much of your work day.

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You don’t want to eat a heavy meal that will make you lethargic, and as for heading to the movie theater every day at lunch: you’re triple-dipping into your resources, as you’re not being paid to work, spending money with no return, and wasting time that could be productive. If you’re going to take a long lunch, you need to make up the hours on the back-end, or you’ll never get ahead financially.

3. Waiting for the Right One.

Some people will turn down job offers because they’re waiting for the right one. This does have its advantages, but you can still be doing something to make money while you’re waiting. Instead of sitting by the phone, waiting for someone to call, try pursuing odd jobs, temp work, or selling art online.

You can also pick up freelance and temp work or get paid to blog as a guest expert. The internet is filled with ways to make money online. Make use of the time you’re waiting to make money by making money, or you’ll never make any money.

4. Me Fail English? Unpossible!

Communication is important; if not for communication, human beings would never have banded together to form society, invention, and the Internet. If you don’t know how to communicate what you want, you’ll never get it. It goes much deeper than just a grasp of the mechanics of English, though.

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The world is filled with people with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. It’s important to understand how to craft a message specific to your audience. Different words and phrases are taken different ways by people with different perceptions. Be sure to think carefully about the methods, words, and tone used when communicating for business. Otherwise you’ll come off as either overly wonky or out in left field. Either way, people will perceive you as incapable and won’t want to hire or pay you.

5. Motivated by Money.

It’s OK to be motivated by money, but it shouldn’t be the sole motivation driving you. In order to keep up with inflation, at the very least, you need a decent and consistent raise. We have several lifehacks discussing how to ask for a raise, and it all involves proving your worth before asking for more money. If the only reason you’re working is for money, it’ll show in your work. You may think you do enough, but there is always someone doing more, and they’ll get the hefty raise you wanted.

The same thing works for promotions; if a hiring manager has to choose between someone whose focus is on making more money vs someone whose focus is helping the company get ahead, it’s clear who will receive the promotion. We discuss other ways to get a promotion in this lifehack. By working on a career path you love, you’ll reach monetary bliss well before your financially-motivated foes.

6. The Early Bird Stole Your Worm.

I have a goal to see as many sunrises and sunsets as I can in my life. It’s OK to sleep in every so often, but according to the 11 sleep habits of successful people, waking up early (and consistently doing so) is the key to success. It may not be your personal key, but it is to someone; just because you’re sleeping in doesn’t mean everyone else is. If you sleep late, know you’ll have last pick of available jobs, gigs, and opportunities to make money.

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7. You Just Practice, Baby … Practice.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is being too scared to follow their dreams. You tell yourself there’s a risk, and the timing isn’t right, so you fall into neutral and treat your life as though it’s all just practice for some future event that never happens. Instead of looking into some unknown optimistic future, focus on the here and now. Treat your life like it’s always game day, and live like you’re never going to die. When you work hard enough, the money comes sooner or later (and loving what you do makes the wait easier).

8. I’ll Procrastinate Tomorrow.

Procrastination is the single biggest reason for loss of productivity. You may not want to do something right now, but you’re not going to want to do it later either. The time between now and then will be filled with stress and wasted thoughts about something you could already have done by now. Instead of putting things off, get to work!

I realize this is easier said than done, so we’ve prepared lifehacks to help you identify the types of procrastination, techniques to manage it, and ways to make procrastination productive for those inevitable times when you actually need to put things off. Combining these tools and techniques, you’ll be able to eliminate procrastination’s negative effects on your bank account.

9. You Quit While You’re Ahead.

Stop getting comfortable every time you get a paycheck – it’s the equivalent of stopping for gas at every gas station you pass while driving across the country. Payday Friday isn’t a day to run out and waste all your money on overpriced beer and appetizers (and yes I’m aware it’s “cheaper” during happy hour).

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Bonuses aren’t free money either – if you’re lucky enough to get an extra paycheck month, pay raise, bonus, etc, don’t overspend on your celebration, and don’t think now’s the time to sit back. Whoever gave you that money did so because they love what you do, and that love can fade quickly if you rest on your laurels. If you let your financial situation determine how hard you work, you’ll always be broke, because that’s the only time you’ll ever work hard.

Making money isn’t difficult; every year Forbes releases a list of people who make the majority of the money in the world. Instead of envying these people, pick up the pace. It’s a rat race out there, but if you navigate efficiently and run the maze fast enough, you can prove your worth by earning the money you think you deserve.

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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

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