By Elisa Alston.
Whether it’s over-spending, under-saving or simply ignoring your budget completely, we all have that one toxic money habit we need to quit. But why do we wait until January to do it?
Cold, tired and more than a little worse for wear after all the office parties, family gatherings and New Year countdowns – January is not the time to try and take control of your finances!
Christmas is the most expensive time of year. It’s also the perfect opportunity to step back, take a long, hard look at your spending habits and think about making some new ones. Setting a budget (and sticking to it) is absolutely crucial, and it might just save you from a serious financial headache in the New Year…
Here are the five most toxic money habits you need to quit if you want to prevent January’s financial hangover:
1. Pretending you don’t have toxic money habits
We all do it. Burying your head in the sand may work in the short term, but it’s a one-way ticket to financial disaster.
Good news: this is the easiest bad habit to banish! Set aside just 10 minutes a day to look at your budget and savings goals, and we promise you’ll thank yourself (and us!) in years to come.
Over time, little things become big things – and $3 a day can quickly become hundreds of dollars a year. Unfortunately, even the little things cost more than we think.
Record absolutely everything, and do it as you go! It’s no good trying to remember what you spent at the grocery store two months ago. If you can keep the receipts, even better.
3. Giving in to temptation
The human mind is a powerful thing! We’re all very good at convincing ourselves we ‘need’ the latest gadget, or that the new moisturizer on offer really is going to make us look ten years younger…
Put simply, if you have to put it on your credit card – or it takes you into your overdraft – you can’t afford it. Not sure when it’s ok to spend? We have the solution!
4. Keeping up with the Kardashians
Whether it’s admiring a friend’s iPhone 7 or the strangers on Instagram who seem to split their time between yoga classes and remote, white-sand covered beaches, we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others.
Get off Instagram and spend that time setting a budget that works for you. If your savings goals aren’t realistic (and don’t motivate you to save), you simply won’t stick to them.
5. Not saving for a rainy day
We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but rain is inevitable. Whether it’s an economic downturn or an unforeseen medical expense, life can throw unexpected things our way and it’s always better to be prepared.
Factor an extra 5-10% into your savings at the start of the month (so if you were planning to save 10%, put in 15%). If the sunshine continues, treat yourself to that double shot, extra hot, skinny caramel latte you’ve been craving!
What’s your most toxic money habit?