Do You Need to Break Some Bad Habits?

 In Manage Money Wisely

For many of us, New Year’s resolutions symbolize achieving a new goal, but what about letting go of bad habits?

As a personal finance coach, most goals I hear surround money. Often people want me to tell them how they can fire their boss, make more money and live happily ever after. Many are stunned and for some reason frustrated, however, when I reveal that it’s not about their boss or how much money they are making. It’s about them, the money they are wasting and the bad habits that are holding their lives and personal finances hostage.

Check the list to see if you find any bad habits that may have kept you broke last year.

1. You are hopelessly insecure. Every time you make a decision, and in this case purchase, based on what you believe someone else will ‘think’ about you as opposed to what’s best for you and your situation, you make a decision to take one step closer into Brokedom. There will never be a way for you to achieve your financial goals if you continue to care what others think about you. Once you learn to stop giving a damn about what other people think about what you drive, where you live or what kind of purse you’re rocking, you may actually have a chance to build some wealth!

2. You talk too much. Why do you need a $100 unlimited usage cell phone plan if you work for someone else 8 to 10 hours out of the day? Between an average work schedule and free nights and weekends, that leaves you with maybe 4 hours a day to talk on the phone. Do you seriously spend that entire time talking? . . . If you are talking that much and it’s not because you’re self-employed, then quite frankly you talk too much and more than likely nothing you’re talking about is truly adding to your life or your savings account; it is, however, definitely depleting both.

By switching your cellular plan to something more sensible, you can potentially save $30 per month which equates to $360 per year. Using the time you spend chatting more purposely, efficiently and wisely? Priceless!

3. You procrastinate. You always have a reason that you are waiting to do something.  Women are always waiting until they get married or until their kids reach a certain age to make strides in their goals. You are waiting to start a college fund and waiting to open a Roth IRA.  While you wait for this or that, the world just keeps spinning and folks who don’t even have as much talent as you do are spinning big successful circles around you!  As a friend of mine blogged recently, “Procrastination is failure in slow motion.” 

4. You smoke (fill in the blank.) Smoking anything is a bad habit in general, but if you’re broke this is one vice you literally cannot afford to have. I left what you’re smoking blank because I originally wanted to say cigarettes which are definitely a major vice for more than just financial reasons, but then I thought of all of my potential readers and the probability that some of you are engaging in additional “extracurricular” activities that may also include an inhale and exhale motion, as well. Nevertheless, let’s just break down cigarettes:

The average smoker blows through one pack of cigarettes at a cost ranging from about $4.50 to $5.00. Using the lower number of $4.50, we’re talking $31.50 per week which quickly becomes $1638 per year. The shocking part is that I have clients who smoke two packs a day, but swear they can’t find money in their budgets to save!

Not only is that $1638 or more per year just from buying the actual cigarettes, smokers pay more for every type of insurance imaginable. From health to life insurance, smokers can expect to pay an additional 20% or more. In addition, smokers can typically expect to lose money when even attempting to sell a car or even home. Ouch!

5. You refuse to cook. This is my favorite because it’s so easy to review a client’s bank statement and find that most people who come to me with financial uncertainties, will eat out somewhere between 3 to 5 times per week and that’s just for dinner! If you add in going to get lunch, we’re talking an average 9 meals a week outside of the home. Are you nuts?!? If you spend an average of $10 per meal, that’s $90 a week. Still not phased? Okay, that figure breaks down to $4680 per year! (Sidebar: If your meals are less than $10, you are probably eating out of drive thru windows which will cost you your health and become even more expensive in the long run. As a tip, a friend of mine always says, “If it’s got a drive thru, drive pass!”)

Back to the money: What could you do with $4680 this year? Launch a home-based business? Take your family on a vacation? Save for your child to attend college? Plan for your own retirement? . . . What opportunities would be at your fingertips, if you just stopped eating out as much?

It’s time for us to stop making excuses about why we’re not saving money.  If we really examine our 2013 bank statements, we can all identify the bad habits that kept us from growing our money. Make 2014 the year that you break the bad habits that are keeping you broke!  When you take a step to save in one area, other things will suddenly begin to fall into place.  It all starts with you!

That’s our Q to your A!   Tell us what  you think in the comments below.
What habits do you know you have to get rid of this year to get your finances in order?
What have you already stopped doing that has saved you or your family money? 
Patrice C. Washington

Patrice C. Washington

Known online as the Wisdom & Wealth Money Maven, Patrice C. Washington is author of the personal finance series, Real Money Answers, as well as creator of The Mindset + Money Master Class, a step-by-step formula to help you create the money mindset and skill set necessary for lasting personal finance success.
Patrice C. Washington
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  • Bettina Jones

    Add stop buying clothes and start shopping at thrift stores!

    • Patrice Cunningham Washington

      Good one, Bettina. Stop buying clothes full-price. . . I love consignment store shopping for my little one. I just swap out her gently worn clothing all the time and rarely have to pay more to get her new outfits. 😉

  • Monique Dawson

    I like your article do you need to break some bad habits. Boost Mobile along with some other companies offer some great cell phone plans without a contract at a reasonable rate. With UNLIMITED talk, text and web plus shrinkage. The saying procrastination is failure in slow motion is so true, it needs to be taped to my wall as a reminder not to do it.

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