Who doesn’t have bad habits? However, we should be discerning and quit bad habits that are detrimental to our physical and financial health. To determine to quit a bad habit, it definitely takes courage and persistence. Take for example smoking. When you decide to quit, it will not only help reduce your risk of contracting chronic lung diseases; it will also help to build your financial health. To quit or not to quit bad habits; it is your choice! Let’s look at the flowing bad financial habits and give some thoughts.
Credit Cards Abuse
The invention of credit card is to facilitate payment and cash withdrawal, both locally and overseas. However, it comes with a high price if you fail to pay in full each month. Unless you are able to pay the balances in full each month, using credit cards can become a woe; especially when it causes you to live above your means without feeling the pinch each time you swipe or tap your card as you shop. You could spend years of your life paying your credit card debts if you are not careful.
On the flip side, you can maximize the benefits of using credit cards; provided you ensure that full payment is made every month. For example, one credit card gives you 5% rebates for purchases made in your favorite supermarket, and another one gives you 5% rebates on your petrol pump at XYZ Company petrol stations. It makes sense to use these credit cards to save money on your purchases on necessities.
Always pay your credit card bill in full. Never allow the credit card balances to roll over to the next month. It is going to have multiplier effect in the long term without you realizing that you are creating a mountain of debts. You are making the banker rich! The bible said: ‘The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.’ (Proverbs 22:7)
Purchase on impulse is emotional. You see a 20% discount sign, you just cannot resist as you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get a good deal. You jump to buy it before you think rationally about whether you really need it or can really afford it. To curb impulse spending, force yourself to walk away from the scene straight away. By walking away, you give yourself time to think and ask yourself questions: (1) Do I really need the thing that is on sale? (2) How often do I see myself or my family using it? (3) Can I afford it?
Don’t make window shopping your past time. If you have nothing to buy, do not walk into a shopping mall. Very often, we end up buying something and feel regret later! I don’t know about you, but I do sometime regret buying things in bulk just because it is on sale. I failed to realize that I can’t finish using all of it before the expiry date. It is the result of buying on impulse. I learn from my mistake and stop buying things in bulk even though it is grossly discounted.
In addition to traditional “vices”- drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling (online and offline), eating out and shopping (include online) often – anything that tempts you to spend money you know you shouldn’t be spending- are what I called personal vices. As human, we are easily succumbed to temptation; especially we want to be accepted by the people we hang out with. But if you were to think seriously, can you still be accepted by your friends without these personal vices? If the answer is ‘no’, my advice to you is; ‘dropped’ these so called ‘friends’. Move on and hang around with friends who support your new healthy lifestyle. When you quit personal vices, your health improves, you save money; and you have more quality time for your love ones.
Don’t think that buying a dollar lottery each week is small amount which is negligible. Chances are that you will end up betting more than a dollar as you progress. When the prizes snowball to multi-million dollars, you place higher bet as you raise hope. Similarly, gambling in any other forms is a waste of hard earned money and time. Do you really want to throw away good money for bad returns? Think!
Love for Convenience
It is nice to have the convenience of purchasing fast cooked food. Every once in a while, convenience purchase is necessary; especially when you have important and urgent matter to attend. However, if you find yourself regularly making convenience purchases, you are being lazy and it is costing you. Stop buying fast cooked food daily and learn to make your own meals in bulk and freeze them for the week.
Stop buying from the convenience store in your neighborhood, shop around for similar products selling at a cheaper price. Stop buying pricey latte on the way to work every morning and get up 10 minutes earlier to make your own coffee and have breakfast at home. Pack healthy sandwiches the night before and chill in the refrigerator to bring to work the next day. By doing this a few times a week, you save money on lunching out. With a little extra effort on your part could wind up saving you lots of money over many years down the line.
Wasting is a bad habit. When my children were young, they are reminded to switch off the bathroom light when they finish showering; or when they have nothing to do in the kitchen. It works and this good habit stays with them. Do you have the bad habit of leaving the lights and fans on when nobody is in the living/bed rooms? Do you turn on your tap water and let it runs for a long time as you wash? It is wasting money! Your utility bill is definitely higher than a careful and thrifty neighbor.
Do you waste food by cooking more than you can eat? Do you throw away left over food which you cannot finish; or you put them in the refrigerated for the next meal? Do you buy in bulk and throw away things that have passed the expiry date because you forget about it? Do you throw away or recycle your stuff (plastic bags, old bathing towel, old newspaper, old paper cardboard, etc.)? By cutting wastage, you can save money; only if you bother to make an effort to do it.