16 Bad Money Habits You Need to Break

One thing on all of our minds lately is how to save money and live the kind of life we want. If you want to be financially successful you have to get rid of the bad habits that are keeping you back. 

Don’t let bad money habits keep you from getting ahead. 

If you have any of these 16 bad money habits, you need to get rid of them ASAP. 

16 Bad Money Habits to Break Now

1. Impulse Buying

Going to the grocery store without a list is a recipe for disaster. Impulse buying happens when we don’t have a clear view of what we want or need, so we get whatever strikes us at the moment. Unfortunately, that cart full of quick snacks won’t last long and we’ll be forced to do the walk of shame back to our supermarket for actual food.

2. Not Budgeting or Tracking Expenses

In line with the first statement. Lists are your best friend when trying to save money. Lists for what food you need, what bills you have to pay, any debts you owe, and how much to add to your savings account. When looking into your bills and normal expenses you might also find ways to cut costs or even switch where you shop. 

3. Ignoring Debts and Not Paying Them on Time

We get it, staring at the letters coming in the mail can be very overwhelming. But debt doesn’t go away, in fact, it can grow to much more than you ever owed, to begin with. If you can’t make the monthly payment you can always call and see if you can have it lowered. Or, if you have the money, see if you can save some by paying it off in full!

4. Relying on Credit Cards Excessively

Early 2000s Tv really convinced us that multiple credit cards were the way to go. While we love slapping down our platinum card on the department store counter, it really is a bad money habit that puts us into credit card debt. Credit cards require us to pay back more than what we spent, and can get overwhelming when we are maxing out multiple at one time. Not to mention the havoc late payments and overutilization has on your credit score.

5. Spending Beyond One’s Means

Social media has many of us thinking we need to stay up-to-date on trends and attend multiple events, spending beyond our means. Meaning, becoming used to a lifestyle that we simply don’t make enough to support. Don’t get us wrong, treat yourself to a designer dress, or overpriced macchiato every once in a while, but be truthful to yourself on what you can afford often. 

6. Not Saving for Emergencies

While emergencies don’t happen often (knock on wood) they can cost us a pretty penny. Most Americans can simply not afford unexpected expenses. If you aren’t saving for the worst case then when it happens you will find yourself unable to fix it. If it’s something you simply need, like let’s say a new AC in the summer, then you also might find yourself signing up for a 5-year payment plan. Emergency funds save us money in the long run.

7. Neglecting Retirement Savings

Retirement is a long way off for a lot of us, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about it now. The sooner you start saving towards retirement, the more money you will have. Most retirement savings plans rely on compound growth, adding to your savings every year you have your account open before needing to use it. That means that even if you can only add a small amount as a young adult, what really matters is keeping money in there for as long as possible.

8. Frequent Dining Out or Ordering Takeout

This is on every list of bad money habits because it is so true. When it comes to our pocketbooks, we think we’ll stick with homecooked food. Fast food has grown in price over the past few years, and sit-down restaurants require leaving tips. Don’t even get us started on the delivery fee, restaurant fee, plus tip that makes our $30 dollar Uber Eats order double in price.

9. Buying Expensive Coffee or Drinks Regularly

Remember what we said about living outside our means? You might not notice it in the short term but our daily coffees add up to a pretty penny. Don’t worry, we aren’t here to convince you that omitting your pre-work Starbucks will mean you can suddenly buy a house. But a penny saved is a penny saved, and relatively small purchases can add up when done every day. 

10. Not Negotiating for Better Deals or Discounts

Now we’re not recommending you haggle at your local grocery store. However, many places can actually give you a deal if you know how to ask. If you are great at paying back your credit cards you can ask for a lower interest rate. Your internet service provider might be inclined to offer a discount if you mention loyalty but that you found a better deal elsewhere. Big purchases such as cars can be haggled. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by simply asking if there are any specials at the moment.

11. Not Reviewing Bank Statements and Bills

Our card is something we use and then tend to forget about. We might look at a snapshot of how much we have left but how many of us actually open up and scroll through our purchases? Regularly checking your bank statements might reveal unused subscriptions still taking $15 a month from you. At worse, you might catch a few purchases you didn’t make. Keep an eye to avoid disappearing money.

12. Borrowing Money From Friends or Family Without Repayment Plans

All of us have been there, and it’s great to have friends and family that can help us out sometimes. This is a money-saving tip and a good personal tip. Make a plan to repay your debt, either in full or in payments. This will keep your relationship on good terms and avoids your friend asking for their money back when you’re in another tight spot.

13. Falling For Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

The internet is many things, and a pit of fake jobs and pyramid schemes is one of them. A simple way to avoid these kinds of postings is to see if they require YOU to spend money first. No real job will have you pay them for a starter pack or for training. Unfortunately, making money is more about hard work and diligent saving.

14. Using Payday Loans or High-Interest Loans

The thought of $2,000 in your pocket with an almost 100% approval rating is enticing, but these types of loans carry insanely high interest. If you take a look at what you have to pay back and for how long, that $2,000 to you could easily mean paying $4,000 to them. If you don’t absolutely need that money, it’s best to just save it up yourself. If you already have one of these loans, see if you can get a deal by paying it off in full early.

15: Not Putting Money in Personal Savings

We won’t ever truly have financial freedom if we never build savings. Most of our bank accounts come with a savings account attached to them and it’s something you should be using. With every paycheck, put some away. If you are the type to forget then you can even set up an automatic transfer so you don’t even need to worry as you move closer and closer to financial freedom. 

16. Avoiding Financial Education and Knowledge-Building

The way we spend and save is always changing and there are many types of accounts, loans, and money-building tips. Strive to continue building your financial literacy so you don’t get taken advantage of. Break bad money habits by staying up to date on your spending and on your future goals.  


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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.