I will freely admit that I’ve never been particularly good at managing money. (Let’s just say that our financial situation improved dramatically once I figured out how to set up auto-pay!)
But over time, I eventually realized that being good with money isn’t a talent you’re born with. It’s actually a skill, and like any skill, it’s something you can get better at by practicing good habits. And the inverse is true as well—poor money management is usually the result of practicing bad habits!
And that brings us around to today’s post, where we’ll be exploring 7 bad habits that can cost you money, drain your budget, and undermine your efforts to save. By avoiding these 7 pitfalls, you can help ensure that you’re making the most of your hard-earned money.
7 Bad Habits That Are Costing You Money
1. Your Spending Isn’t Necessary
A lot of expenses are necessary, like paying your mortgage or buying groceries. It’s the expenses that aren’t necessary that you should be worried about. Things like buying bottled water, paying for a gym membership you never use, and getting parking tickets are good examples of unnecessary expenses that can cost you a lot of money over time.
For more examples of unnecessary expenses that are hurting your budget, check out this post.
2. Your Tires Aren’t Properly Inflated
The amount of air in your car’s tires can have a surprisingly big impact on your gas mileage! According to FuelEconomy.gov, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by over 3%, which will keep more money in your pocket!
Use a tire pressure gauge regularly to check the amount of air in your tires, and make sure it matches the tire pressure recommendations that are listed in your car’s manual.
3. You Don’t Keep Track Of Change
Getting change after paying with cash can be cumbersome, but you should resist the temptation to just leave it lying around. If you hang onto it, that change can add up over time and save you hundreds of dollars a year!
Pick a cup or container to use as a coin bank, and make sure that all of your loose change ends up there. Or you could take it a step further and get a coin bank that keeps track of how much you’ve saved, or a coin sorter that will sort and roll your coins for you!
4. You Throw Out Food
Food waste is not only an expensive habit, but it’s bad for the environment too. You can cut back on food waste in your home by only buying as much fresh produce as you can realistically consume. Make sure to keep track of expiration dates as well, so you can make a plan to eat your produce before it expires.
5. You Don’t Bother With Rebates
Many products come with mail-in rebate offers, which companies offer because few people take advantage of them. If you have a mail-in rebate offer, it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time to send it in.
There are also plenty of money-saving opportunities for those who prefer to shop online. Using a service like Ebates can be an easy way to earn cash back on your online purchases. For a much more thorough explanation of cash back shopping programs, check out this post.
6. You Only Buy Name Brands
Many of us are “brand loyalists” when we shop for groceries, but often there’s no particular reason for it. And since generic and store brand options are often quite a bit cheaper than the name brand stuff, it’s worth giving those a try to see how you like them!
If you try the generic version and can’t tell much of a difference, making the switch permanently can save you quite a bit over time. To find out which store brand products OGT readers swear by, check out the list here.
7. You Neglect Your Car
Skipping oil changes and other vehicle maintenance can save you a few dollars in the short term, but it can lead to costly repairs down the road. You’ll save yourself a lot of money in the long run by taking your car in for regular oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections.
What’s one good habit of yours that saves you money?