Arvest Education Center

7 Money Habits to Curb Now

Whether it’s biting our fingernails, losing house keys or procrastinating, we all have bad habits we’d like to break. We often accept our bad habits without thinking about how they may be standing in the way of us living our lives as we want. Bad financial habits are equally damaging. When it comes to making the most of your money, consider curbing the following habits that may be taking a toll on your wallet.

  1. Ignoring bills
    Just because you don’t look at them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Mail has an unfortunate way of piling up quickly. Take a few minutes each day to sort through your papers to make sure you don’t miss bills or other important paperwork. Setting up automatic payments through your bank can make this process easier.
  2. Maxing out credit cards
    When used correctly, credit cards are an effective and useful tool in helping you make big purchases and build a solid credit history. The key is to pay off the balance each month. Be wary of spending up to your credit limit and just paying the minimum payment each month.
  3. Not contributing to your 401(k) plan
    Investing in your company's retirement plan is crucial to building a nest egg for the future. Start by talking to the HR person at your company and learning about your benefits. Then try to contribute as much as your company matches since it is essentially free money towards your personal savings.
  4. Spending Blindly
    It's important not to be oblivious to how much money you spend on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. All of those receipts for gas, snacks, soft drinks and restaurants add up very quickly if you are not aware of how much you are spending every day. You can use this calculator to create a budget for your daily expenses.
  5. Not having an emergency fund
    Whether your car breaks down, you chip a tooth while eating, or you get laid off from your job, unexpected events can strongly impact your finances. Save regularly for a rainy day so you will be covered if something unexpected happens.
  6. Living beyond your means
    Expensive temptations are everywhere. Learning to be financially disciplined is simply learning how to resist the urge to spend what you don’t have. Practice saving for a goal and purchasing the item once you have the money to pay for it with cash.
  7. Stop playing money mind games
    What we say to ourselves and to others about our finances can have a big impact on how we interact with money. Be aware of excuses and negative talk that may keep you from feeling confident about being able to manage your finances.

This content has been provided by Practical Money Skills and is intended to serve as a general guideline.