5 Bad Money Habits to Break Now 5 Bad Money Habits to Break Now Shares Most of us approach our finances with good intentions – we all want to be smart with our money! But, unfortunately, there are several seemingly innocent habits that many are guilty of. Here are 5 of the most common and why you should ditch them now. 1 Only Paying the Minimum Balance Sure, you don’t have to pay more than the minimum on your credit card, by why wouldn’t you? Not only are you unnecessarily accruing interest, but you’re hurting your credit score by consistently keeping your credit usage high. Kill 2 birds with one stone by getting into the habit of at least paying double the minimum (though ideally, you should only be charging things to your credit card that you can pay off in full at the end of the month). 2 Not Prioritizing High-Interest Debt When it comes to tackling debt, many people are overwhelmed by the number of debts they owe as opposed to the monetary amount of debt. So instead of evaluating their various debts and prioritizing high-interest debt, they opt to pay off a few smaller obligations first to cross them off their list. Everyone is different and some may need to pay off 1 or 2 small debts as a confidence booster, but beyond that, it is important to have a strategy when paying off debt. By not paying attention to your various interest rates, you could end up costing yourself a lot more in the long run and spend a longer time paying off all your debt. Make a smart repayment plan by looking at all your debts, the amounts owed, and their interest rates. When it comes to debt, thinking “big picture” is key. 3 Not Paying Yourself First For many, savings are an afterthought. Even though everyone claims they want to save, few make it a priority and think they can just wait and put whatever’s left at the end of the month into savings. However, this just means you’ll be more tempted to spend your money on other discretionary expenses, leaving little leftover to put into savings, if you even remember to put it into your savings account at all. Instead, decide on a predetermined portion of your paycheck you want to save, and transfer that amount into your savings account as soon as you get paid. This way, it’ll be out of sight before you even have a chance to miss it. 4 Opting for Overdraft Protection It may sound like a good idea, but it’s actually a way for banks to tempt you to spend more than you can actually afford – and then charge you a hefty fee for the privilege. What’s worse, is some banks don’t set a limit on how many overdraft charges you can accrue in a day, so it’s easy for a little carelessness to end up costing you a lot. You are better off skipping this option and, instead, carefully monitoring your account balance so that you do not overextend yourself. With smart phones and mobile banking, it’s easier than ever to keep track of your account balance, so there’s really no excuse to be spending more than what you have! 5 Thinking You’re Too Good to Budget Everyone should budget! Budgets aren’t just for people with lower incomes. Even very high income earners can run into the perils of poor money management, as we’ve seen with countless celebrities. Regardless of how much you make or how financially responsible you think you are, everyone can benefit from creating and sticking to a monthly budget. Without one, it’s impossible to get a clear picture of money coming in and money going out. Without a budget, it will also take you much longer to accomplish your financial goals. These days, it’s easier than ever to create and stick to a budget, with many online tools available such as Budget Jewel or Mint. Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.