(BPT) - There's a good chance you may have a habit or two when it comes to money that is not doing your financial future any favors. The good news is you're not alone, and there are ways to break those habits and create better financial health for you and/or your family.
According to a recent survey from OnePoll and National Debt Relief, LLC, over 60% of people in the U.S. claim to make poor decisions when it comes to money and 42% of people admit to having current financial struggles. That may be in part because most people either have information that they aren't using in their day-to-day lives, or like over 20% of respondents, they need more information to help them learn better habits.
Natalia Brown, chief client operations officer from National Debt Relief, has broken down the top 5 most common bad money habits and offered actionable tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.
1. Writing off small purchases as insignificant
While spending money on things like takeout or app subscriptions may seem minor, these purchases add up over time. Your coffee may only cost $4.99, but as a daily habit, it can become costly. If you add up these seemingly insignificant costs over a month or two you'll get a clear picture of how much you're spending. Additionally, while BOGO promotions may be appealing, if you don't need the second item, don't spend the extra money.
While you may not be a high-stakes poker player or spend hours at casinos, a regular lottery ticket habit can mean you're throwing away your hard-earned money. Instead, try saving any money you might put into gambling and investing it into a higher interest savings account, which will add up quicker than you expect, especially if you keep adding to it.
3. Using credit cards to pay bills
Paying bills with a credit card can work well if you're paying your balance off in full each month. But, if you're not paying your balance off in full each month, you may want to reconsider. The interest you'll end up paying on the card will make your bills much more expensive. For example, if your credit card interest rate is around 20% and you have a $5,000 balance, it could take you around 11 years to pay this off with minimum payments. Plus, your total payments will end up being around $8,417.
To avoid getting into this situation, try listing out your regular expenses, categorizing which ones are absolute necessities (like rent, utilities and food) and which are not (like entertainment and eating out). Then total your must-pay bills and compare that amount to what you're earning and cut anything that's not a necessity that you've been relying on credit cards to keep up with.
4. Taking out payday loans
Beware of payday loans. These short-term loans often have high interest rates and may cost you a lot of money. Other options you can consider before taking out a payday loan may be finding ways to earn extra income like driving for a ride sharing company or getting some part-time work, or saving money through strict budgeting and getting rid of those non-essentials (see above for more on that).
5. Spending more than you earn
Start by listing out all your expenses and your income. This can help you get a better picture of where, and how much, you need to cut down. Minimize unnecessary expenses and look for creative ways to boost your income. People are always looking for help with tasks like cleaning, organizing or creative work. If you have any special talents, see if you can monetize any of them.
"Managing money can be tough, and we all make mistakes," said Brown. "There's a lot of guilt and shame associated with being in debt or having money struggles. It's important to know that you’re not alone and there are steps you can take to create a better financial future for yourself or your family. At National Debt Relief, we understand the importance of not just helping people with their immediate debt situations, but also giving them the tools, skills and guidance they need to feel more confident and in control of their finances."
Need to break bad financial habits? National Debt Relief can help you resolve your debt more quickly and for less money than you owe. Their team will also help you learn skills like budgeting, how to save money, and how to live within your means so you can improve your financial health and feel confident about your future.
If you're ready to fix your bad money habits and create long-term financial security, visit NationalDebtRelief.com or call 800-674-0907.