Photo by Hillary Ryland via Flickr
For most of us, it takes a lot more than luck to build wealth and avoid debt. Being on a budget is easier said than done, especially when temptation lurks around every corner. Some budget busters are more or obvious than others, like grocery shopping while hungry, buying what you can get for free, or using retail as therapy for a larger issue.
But what about all those little-discussed things that continue to drain your pot of gold? In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, avoid being shamrocked by these bad habits and kick them for good!
Not Making the Call
Cable companies often set you up with their latest promotion after you call to gripe about a price hike. Comparing auto insurance policies every time you’re up for renewal is a good practice since rates can vary between providers. Despite these truths, many of us put off making the call or can’t be bothered to get a few quotes, resulting in lost money. Take a few minutes out of your day to cross these nagging tasks off your list!
Being Lazy About Purchases
Most of us are pretty good about comparing prices on big purchases — cars, homes, major appliances. But what about all those little items that end up draining our bank accounts? These days, you can find an app or website to help you compare prices on just about anything. Printer ink, for example, can usually run you $20 or $30, but a website called InkjetWilly.com shows you were you can buy ink for less than $10. Similarly, Kayak.com is well-known for saving travelers time and money on airfare by comparing prices and recommending purchase times.
Giving Into Pressure
The urgency associated with marketing messages can push even the strongest among us to make an unnecessary purchase. BOGO, 50-percent off and other tempting offers seem too good to pass up, but guess what? They always come back around. Same goes for the persuasive people in our lives who declare that dress was “so made for you!” or attending the out-of-town bachelorette party is a must. If you find yourself vulnerable to temptation, unsubscribe from those retail messages and tell pushy friends and family to ease up.
The sooner you learn more about investing, the more quickly you can put your knowledge to practice and build wealth. Similarly, the sooner you make a decision about attending your cousin’s wedding, the sooner you can find reasonable prices on airfare and accommodations. These examples are not random — I AM GUILTY OF AVOIDANCE. It’s easy to put off decisions because we don’t want to deal with them. Doing so, however, will cost us more in the long run.
Letting Ego or Pride Decide
When you’re on a budget, paying a premium for the sake of pride is a petty move. I’ve heard people claim to be “grossed out” by thrift shops or too overwhelmed by discount retailers. Others are afraid to admit where their purchases came from (hence the popularity of rebranding Target “Tar-jey”). Using coupons doesn’t make you cheap, either; it’s called being frugal and financially responsible. In essence, get over yourself and take advantage of deals and savings when you can.
Yes, it’s actually a term (though Webster has yet to recognize it). “Spaving” describes the practice of spending to save and is increasingly used by retailers in their advertisements. Just this week I received an email with the phrase “the more you spend, the more you save!” Um, no – the more you spend, the more you SPEND. Recognize these messages as the marketing ploys they are and don’t bite!
What spending habits do you struggle with? How do you deal?