If you always seem to run out of money before you run out of month, it may be your own habits that are to blame for your financial shortfall. Surprisingly, the things that you do or do not do can cause you to sabotage your budget and end up broke before the next paycheck comes.
1. Not using coupons
Whether you realize it, failing to take advantage of the savings that coupons give you can sabotage your budget. Even if you are only saving 40 cents on an item, those cents will add up over time. If you keep your eyes open, you can even score larger coupons that provide substantial savings on big ticket items.
2. Eating out
When you are pressed for time, eating out seems to be a life saver. In reality, it is a budget buster. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional meal out, doing so on a regular basis can quickly drain your finances until you find yourself falling short of cash when it is time to pay the bills.
3. Overusing utilities
When you lived at home, your parents probably nagged you to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and to stop leaving the television running when you were not watching it. If you did not listen then, listen now. Cut down on your shower time, lower the thermostat and unplug any appliances that are not in use. You will save big bucks a little at a time.
4. Buying name brand medication
If you are buying brand name medication when you have your prescriptions filled, you are wasting money. Most medications come in generic form, offering substantial savings over the price of brand name formulas.
5. Paying banking fees
With banks competing with one another, there is no reason to pay a monthly service fee for a checking account. Stop in your bank and ask what the requirements are for a fee-free checking account.
It may involve making a certain number of direct deposits per month or maintaining a minimum balance. Do so and save yourself those annoying bank fees that add up to drain your budget.
6. Carrying a credit card balance
While you may know that it is not smart to carry a balance on your credit cards, you may not realize exactly how much that interest is costing you. Go through your statements for the last year and add up what you have paid in interest. Once you see the total damage, work hard to pay off your credit cards and never carry a balance again.
7. Creating overdrafts
Not keeping track of the amount of money in your checking account is another habit that can quickly bite you in the behind. One mathematical error can cause your account to become overdrawn and cost you hundreds in bank fees if several checks pass through the account. Watch your money closely and ensure that you never allow the account to become overdrawn.
8. Borrowing instead of saving
When many people decide to make a purchase, they simply take out a loan. Almost always, a loan means paying additional money in interest. Instead of borrowing to buy what you need, save up for the item over time. Do not buy until you have the money to pay cash and avoid extortionate interest fees.
9. Paying bills late
Not only does paying your bills late often cause you to incur late charges, it also affects your credit rating. As your credit score dips, you will find yourself paying higher interest when you do need to borrow. Pay your bills as soon as they arrive and avoid losing money to fees and interest.
10. Buying on impulse
If you are like most people, you have probably purchased items that you had no intention of buying when you entered the store. Guard against this by creating a list before you shop and sticking to the list while in the store. Stores count on the fact that you may see something you like and buy it without thinking, thereby putting your money in their pocket.
Once you have assessed your spending with these guidelines, you can identify your budget-busting behavior and change your ways. When you have done so, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much further your money goes once you have stopped breaking the bank.