We’re all creatures of habit. When it comes to looking both ways before crossing the street, that’s a good thing. When it comes to frivolous spending, we should be doing ourselves a favor and looking for ways to break the routine. Mental Floss and Discover teamed up to identify financial habits you should break.
Buying things on impulse.
Try not to be tempted by the items at the checkout counter. They’re just there to tempt you. And if you’re suddenly considering making a big purchase, maybe you can sleep on it. Resolve to hit the brakes on purchases and give yourself the space to consider whether or not you really need it.
Failing to check your credit report.
If you pay your bills on time and aren’t constantly applying for credit cards or loans, chances are your credit score is in good shape. But don’t just assume: It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your credit report to make sure no late payments have been reported. And with the Discover Credit Scorecard, you can get your score for free in seconds so there are no surprises the next time you pursue a loan for a car or home.
Forgetting about fees.
Paying your bills on time is part of being an adult, but sometimes distractions or a simple oversight can mean accruing late fees. If you find yourself unable to remember when your obligations are due, consider setting up an auto-pay program or a calendar reminder. While it’s easier to remember when monthly bills are due, once-yearly fees can sneak up on you. If your credit card charges you an annual fee, there’s one expense you can eliminate. Discover has no annual fee on any card.
Not searching for the best deal.
Sometimes convenience makes us excessive spenders. If a contractor is willing to do a job on the spot, is it really worth getting a second or third quote? Actually, yes. Taking a few extra days to assess all of your available options could mean saving hundreds of dollars on home repairs or retail purchases.
Putting off a savings plan.
One of the biggest financial mistakes anyone can make is waiting for a better time to begin setting money aside for the future. It’s easy to get caught in the financial demands of the present, but it’s never a good idea to wait until you feel financially secure before saving. As your income goes up, so can your expenses, making that “comfort” a moving goal post. The best time to start planning a financial cushion is right now.
Living above your means.
The key to saving is to divert money, not spend it. Unfortunately, the allure of getting a new phone, new car lease, clothes, gadgets, vacations, and other pleasures can often reduce a person’s available balance. If you have trouble putting money away, take a look at your spending and see where you can minimize expenses. Analyzing your budget now can pay off big later.
If you spend smarter, manage debt better, and save more, you’ll be setting yourself up for a great financial future. Looking for more helpful hints and tips? Discover has the resources to help you take control of your finances. Learn more at Discover.