As we head into the holiday season, every dollar counts. The choices you make could be costing you money. That’s why it’s so important to break those bad habits. A new survey reveals just 29% of Americans are “financially healthy.”
Financial Consultant David Wells says the true number is probably even lower than that.
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“Do they feel financially secure, do they feel they have a good handle on what’s going on with their resources,” Wells asked. “My guess is not many do.”
For many, keeping track of your money can be difficult.
“Let’s be honest budgeting is not a lot of fun, it’s like the financial equivalent of dieting and nobody likes to do it because it’s hard,” Wells said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the technology companies produce a product yet that makes it really easy to see where our funds go month in and month out.”
David says many of us have developed bad money habits and we need to fix them.
“Where can we look personally at our lives at things we are spending money on that we may not even realize we’re spending money on? How can we save that way? For those I see two common things — one is the phenomenon of, you sign up for something and you get that teaser introductory rate and it rolls off a year later. Think about your cell phone plan, your cable bill, all of your various streaming subscriptions or the like.”
Those types of bills are often linked to a credit card with autopay and you probably don’t even think about it again. But David says you should because, after time, those prices can be renegotiated.
Don’t be afraid to call those companies and threaten to cancel.
“They don’t want to lose you because they already paid to get you as a customer the first time. They want to keep you in the seat, David said. “It’s more finding terms that work for both.”
Another common bad habit, being penny wise and pound foolish. David said, “we have things we naturally spend money on really quickly and we have other things that we count our pennies on and watch really carefully.”
These impulse buys include shopping, going out to eat and travelling. David says think about ways to introduce a pause.
“Make a simple rule ‘this has got to sit in my Amazon shopping basket for 24 hours before I click the ‘buy now’ button.’ Even something as short as that for a couple of hours, you’ll come to it with fresh eyes and in many cases what you’ll find is those are dollars that you’re spending, you’re almost doing it subconsciously,” David said.
You’ll likely realize many of those impulse buys aren’t that important after all.
“The message is, can you figure out how to reduce the spending on the things that are less important to you and that just frees you up to do more of the things that you really care about? It’s about finding that balance point.”
These are not drastic changes, but every little bit helps. The key is to start small now, that way you’re set up to tackle bigger saving challenges in the future.