Personal finance can be tricky; we should all practice and employ good habits, but how many of us actually do? We know the theory - we need to be responsible, we need to save, we need to stop wasting money, we need to have a budget, etc. These are all pretty general tips, but what about specific habits you can work on adding to your routine? Here are 50 finance habits you should employ!
- Don't play the lottery - you know better. It's just a way to play upon the struggles of the less fortunate. Instead of buying that lottery ticket, put that money in a savings account. Your chances of winning are 1 in 45 million.
- Keep track of your expenses vs your income.
- Always compare prices before you purchase something; most of the time, there will be a better deal somewhere.
- Avoid paying interest at all cost. That means always paying off your credit card balance.
- Always keep your money safe when you're out and about - a purse or wallet are a must, that you hopefully keep in a bag or interior coat pocket, away from grabby hands.
- When shopping online, look for coupons, vouchers, and discount codes. A lot of shops do them now, and you can usually save 10% to 25% on your purchase. Voucher Codes offers daily discounts for your online shopping.
- Don't invest in stock unless you fully understand what it's all about and what you're doing.
- Prioritise your retirement savings! You'll be tempted to use the money for many other things throughout your life, but remember that there are loans for everything, but you can't take out a loan for retirement.
- Don't spend more than you can afford on gifts. We all like to treat our loved ones, but not at the expense of your financial stability.
- Set up direct debit payments for things like retirement. That way, you don't forget and don't have the option of skipping paying into that account.
- Make sure you save for and maintain an emergency fund. It's generally good to have enough to live off of for about 3 to 6 months.
- Before you buy extended warranties, do proper research and ensure you know what you're getting into.
- Set up a budget, and then stick to it! If you need more help, you can use an app like YNAB (You Need A Budget).
- Don't neglect your car! It's better to pay maintenance costs than to have it break down and have to pay for repairs.
- Curb impulse buying to save money. That is possible by just making a shopping list and sticking to it. If necessary, figure out how much money you need and only take as much as it is necessary.
- Open your bills as soon as you receive them in order to avoid forgetting about them or spending the money allocated for them on something else.
- Even if you are in line to receive money from one relative or another, you can't rely on an inheritance to sort your financial life out.
- Never put purchases on your credit card if you know you can't afford to pay off the balance at the end of the month. That's how a lot of people sink deep into debt.
- Make the most out of the flexible spending account you benefit from through your work.
- Don't waste time looking for deals and coupons if you know you will never use them. Time is money.
- Instead of shopping hungry and improvising dinner, set up a menu for the week. That will help you curb on unnecessary and impulse grocery shopping or take-out meals.
- Think of your home finances as you would your business finances - businesses need to make a larger profit every year, and they are always looking for ways to cut costs and increase revenue. So, start thinking about that and how you can make your household more finance-efficient.
- Don't consider your mortgage a done deal; you can always refinance further down the line and save money by obtaining a better interest rate than you hate before. Keep an eye on the changing rates and strike when the moment is suitable. The Money Advice Service has good advice on mortgages!
- If you have investments, or are planning on investing, remember that there comes a time when you need to pull out. Know when that time is and what your strategy is to get out with your money intact.
- Only spend as much as you need on insurance; there is no use overpaying if you never need to claim anything.
- Pay your bills online if you can, because it's instant, so you never run the risk of forgetting and then racking up late fees.
- Just because something worked out well in the past doesn't mean it will in the future. This goes for business, freelancing, and anything else related to your finances. Always be prepared.
- Don't use checks before payday if you've got no money in the bank. If you don't see it in front of your eyes, it doesn't exist. Even if you are scheduled to receive payment, something might happen to delay it, or the check may be processed faster and you'll be caught with your pants down.
- Respect your budget! What's the point of going to the trouble of making it, if you're just going to ignore it? Money Saving Expert can show you how to budget effectively!
- Keep an eye on your credit report - identity theft, fraud, and even just honest mistakes happen and they can severely impact your credit and finances. Be vigilant. You can get a credit report from Experian.
- Don't just make the minimum payment on your credit card balance. You are only prolonging the agony and ensuring that you pay the highest interest rate known to man.
- Allow yourself to splurge from time to time! Strict frugality can lead to a lot of impulse buying, and this curbs it.
- Ignore any and all credit card-related offers you get in the mail. They are either scams or they have extremely high fees and interest.
- Don't get into the habit of relying on payday loans. That's a one-way ticket to a financial vicious circle. Instead, make sure you have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
- Remember to only worry about your own finances. It doesn't matter how your friends, family, or neighbours spend their money or how lavish their lifestyle seems to be.
- Always check your credit card statements; you never know what mistakes might have been made that you are paying for.
- Start getting serious about saving for retirement. Anything over 10% is great, but the more, the better.
- And speaking of retirement, your state pension won't cut it; don't rely on that, because you will be disappointed. And hungry.
- There's only so much you can cut from your everyday expenses. You won't get rich by scrimping, so don't be overly frugal to the point of misery.
- You need some clear, short-term and long-term goals for savings. Once in a while, review them to make sure they are still relevant and serving your needs.
- Every time your income increases, so should your contribution to your retirement account, savings account, university tuition account, etc.
- Try not to buy your cars new, and when you do buy them, use them for at least 10 years to get your money's worth out of them.
- This goes without saying, but don't spend more than you earn! If more money goes out than comes in, you are in trouble.
- If you have an ''emergency" fund, then leave it for emergencies. No, that new gadget or pair of shoes are not emergencies.
- Make smart investments in objects that have the high potential of increasing in value, such as certain collectible items, or designer items.
- Another obvious one - read the contract before you sign it!
- If at all possible, negotiate the price before you purchase something, especially on important assets, like vehicles or houses.
- Don't smoke, because it gives you cancer and it's an extremely expensive addiction.
- Pay your bills on time. In fact, ideally, put the money aside for them before they even arrive. You don't want late fees.
- Never lend money. You will never get it back. Money has some advice on you can and get your money back, but don't count on it.
There they are, 50 excellent finance habits everyone should follow!
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