6 Financial Habits We’ve Normalized (and Why It’s Time to Stop)
We all pick up bad habits. If we keep these bad habits long enough, they normalize. It is normal to drink too much, eat too much, spend too much.
Over time, many of us have normalized some bad financial habits. These habits somehow invade us. Before we know it, they are part of our lives.
And they cost us money. So much money. Month after month after month, our bad financial habits are costing us money.
Here are six habits many of us have normalized, and here’s what we could all do instead.
1. Having credit card debt
Americans owe about $1 trillion on their credit cards. And credit card debt is the most expensive type of debt, with your credit card company only getting richer ripping you off with high interest rates.
But a website called Fiona could help you pay that bill tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan that you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. Earnings? You only have one bill to pay each month, and since the interest rate is much lower, you can get out of debt much faster. Also, no credit card payments this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral required) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you wait in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free check online. It only takes two minutes and could save you thousands of dollars. Really worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
2. Spending more than we earn
It’s too easy to overspend. There are too many temptations, especially with so many purchases available at the click of a button. It takes a lot of discipline not to overspend.
We have another way to help you stop overspending: Stop overpaying for things.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and you’re about to overpay? That’s what it free service Is it that.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you pay it will check other websites including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for less. Additionally, you can get discount codes, set up price drop alerts, and even view the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV and assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop-up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for less. If there are discount codes available, they will also be automatically applied to your order.
Over the past year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started with just a few clicks to see if you are paying too much online.
3. “Investing is too scary.”
Ooooohhh, investing, so scary. Golly, that sounds so intimidating.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t even need a lot of money to get started – and you can even get free shares (worth up to $200!) if you know where to look.
Whether you have $5, $100 or $800 in reserve, you can start investing with Robin Hood.
Yes, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Investment beginners and pros alike love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees and you can buy and sell stocks for free – with no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What is best? When you download app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood deposits a share of free shares into your account. It’s random, though, so the stock could be worth between $2.50 and $200 – a nice boost to help you build your investments.
4. Just guess our budget
Don’t want to budget? Try budget for people who hate budgets.
The 50/30/20 method is one of the easiest ways to control your spending. No 100-line spreadsheets or major lifestyle changes required.
Here’s how it works: Take your total after-tax income each month and divide it in half. This is your base budget (50%). Take the rest and divide it into personal expenses (30%) and financial goals (20%).
Let’s break it down: it’s 50% for things like utilities, groceries, medicine, minimum debt payment, and other essential expenses. Then there’s 30% for fun: Thai takeout, your Netflix subscription, dressing up a skeleton on your lawn for Halloween.
This leaves 20% for your financial goals, such as additional debt reduction payments (anything above the minimum monthly payment) as well as retirement savings and investments.
5. Never change our car insurance
Here’s the problem: Your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time shopping around for different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the United States, so you’ll get the best options from over 175 different carriers delivered directly to you.
Take a few minutes to answer a few questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the best car insurance recommendations. In minutes, you could save up to $610 per year.
6. Assuming we can’t afford to own part of a business
Take a look at the Forbes list of the richest people and you’ll notice that almost all billionaires have one thing in common: they own another business.
But if you’re working for a living and don’t have millions of dollars lying around, that might seem totally out of reach.
But with an application called Stash, it is not obligated. This lets you be part of something that’s normally reserved for the richest of the rich – on Stash, you can buy coins from other companies for as little as $1.
It’s true – you can invest in coins from well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and many more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies benefit, so will you. Some companies even send you a check quarterly for your share of profits, called dividends.1
It takes two minutes to Register, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all of your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) – that’s the industry buzzword for “Your money is safe.”2
Plus, when you use the link above, Stash gives you a $5 sign-up bonus once you’ve deposited $5 into your account.*
1Not all stocks pay dividends and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.
2Please note, SIPC coverage does not insure against potential loss of market value.
For securities priced above $1,000, buying fractional shares starts at $0.05.
* Offer is subject to promotion Terms and conditions. In order to participate in this promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.
Paid non-customer endorsement. See reviews on the Apple App Store and Google Play. See important disclosures.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as investment, legal, accounting or tax advice. Investing involves risk.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]listen)) is a lead writer for The Penny Hoarder. When it comes to bad habits, he’s an expert, really a grand master in a way.