4 Spending Habits to Break Right Now
By Chris Morris
- PUBLISHED September 05
- 4 MINUTE READ
We all fall into bad habits from time to time. Maybe you leave the lights on when you leave a room, or you crack your knuckles. For the most part, these habits are annoying but not necessarily harmful. When a habit impacts your finances, however, you have clear motivation to break it.
You may have noticed you’re spending more than you should, and catch yourself wondering how to save money. Here are some money-saving tips to help you change your routine and sock more away in a high yield savings account or money market account.
Consider the price tag on convenience. We get a lot of things delivered to us every month, things we don’t even think about. Maybe you subscribe to a streaming video service, with an average cost of about $100–$150 per year. Or maybe you have “free” two-day shipping, for over $100 per year. But do you actively watch all those streaming services each month? Do you really need immediate delivery? Convenience is nice, but don’t forget it comes at a price.
“We put too much of a premium on convenience,” says Dan Andrews, founder of Well-Rounded Success, a personal finance consultancy based in Fort Collins, Colo. “A lot of monthly subscriptions aren’t things that people use every month.”
Stop pinching pennies. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to find a happy medium between saving responsibly and skimping unnecessarily. After all, sometimes you really do need a new couch—and you’re better off paying more for one that will last a long time than buying the least expensive option, which you’ll have to replace again in a few years.
Don’t spend and forget. Keeping track of your spending does take effort, but it can pay off. Consider using accounting software for your household expenditures; or maybe just try a savings app. Track your spending obsessively for the first six months. At the end of that time period, sit down and do an audit to see exactly where your money is going. You’ll be amazed at how those little purchases add up. And that shock can be the catalyst for new spending—and saving—habits.
Don’t call for help so quickly. Do you have a leaky faucet or a light switch on the fritz? Small repairs don’t always require a handyman. Spend a few minutes watching online video tutorials, or pick up a how-to book at the library, and see what repairs you can do yourself—even if they seem impossible at first glance. (Don’t have the right tools? See if a neighbor has some you can borrow.) You’ll be amazed how quickly you can save hundreds of dollars. And, as an added bonus, you’ll learn something new.
These tips for saving money are a good place to start. But it also pays to look into your savings account interest rates, or to consider higher-yielding certificates of deposit to get the most out of the money you’re saving.
Chris Morris regularly contributes to national outlets including Fortune, CNBC.com, Voice of America, Variety and Common Sense Media, as well as dozens of other major publications.