5 Bad Money Habits to Break Now


Most of us approach our finances with good intentions – we all want to be smart with our money! But, unfortunately, there are several seemingly innocent habits that many are guilty of. Here are 5 of the most common and why you should ditch them now.


Only Paying the Minimum Balance

Sure, you don’t have to pay more than the minimum on your credit card, by why wouldn’t you? Not only are you unnecessarily accruing interest, but you’re hurting your credit score by consistently keeping your credit usage high.

Kill 2 birds with one stone by getting into the habit of at least paying double the minimum (though ideally, you should only be charging things to your credit card that you can pay off in full at the end of the month).


Not Prioritizing High-Interest Debt

When it comes to tackling debt, many people are overwhelmed by the number of debts they owe as opposed to the monetary amount of debt. So instead of evaluating their various debts and prioritizing high-interest debt, they opt to pay off a few smaller obligations first to cross them off their list. Everyone is different and some may need to pay off 1 or 2 small debts as a confidence booster, but beyond that, it is important to have a strategy when paying off debt. By not paying attention to your various interest rates, you could end up costing yourself a lot more in the long run and spend a longer time paying off all your debt. Make a smart repayment plan by looking at all your debts, the amounts owed, and their interest rates. When it comes to debt, thinking “big picture” is key.


Not Paying Yourself First

For many, savings are an afterthought. Even though everyone claims they want to save, few make it a priority and think they can just wait and put whatever’s left at the end of the month into savings. However, this just means you’ll be more tempted to spend your money on other discretionary expenses, leaving little leftover to put into savings, if you even remember to put it into your savings account at all. Instead, decide on a predetermined portion of your paycheck you want to save, and transfer that amount into your savings account as soon as you get paid. This way, it’ll be out of sight before you even have a chance to miss it.


Opting for Overdraft Protection

It may sound like a good idea, but it’s actually a way for banks to tempt you to spend more than you can actually afford – and then charge you a hefty fee for the privilege. What’s worse, is some banks don’t set a limit on how many overdraft charges you can accrue in a day, so it’s easy for a little carelessness to end up costing you a lot. You are better off skipping this option and, instead, carefully monitoring your account balance so that you do not overextend yourself. With smart phones and mobile banking, it’s easier than ever to keep track of your account balance, so there’s really no excuse to be spending more than what you have!


Thinking You’re Too Good to Budget

Everyone should budget! Budgets aren’t just for people with lower incomes. Even very high income earners can run into the perils of poor money management, as we’ve seen with countless celebrities. Regardless of how much you make or how financially responsible you think you are, everyone can benefit from creating and sticking to a monthly budget. Without one, it’s impossible to get a clear picture of money coming in and money going out. Without a budget, it will also take you much longer to accomplish your financial goals. These days, it’s easier than ever to create and stick to a budget, with many online tools available such as Budget Jewel or Mint.

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Going Makeupless To The Office May Be Costing You More Than Just Money

Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.

Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.

Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.

As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.

Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.

So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.

Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.

For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."