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.
Sometimes the person you have to stand up to is you! There I was, rewatching the Miss Universe 2019 competition. Which I do for inspiration from time to time. (No, seriously!) There is something about seeing women on stage, in full-on glam mode, and speaking with confident assuredness that really lights my fire!
I have seen this Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa win this crown so many times before, but something about this particular viewing, her delivery or her words, touched something inside me a little differently. At that moment, I truly believed, with complete conviction, that she lives what she speaks.
The announcement was made, the audience cheered, and the crown was awarded. The light was dazzling,, she looked stunning, almost blessed. The judges made the right call with 2019's queen.
Reflecting On Myself
Suddenly, the YouTube video ended. And I was left looking at a black screen. In the darkness of that screen, I saw my reflection and I began assessing what I saw, asking myself, "What have I been doing with my life?" It may seem like an overly dramatic question, but at that moment, I had to ask myself seriously… What have you done? The fact that I couldn't come up with a solid, confident answer gave my inner-cynic license to quickly spiral into self-criticism.
This went on for quite some time, until I got up. I stood up and walked to my mirror to have some serious one-on-one "Queen Talk." I needed to get out of that self-critical mindset, and I know that physical movement is something that help disrupt a way of thinking. I needed to remind myself of who I really was. The negative feelings I was experiencing at that moment were not reality.
Here are a few reminders for whenever you need some Queen Talk!
1.) Comparison is truly the thief of joy.
This saying feels like a cliché. That is, until it's applicable to you. At that moment, this "cliché, becomes self-evident. Comparing myself to someone on a stage with years of experience in an area I know nothing about is not only unfair but straight-up mean. A part of my comparison comes from me wondering, "Would I have the ability, if put in that position, to perform at such a level?" The answer is totally and without question, yes. I excel in the field I work in now, and I know that if I put that same energy towards something else, with practice, I could do just as well. No joy can come from comparing yourself to someone in a completely different field!
2.) Never forget the blessings that have been bestowed upon you.
Every single day, I am blessed to have the opportunity to wake up with all ten fingers and toes and choose to create the kind of life I want to live. There is so much power in that alone, but sometimes it's easy to take it for granted. Let us not forget those who are unable to make that same decision every day of their lives.
3.) Appreciate how far you have come!
I've been very intentional for some time to be kinder and gentler to myself. I need to realize that I am human. Being human means that I will not know everything, and I will continue to make mistakes.But I must let go of the need to always be right. I feel empowered when I can see the growth that I've made, regardless of the mistakes that may come in the future. I don't react to every little thing that bothers me, because I have learned boundaries when it comes to dealing with others and myself. I truly value my time and my energy, and, for that, I am proud.
4.) You Can Be Who You Want To Be
If you can see it in your mind, you can achieve it in reality. I saw myself when I looked at the women on stage, when she smiled, the way she talked, her elegant walk. For a moment, in my self-criticism spiral, I forgot that we are all connected. Debasish Mridha has said "I may not know you, but I don't see any difference between you and me. I see myself in you; we are one." I will not sit in the mentality of lack, there is more than enough opportunity and good fortune to go around for everyone. Her win was not a loss for me, but it can be a nudge from the universe for me to go ahead and dream big!
This Queen Talk was not easy. There may have been some tissues and tears involved but giving myself an honest yet compassionate talk is sometimes what I need to bring myself out of some bad head space. In these moments of doubt, you truly need to be your own best friend.When times get rough, criticism won't always come from outside sources. How you speak about yourself internally is crucial to how you see and feel about yourself. As Beyoncé once sang, "I've got Me, Myself, and I." We must put forth every effort to be there for ourselves. I look forward to more Queen Talks when some negative emotions arise. I am grateful for the person I am today, but I am excited to see the women I become.