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.

3 Min Read

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.