Bad Money Habits: 8 Simple Strategies You Need To Adopt Today!

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You don’t need me to tell you how easy it is to overspend on things.

I’ve been guilty of this in the past too because hey, I’m only human!

The question is why do we do it and how can we stop ourselves from overspending?

You may already suspect that part of the problem is having quick access to anything and everything we want. Including things we didn’t want or even need in the first place!

Once upon a time you had to leave the house to buy what you wanted, making a physical outing to the mall. Now, you can of course sit back and click away from the comfort of your home and sit pretty while waiting for your deliveries.

Look, I love being on the receiving end of a home package delivery as much as the next person – I just love getting a knock at the door knowing my order has arrived! It’s a great feeling.

However, thanks to a clever budgeting strategy and knowing the “why”, I’m able to keep my finances in check and not overspend just because things are so easily accessible.

There are many important lessons to be learned when it comes to saving money. And I talk about those lessons I learned during a no spend challenge here.

Why Do We Overspend?

As I mentioned throughout one of my posts – How To Stop Spending Money and Control The Urge, there is usually a psychological factor behind bad money habits.

I know this first hand, because I used to overspend to fill a void in my life and because I loved the feeling of instant happiness after I purchased something. Spending on things that I thought were making me happy were really just a way for me to temporarily escape negative feelings. And not have to think about my job that I hated for a minute!

While every individual’s reasons for overspending may differ, it’s common to see people overspending because they’re trying to mask a feeling or distract themselves with instant gratification.

You can have a Masters degree in making money, but you will still wind up broke if you have a PhD in spending it.” ― Orrin Woodward

When we combine how easy and accessible it is to buy things with wanting to fill a void or hold onto the feeling of buying something new, this can result in major overspending. And no-one deserves that kind of financial strain in their lives!

So, let’s look at eight strategies for bad money habits you NEED to adopt today.

Be sure to PIN THIS and save this post to your Budgeting and Money Pinterest Boards. That way you can refer back to it whenever you need tips for breaking bad money habits!

1. Shop For Food with Intention

These days I don’t buy food without a detailed shopping list. I even organize it by aisle so I can get in and out as fast as possible!

Having a list is one of the best ways to ensure you don’t overspend.

You don’t want to wander aimlessly through the aisles, tossing whatever catches your eye into the cart. No! You want to shop with intention.


First off, make a list and stick to it like your life depends on it. Honestly, this is non-negotiable. Take a few minutes before your food shop to plan out your meals for the week and write down everything you need for those meals. Now, don’t stray from the list! Unless of course you forgot to include something. That means no detours down the snack aisle, no impulse buys at the checkout – stick to the plan and you will save yourself the pain of overspending.

Here’s another tip. Shop the sales and use coupons. Keep an eye out for deals on your favorite food items and stock up when prices are low. It’ll be cheaper for you in the long run. With a little bit of planning and a whole lot of intention, you’re ensuring you’re sticking to your budget and your list only.

2. Shop Online with Purpose

We’ve all gotten carried away with Amazon purchases at some stage, who hasn’t??

But the next time you’re cozied up on the couch, laptop in hand, ready to shop the afternoon away, stop. Pause before you hit that Add To Cart button and do this:

Take a minute to think about what you actually need. Whether it’s shoes, clothes or gadgets, having a clear idea of what you’re looking for will help you avoid those impulse buys that can seriously ruin your budget.

Next, comparison shop!

Hunt down the best deals so you’re getting the best price. Search different websites, read reviews and compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. And don’t forget to look for promo codes or coupons to save even more.

Oh, and one more thing: be mindful of shipping costs. Sometimes that bargain you found online isn’t such a steal once you factor in shipping fees. Look for retailers that offer free shipping or consider bundling your purchases to qualify for free delivery.

Always ask yourself before purchasing, is this about to feed into some bad money habits or will the purchase actually help my life?

3. Budget, Budget, Budget!

I used to hate the idea of budgeting and thought I was too good for a budget. Pft! Little did I know I was wasting money and couldn’t work out why I didn’t have any savings. Silly me…

But once I did learn the ins and outs of budgeting and trying different strategies, it changed my life for the better. I got myself out of debt and built some real solid savings.

One of the smartest things you can do to tackle bad money habits is by having a solid, clear budget to follow.

People think that having a budget is no fun, restrictive and dull. And I used to think this too. But this isn’t true at all! Having a budget just means you know exactly where your money is going and how much you’re saving.

People don’t realize that it’s the excessive spending that tends to be the culprit. When you have a budget, you’re able to manage your inflows (income) and outflows (expenses) clearly.

When you try to make it through life without a budget, you’re almost always going to continue being broke.

How To Fix This:

Find a budgeting method that works for you and your individual needs. You can get started by using a budgeting planner like The Supreme Budget Planner here. This is the exact budgeting document I used to pay off debt and save my first $50,000!

4. Take Advantage of Free Money (A MUST!)

Money doesn’t sprout from trees, but with a bit of effort, you can find opportunities to get free money.

You might’ve heard that many businesses, brands and governments are paying people to get their views and opinions.

They are willing to pay money to whoever seeks these opportunities just to answer some basic questions around various topics.

You can sign up to many different websites for free and start answering basic and easy questions to earn some extra cash. No, it won’t replace your day job or anything like that. But it’s still an easy way to make money online for free. You’ve got nothing to lose, so why not give it a try?

My favorite places to earn a little extra money to go towards my everyday spending are:

Other ways to take advantage of free money is by taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan. Most employers will match your 401(k) contribution up to a certain limit.

Depending on their plan, you could be getting around $1,500 per year!

5. Pay Off Your Personal Debts

Easier said than done, right? I know how stressful it is to live with debt hanging over your head. If only we had a magic wand to wish the debt away!

Getting into a crazy amount of debt tops the list of bad money habits we get ourselves into.

Now, you might be wondering whether it’s a better idea to build your savings or pay off your debt first? In my opinion, paying off debt first is going to be better in the long run. However, this does depend on a few things like:

  • Interest Rates: If the interest rate on your debt is higher than what you could earn on your savings, it might be more beneficial to pay off debt first to avoid accruing more interest. So, compare the interest rates on your debt with the potential returns on your savings.

  • Emergency Fund: Financial experts generally recommended having an emergency fund that covers 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. If you don’t yet have an emergency fund, consider slowly building up your savings first to establish a financial safety net.

  • Employer Match: If your employer offers a matching contribution to your retirement account (eg. 401(k)), prioritize contributing enough to receive the full match, because this is essentially free money.

  • Type of Debt: High-interest debt, like credit card debt, can quickly accumulate and become a huge financial burden. I recommend paying off high-interest debt as quickly as possible to help you save money on interest payments in the long run.

  • Psychological Benefits: Many people (myself included) prefer to pay off their debt first because of the psychological benefits. Getting rid of debt can provide a sense of accomplishment and drastically reduce financial stress.

  • Balancing Both: Depending on your own financial situation, it may be possible to balance both debt repayments and building some savings. Consider creating a budget and allocating a portion of your income towards both goals simultaneously.

Paying off debt can be tricky and there is no one size fits all approach given everybody’s situation is different. But the first step is considering the points above and then setting up a budgeting plan.

6. Start Your Emergency Fund Now

This ties in with what we discussed above and depending on how much, if any, debt you have.

If you’re in a position to put away some savings, no matter how small to start with, then you’re already on the right path to securing a financial net when you need it.

Having an emergency fund saved me when I needed urgent dental work and when unexpected car costs came up. It was so comforting to know that I had some extra cash to go towards these not so nice surprises!

Unfortunately, no matter how ‘careful’ we are in life, unexpected costs WILL come up from time to time.

People lose their job, someone gets sick, or your best friend is suddenly getting married in the Maldives and you’re maid-of-honor!

When you have an emergency fund (preferably 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses), it’ll help you when life happens and prevent you from getting into or going deeper into debt.

One way to boost your emergency fund savings plan is by finding ways to make extra money on the side. There are so many ways you can do this and I’ve got many posts throughout my blog to help give you some ideas.

You can check out my recent post: 10 Ways We’ve Made Extra Money (Make $1,000 Fast)

7. Reduce Your Monthly Bills

Never underestimate the power of negotiation!

Next time you receive a bill from your service provider, like internet, cable, phone or power, you might be able to negotiate for lower rates or better deals.

The way you do this is to call them up and mention competitor offers or inquire about promotional rates to leverage negotiations.

It might take a little effort to call up and try and work out a better deal, but it’ll be worth it if you can save yourself some cash that could go towards your debt repayments or emergency fund.

Also, take advantage of coupons, promotional codes and cashback offers when you’re shopping for groceries, household items or online purchases. Websites, apps and browser extensions make it easy to find discounts and earn cashback on everyday purchases.

8. Stop Buying New

Facebook marketplace has become my new best friend over the past year.

I love finding things to sell that I no longer need, as well as buy from there to help save us the cost of buying brand new.

If you’re after things like clothing, furniture, electronics or appliances, you can often get these for a bargain at thrift stores. Or, online marketplaces like facebook marketplace, eBay, Craigslist. You’ll often find bargains that will save you a ton of money than if you were to buy brand new.

Luckily, we live in a society where there is an oversupply of goods. You just need to know where to look!

Another way to save is by repairing and maintaining, where possible, to avoid throwing things out and replacing with something brand new.

Sometimes it’s not worth it and the cost of repair outweighs buying brand new. But it’s a good idea to learn basic repair skills or find local repair shops that can help extend the lifespan of your belongings.

Final Words

Recognizing the presence of bad money habits is the first step towards overcoming them.

Our habits often develop subtly, completely catching us off guard! It’s perfectly normal to have poor money habits – we’ve all been there at some point.

Nevertheless, by acknowledging these habits and actively working to amend them, you’ll be able to make positive changes slowly but surely!

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Strategies For Bad Money Habits

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