Bad Financial Habits That I’ve Kicked to the Curb

Over the course of the past 8 years, I’ve made a considerable effort to change my finances. From digging out of credit card debt to finally kicking my bum into gear about saving, I’ve essentially done a 180 from the credit card-crazed overspender I used to be.

While it wasn’t easy and there were definitely times I had setbacks and/or wanted to quit moving forward, I can’t stress enough how much the hard work has been completely worth it.

Here are some of the bad financial habits I’ve kicked to the curb in an effort to gain financial independence:

Having debt other than student loans and mortgages.

For years, I carried thousands of dollars of debt around without any serious plan to pay it off. Thankfully, I always paid the minimum on my cards so my credit score remained unscathed, but I never really realized the impact my debt was having on my future. Once I had a handle on how important it is to be financially secure, the debt melted away. I’m continuously working hard to keep it that way.

Not investing in my future.

I was always making excuses for why I couldn’t fund a savings account or Roth IRA. Some of my common rebuttals (against myself…ugh) were, “I don’t make enough,” “I’ll save once I get this credit card paid off,” and “I. just. don’t. want. to.” Thank you, financial epiphany for slapping my eyes open for me! Now I make sure to max out my Roth and contribute regularly to my 403b and long-term savings accounts.

Impulse shopping.

I was a huge fan of the retail therapy concept. Had a bad day? Head to the mall! See a cute outfit in a magazine? Mindlessly charge it! It took years to break this habit and I still struggle sometimes. But now I’ve seen the greener grass on the other side of the pasture and I’ll do anything to not go back!

Not opening my mail.

I didn’t get the Princess of Interest moniker for nothing–I literally stuck my head in the sand for far too long and ignored of the piles of credit card statements and bills I was receiving. I also used to just throw things in the trash unopened, which could have put me in quite the identity theft-ridden pickle. Now I make sure to sort, attend to, and shred my mail a few times each week so that I’m not faced with pile overload.

Not asking for a raise when I deserve one.

For me, this was about learning my own worth. I had to stop being other people’s doormat and start commanding an adequate price for my skills, talents, and expertise. I’m finally comfortable negotiating salaries and benefits, and I used this strength to negotiate my most recent raise.

Having no clue what a budget is.

I also used to think of budget as a four-letter word that was poison in my mouth. I spent recklessly, aimlessly, and foolishly–all while having no clue what money was coming in when. While my system now may seem like overload to some, I keep myself on a “short leash” when it comes to my budget so I can keep moving forward with my goals. Tracking every penny going out and assigning every penny coming in works for me but it may not work for others. The key here is identifying whatever system works for you and actually using it.

Shirking a frugal lifestyle.

Believe or not, I used to think being frugal was stupid (I can’t believe I just typed that). I used to live a lavish lifestyle but I was hiding that I couldn’t really afford it! Now I seek out discounts, use coupons, frequent clearance bins, and pride myself on getting a great deal.

Only focusing on myself.

In my credit card debt days of disbelief, I was quite selfish with my money. Now, I focus my efforts on my goals as well as doing things for others. Some of my bigger accomplishments in this realm have been my annual Operation Giving Back and my birthdays where I’ve done Random Acts of Kindness for each year I’ve been alive on my birthday (ie. 30 on my 30th, etc.).

What are some bad financial habits that you’ve kicked to the curb??


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Freelancer; reformed spendaholic; risk taker; adventure seeker; world traveler; rose smeller; debt destroyer. My mission is to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time.


Bad Financial Habits That I’ve Kicked to the Curb39

  1. I have kicked some of the same habits. Not investing for the future was one of them. I didn't start retirement planning as early as I could have. I am much more on track now though. Glad to hear you are too.

  2. That's OK–it takes time to change them–it took me YEARS!!! You'll get there, just believe in yourself.I don't think it's wrong because you're in a different financial place. I highlight my use of coupons and clearance deals as a way to show that just because one has money, doesn't mean they have to blow it. But I would never refuse to pay for something, so I hope I didn't give that impression–I'm lucky to be where I am today (but I also worked my bootay off to get here!!).

  3. Great post! You worked really hard to be where you are today. We kicked quite a few of the same habits but we don't really know anything about investing. That is definitely the next step for us!

  4. I'm guilty of a bunch of these! Err…I used to be, that is. I used to stick my nose up at anything resembling a frugal lifestyle myself. I wasn't extravagant, but I was way too proud to use coupons or anything like that.

  5. Great post!! When we were very young credit was our budget buster. Need a new TV, with credit it was only $25.00 a month, we can so do that!! We didn't understand that $25.00 a month was for a million years!!! Same thing with car loans

  6. I used to be a shopaholic, I had cheap rent so I constantly bought clothes/shoes/etc. I also didn't start saving for retirement late, mostly because there are so many options and I didn't know what was the right choice, so it was easier to..not. I've since broken these habits (for the most part).

  7. The biggest bad habit I kicked is carrying a balance on my credit card as well as using multiple credit cards. I now only use one and make sure to pay it off right away.Another bad habit I kicked is buying lunch every day. I take my lunch to work every single day and I'm amazed at how much I've saved.

  8. Probably my biggest habit I kicked was buying a new outfit every time I went out. I have been bad with the clothes spending lately – like, super bad – but I don't think it will stick. Also, saving. I used to completely ignore the different types of accounts and what they're for.Now I pay attention!

  9. I'm definitely guilty of not knowing the value of money and the importance of good financial habits. I use to spend money foolishly on stuff and sometimes for the dumbest reasons. I use to partially keep up with the Jones. Lucky for me, I hadn't began working for my own yet so my money was limited to an allowance. I did blow my first few pay cheques but I've managed to avoid debt.Lucky for me though, I caught this PF train fairly early and I've found great teachings from yourself and the entire community, so I should be able to avoid a lot of these mistakes. It is possible I could make entirely new ones though so the goal is to keep learning and sharing.

  10. I'm with you on the "not opening the mail" habit. It *seems* so much easier to just not open it… but getting rid of that "ostrich" mentality and pulling my head out of the sand is what made a difference in correcting my bad financial habits. Great post!

  11. Thanks, Debby! You're not alone–I know so many people who have put furniture, appliances, even computers on credit. Unless it's 0% financing and you're absolutely certain you'll pay it off before it comes due, I can't figure out how this could be a viable option. Unless of course you have no other options, but then I'd be curious to see the state of someone like that's budget!!

  12. I definitely used to do that! I remember stopping off at a store right before going to a concert just to buy a new shirt to wear…ugh. You're recent spending influx won't last, as you've said–you'll be right back to the normal budget in no time! :)

  13. I love it; learning and sharing–that's what I'm all about!!!Good for you for learning and exercising these habits early on. Anyone can read about good financial management, but it takes a dedicated, hard-working person such as you to put (and keep!) them in place. Keep up the great work!!

  14. Ooooh yeah for me it was not logging into my credit card account and seeing all the damage. I used to be that way but I kicked that bad habit to the curb when I decided to stop being an impulse shopper. You're right though it takes a long time to break the shopping habit, and I still find myself wanting stuff. I don't understand though because I have a lot of clothes and shoes to keep me happy, but the "newness" of something new is somehow so enticing.

  15. That still gets me sometimes, too! I love the feeling of new, but I've literally had to re-train myself to not get so engrossed in the idea of having everything be new/shiny/updated/upgraded. It's a daily battle sometimes though

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