When it comes to budgeting, it’s important to remember that there’s no perfect solution. You can’t plan every dollar you spend, and no matter how much you think you budget right, it can still be all too easy to blow your budget. But with a bit of forethought, you can plan your expenses, recognize when impulse buying is going to bust your budget and make smart decisions.
Here are ten habits that can cost you money.
1. Living beyond your means. If you have credit card debt, you’re probably overspending by 20% or more. Credit card debt is usually the money you borrow, and it’s expensive money. If you have high-interest debt, it’s costing you a lot more than you’re paying on your credit card bill.
2. Swiping. Getting cash back at the grocery store may seem convenient, but if you use your credit card too often and pay it off every month, you’re cutting your discount.
3. Living like a student. Student loans often have lower interest rates than credit cards, but you still have to pay them back.
4. Buying stuff on sale. Never buy anything just because it’s on sale. Don’t buy that new outfit because you want it. Think twice before you buy.
5. Not shopping sales. This is related to buying things on sale, but it’s a bit harder. Don’t buy things just because they go on sale. Save your money.
6. Not comparing prices. If you’re going out to eat, make sure you’re getting the best value. If you’re buying anything online, make sure you’re getting the best deal.
7. Buying stuff you don’t need. It’s hard to resist impulse buys, but buying things you don’t need is the most expensive.
Even if you develop good spending habits, you’ll probably still blow your budget occasionally. The trick is to learn to recognize your mistakes, and respond rationally.