Everyone, regardless of their economic status, has spent money without thinking twice at least once in their life. In fact, it’s not terribly uncommon; most working Americans can attest that a lack of mindful spending has caught up to them more than once. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire, bad spending habits can severely hinder your financial goals and can saddle you with unneeded debt. Careless spending can come in the form of having a daily coffee habit, or maxing out your credit card on frivolous expenditures. Regardless of your income and finances, these kinds of bad habits can add up and cost you in the long run.
If you’re looking to curb bad spending habits once and for all, consider the following:
- Figure out where your money is going and what you’re buying. Evaluating your spending habits is the first step in working toward eliminating (or at least curbing) mindless spending. Even if you think that spending $4 for a latte isn’t a lot of money, it can add up if you make a habit of it. The same goes for any other “small” purchases or charges – they all add up in the end, and it’s easy to brush them off as minor expenditures. Using Polam’s mobile banking app and online banking platform can help you track the charges made to your VISA credit and debit cards, and you can visually itemize charges to determine where your money is going. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that hidden fees can add up and hurt your accounts; if you’re trying to avoid ATM fees, use your mobile app to locate any of the 75,000 CO-OP ATMs around the country where you can avoid service fees.
- Create personal savings goals. If you need a boost of inspiration to help you curb your mindless spending, it’s a smart idea to set goals for how much money you want to save. Having a goal in mind gives you something to work toward, and can give you the push you need to cut out the minor expenditures that quickly add up. Whether you’re saving up for a new laptop or other big-ticket purchase, or you’re saving to pay off credit card debt or student loans, setting goals can drive you toward financial comfort.
- Determine exactly how you’re spending money. Once you’ve gone over your accounts to assess where your money is being spent every month, it’s important to determine exactly how it is your money is being spent. Are you using your debit card to make purchases that come directly from your checking account? If so, consider withdrawing cash at the beginning of each week – it’s a lot more tricky to overspend when you’re literally watching the money being removed from your wallet. If you find that you’re using your credit card for your regular purchases, consider keeping the card at home to avoid the temptation of overcharging. Above all, knowing how you spend and tracking your habits is the first big step in getting rid of any bad spending habits that are hurting your accounts.