Do you look around and get frustrated when it seems like everyone else is doing so much better financially than you are? Does it seems like you’re struggling to scrimp and save and make it to next month while your friends and fellow investors are killing the game every time?
Maybe you feel like you’re falling behind. Despite your best efforts, you just don’t feel good enough. Maybe you feel like you finances never catch up with your goals. The expenses keep adding up and the profits never have the traction to give you a solid footing.
It’s frustrating. It’s disheartening.
But you have to ask yourself: are your money habits secretly killing your chances at financial freedom? Some of us are making big money management mistakes without realizing it: and it’s costing you not just in the now, but in the future.
Don’t make these costly money mistakes!
5 Money Management Mistakes to Drop for Financial Freedom
1) Eating Out & Drinking
Eating out adds up. It adds up a lot. You can sit with an individual meal and think, “hey, this doesn’t cost so much,” when you’re eating a $10 lunch. But if you’re eating lunch out even three times a week, that’s $30 — $120 a month for “cheap” lunches! Nevermind if you’re going out with friends or family to nicer restaurants, where plates could be running you a lot more. Food adds up. If you’re going to eat out, you need to be conscious of how many times you’re doing it and put a budget and a limit on it.
It shouldn’t be willy-nilly, even on those “someone doesn’t want to cook” nights. One of the best ways to save money on food is through meal planning. Make strategic plans on what you’re going to eat on what days. Cook in big batches. It’ll prevent you from going out when you shouldn’t and it’ll prevent groceries from going unused (and bad!).
What else costs you? Drinks. Going out to a bar or even having a drink with dinner can tack on an extra $8 per drink to your bill. If we’re honest, they’re not great for your health, either! With the exception of some studies on the benefits of drinking red wine, alcohol is mostly empty calories and sugar with a high price of admission. If you want to save, ditch the drinks.
2) “Treat Yo’self”
It feels nice to treat yourself sometimes—and that can be dangerous! The mentality of “but I earned it” or “I had a bad day, so…” or anything that turns buying things into therapy or a reward is going to lead to trouble. It gives buying things an emotional high. Like emotional eating, drinking, or drugs, it’s hard to stop. Bad day? Buy something. Good day? Buy something. Accomplishment? Buy something. Stressed out? Buy something.
It can quickly spiral out of control if your emotional impulse is to spend money. Don’t let yourself go there. It falls into the instant gratification mentally, looking for a rush to make you feel good. It’s temporary, and it will only bring you more stress in the end: because what you need is money in the bank, not new possessions.
3) Living Beyond Your Means
When we think about living beyond our means, we usually think about people who have maxed out credit cards and are in deep-seated denial about their financial situations. But for this, that’s not really what we mean. Think more like...living beyond what you should if you really want to get ahead. Do you really need that new car, or can you made some sacrifices and survive a few years with that used model? Do you really need all of that square footage in your home?
Do you need cable TV? Do you need to shop at Whole Foods?
It’s time to think thrifty, even if you don’t technically have to. Make some sacrifices in the now for your long-term gains.
4) Too Many Credit Cards
Credit cards can be lifesavers. But they can also get out of hand quickly if you aren’t careful. If you start using them as your go-to, you’ll wind up with debt that piles up and never seems to go away, even though you pay it down all the time.
As much as you can, reduce and minimize your debts—credit cards included. They aren’t an exception. At times, credit will be necessary, but you don’t want to rely on it.
5) Not Budgeting
Budget, budget, budget! Money is so easy to lose track of, and if you aren’t looking at the big picture, you will spend more than you intended to. Know what your expenses are and know how much you can spend and save every month. It’ll keep you on track and accountable month-to-month. Whether it’s online, in a spreadsheet, or on old fashioned pen and paper, just find a method that works for you!