We all hate to see our paychecks disappear from our bank accounts, but for some, it seems to disappear much quicker. If you’ve gotten yourself into some bad spending habits or other problems, you might be draining your bank account each month without even realizing how much it’s costing you.
These four things are more common than you might think. We’re going to take a closer look at what you’re doing to drain your bank account and what you could be doing instead. If any of these four things apply to you, pay attention—this is something you’ll want to pay attention to.
If you didn’t realize how much smoking was costing you before, it’s time to take a closer look at that bank statement. How much did you spend on cigarettes last month? $100? $200? $300? All of that money could be used for other things. You could be putting money into your savings account, paying off your car, or otherwise investing in your future.
Unfortunately, good money habits aren’t exactly taught in school. How you handle money is usually learned via trial and error, or from your parents. If they didn’t have good money habits, you likely won’t either.
But don’t worry, you can still nip this in the butt. Smoking is expensive, but you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Wait until you start getting the medical bills for lung cancer or heart disease!
Some people choose to ditch cigarettes for things like tobaccoless chew, which you can find here: https://blackbuffalo.com/. Others choose vape pens, patches, awesome CBD gummies, or nicotine replacement therapy. Alternative products are often cheaper than cigarettes, and if you’re using something like CBD, you won’t have to worry about the numerous health problems you can develop from smoking. The bottom line is that smoking is draining your wallet and your lifespan. It’s time to quit.
2. Running Up Your Credit Cards
Credit cards are an unfortunately necessary part of building up your credit and it’s important to improve your credit score, but they can be quite dangerous if you aren’t careful. The average household in the US has around $10,000 in credit card debt if they have a net worth of zero (which essentially means you’ve broken even with debt and income). That’s a lot of debt, and it usually comes from irresponsible spending habits.
People forget that their credit cards come with an interest rate. That means you’re paying an extra percentage on top of purchases for having that credit access. This is a huge responsibility if you think about it, and most people fail to grasp just how much their credit card spending is draining their finances.
What’s the right alternative to heavy credit card spending? For one thing, you can reduce your credit limits and get rid of a few of your cards. Always pay your savings account before you spend any money, and watch that credit card statement. Credit card balances have a way of creeping up you!
You can also use the 3-day rule. If you want to make a purchase, think on it for three days before you buy it. Ask yourself a few questions before committing to the purchase.
- Will this bring value into my life?
- Can I afford this outright?
- Do I truly need this item right now, or can it wait?
- Have I paid my savings account this month?
- Can I afford the interest on this?
3. Paying For Poor-Quality Items
When most of us go to the store, we look for the items that both appeal to our tastes and our frugal nature. When you go to places like Wal-Mart, you’re looking for a discount—but that discount can actually wind up costing you more in the long run. Why? Because the reason those items are so cheap or “affordable” is that they’re mass-produced with poor-quality materials. You’ll end up replacing the item at least once in its lifetime, which means you just paid twice as much for that item if it wasn’t within the warranty period (or didn’t come with one).
If you have the choice between a better-quality item and saving a few dollars, go for the former. Buying high-quality items—clothes, electronics, etc.—will save you money in the long run. Think of it as a way to invest in your future. You don’t want to waste money on something that will fall apart within a few months. Don’t forget that the phenomenon of planned obsolescence is a real practice in retail. Some things are designed to fall apart so you pay twice as much for them.
4. Unused Services
When’s the last time you actually sat down and watched Hulu? A month ago? Longer? When’s the last time you streamed music with Spotify? Unused services, while not overly expensive, can add up quickly. Let’s say you’re paying $10 for both of the previously mentioned services. That’s $20 per month going down the tube for nothing. Do you pay for cable TV you almost never watch? The bill is likely five times as much.
It’s hard to keep track of all the services that are available nowadays. Everything is streamed, and many services will automatically deduct their fees from your bank account.
The solution is to not only rid yourself of these excess services, but also to keep track of which services you use. If you don’t use a service more than once per month, it’s probably not worth the cost to maintain it. Keeping services with a “what-if” mentality is a good way to drain your paychecks.