Kicking your bad money habits in 2014

Most everyone has bad habit or two when it comes to money. The turning of the new year is a great time to get started kicking your bad money habits. You may already know what things you’d like to change, but if not, here are three common bad habits, and how you could go about curbing them.

Carrying a credit card balance. If you regularly carry a credit card balance (meaning you don’t pay it off each month), then it’s time to change that habit. First, stop using your card until the current balance is paid down. If you’re relying on your card for day-to-day expenses, you may want to visit with your school’s financial aid office or a credit counselor to see about getting back on track. Pay as much as you can reasonably afford each month until you’ve zeroed out your balance. Make a budget for yourself so you can live on the student loan balance and/or income you have each semester. (The budget counselor may be able to help with this.)

Ignoring your online banking tools. No doubt you’re online all the time. If you aren’t already using some of that time to manage your money, this year is a good time to start. If you aren’t set up for online banking, contact your bank to get started. It’s an easy way to view your accounts all in one spot. Plus, many banks have great tools for tracking your spending, budgeting, etc. For example Wells Fargo offers My Money Map.

Having regular “money emergencies.” Anyone can have the occasional money emergency. Things happen and sometimes you get in a bind. If this situation is more the rule than the exception for you, this is a good time to start fresh. Start tracking your spending (see this post). Be more ruthless when defining your “needs” vs. your “wants.” Rely on self-discipline more than your credit card when you run short of cash. Kick that “money emergency” habit for good this year.

Have you overcome a bad money habit in the past? Tell us about it!

Caroline Hanson

About Caroline Hanson

Caroline is a communications consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she has been known to forget her own ZIP code, she has memorized the lyrics to every bad 1970s pop song ever written. Unfortunately, she also loves karaoke. Caroline spends her spare time at Target®. She also likes biking slowly and has participated in RAGBRAI. Caroline is a graduate of Iowa State University and has worked in journalism and public relations for the past 14 years. She lives in Iowa with her husband and has a 19-year-old stepdaughter and 2-year-old son.
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