Bad Money Habits to Break Before Hitting 30

When you’re a college student, doing adult things such as paying a mortgage, repaying your student loans on time, or worrying about the deductible on your health insurance may seem like it’s so far away. But these worries will fall on your plate before you know it. If you fall into financial bad habits while you’re in your 20s, you’ll have a much harder time digging your way out of the consequences of those maladaptive behaviors.

If you already have some bad habits that you need to break, the good news is that with practice and effort, you can free yourself from these habits. This article will give you 10 bad financial behaviors that you should definitely break before you reach your 30s.

Stop spending money you don’t have

One study recently showed that about 20 percent of Americans spend more than they earn. A little less than 40 percent of people break even every pay period. If you want to get on your way to financial freedom, putting groceries and pizza deliveries on credit cards has got to stop. Create a budget and stick to it, no matter what. If you can’t help yourself when it comes to using credit to buy things that are not necessities, cut all of them up and put all of your efforts into paying them off.

Stop ignoring your past due bills

If you want to stay in financial purgatory, ignore all of your late bills and refrain from paying them until the debt collector calls you. When you find yourself unable to pay one of your bills on time, call the creditor and work out an arrangement. A large part of your credit score depends on whether you pay all of your credit accounts on time.

Stop allowing your parents to pay your bills

The Huffington Post advises its young readers to cut the financial cord with their parents as soon as possible. Your parents may not always be around, or even able, to bail you out of your money mistakes. You’re doing yourself a disservice when you make the dreaded call to your parents every time your student loan servicer makes one too many calls. Getting a little assistance here and there is fine, but the time will come where you will need to stand on your own two feet. Besides, even you will recognize the cognitive dissonance if you demand to be treated as an adult while your father pays your cell phone bill every month.

Stop thinking you can’t be a DIY king or queen

Trying to save money isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It certainly won’t get any easier if you’re outsourcing every single service. While you should definitely call an experienced contractor for complicated repairs such as garage door issues, you can perform many minor repairs with the help of Google and YouTube.

You can also save some money by doing services that you would normally pay other people to do yourself. The following is a partial list of the services and repairs that you could perform on your own:

  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Cooking all your meals at home
  • Unclogging your sink
  • Minor car repairs
  • Unjamming a garbage disposal
  • Doing your own hair
  • Doing your own grocery shopping

Stop thinking you can’t afford to start an emergency fund

One recent study revealed that only about a third of millennials have an emergency fund. You can’t put many of the tips in action if you’re not putting some money aside in case of emergencies such as a car repair or a medical issue. Many experts say that you should put aside 6-12 months of expenses aside to deal with emergencies. While this is good advice, the tip doesn’t take into account the fact that many millennials, due to student loan payments and inflated housing costs, will find doing that next to impossible.

What matters is that you start saving. Commit to putting aside 10 percent of every paycheck into a savings account. Make the withdrawal automatic so you don’t miss the money. If you can’t afford to put aside 10 percent of your earnings, try 5 percent at first. Saving 5 percent of your paycheck is better than having 0 percent in savings.

Stop making convenience purchases

Ordering a pizza once in a while is fine. But if you’re ordering fast food three times a week because you don’t want to cook, that’s when your behavior becomes a problem. The Balance
cautions young readers against making “convenience” purchases on a regular basis.

You can reduce your purchases of convenience by cooking at home more often. On Sundays, cook all of your meals for the week so you don’t use fatigue as an excuse to get Thai food delivered when you get home from work. Also, start making your coffee at home instead of getting your Starbucks’ fix every morning. You’ll be shocked at the money you save from following this one tip.