4 Bad Spending Habits You Need to Break Today

Rachel CruzeBy Rachel Cruze4 Minutes

Imagine a reality where you can afford to move into your dream house, send your kids to college without debt, and give so generously that it transforms your community. If only . . . right?


With a few changes to your spending habits, you actually can turn your financial dreams into reality.

How Bad Spending Habits Mess Up Your Life

Culture encourages bad money habits all the time through things like impulse shopping, convenience buying, and retail therapy. But I don’t want you to spend your life like a rat in a wheel chasing something that is never going to fulfill you. You have to stop these four bad spending habits—and I’ll show you how.

Bad Money Habit #1: Spending on Impulse

Impulse buying is kind of fun—at least in the moment. You walk into the store for milk, and before you know it, you’ve bought three bags of marked-down holiday candy. Oops!

This is normal. Americans spend $183 on impulse every month. Why do those impulse purchases get the better of us? Personally speaking, it’s hard to say no when we think we’re getting a deal. I love a good sale as much as anyone.

The good news is, there are many ways to overcome impulse spending—like waiting 24 hours before clicking that checkout button. But the most important way is learning to tell yourself no.

Bad Money Habit #2: Spending Without Tracking

It’ll be really hard to succeed at managing your money if you don’t track your purchases. Listen, if you make a plan for your money—aka a budget—but you don’t actually stick it, your budget won’t work.

And let me bust one other myth while I’m here: Budgets don’t tell you what you can’t do—they show you what you can do. I like to say budgets give you permission to spend! And when you track your purchases in a budget, you’ll see where your money is going every month. You may be surprised how much you’re spending on pizza—and that leads us to the next bad money habit we have to conquer.

Bad Money Habit #3: Spending on Convenience

Delivery apps, valet parking, and the drive-thru—we’ve all spent money on these conveniences. With apps, it’s so easy to have dinner delivered straight from your phone. But paying for these conveniences can really add up. Thankfully, convenience spending has a simple cure: planning ahead. My husband, Winston, and I plan and prep our weekly meals on Sundays so that when dinner time rolls around, we never feel the need to grab takeout at the last minute.

Figure out where you spend on convenience, and try planning ahead instead. You’ll see significant savings—I promise!

Bad Money Habit #4: Spending to Feel Better

Self-care is important, but I want to be clear: Retail therapy is not self-care.

Retail therapy is spending to feel better, and science has proven our addiction to the chemical high that comes from shopping. So yes, purchases can make you feel better—temporarily. But after the Amazon-induced happiness fades away, you’re left with a guilty shopping hangover. You can drop this habit if you drop the comparisons (I’m looking at you, social media!) and stay away from stores when your emotions are high.

You can do this, you guys! With a little sacrifice and some self-control, that dream house won’t seem so far away, college tuition will look more like a molehill and less like a mountain, and generosity will become second nature!