Break Your Bad Financial Habits
These little tweaks might help you make big financial leaps – and every little thing you do with your finances now, might follow you throughout your life. So why not try breaking your bad financial habits and start establishing good ones? These are just a few examples of the how these not-so-healthy habits may affect your overall financial well-being.
You don’t have a budget – A budget is an outline of how much you expect to make and spend over a set period of time. Although it may sound like a drag, creating a budget gives you more control over your money, keeps you focused on short-term and long-term money goals and helps organise spending and savings – well, as long as you actually stick to it! There are plenty of smartphone apps, website and Excel spreadsheet templates floating around, the hardest part is choosing which one you want to use. If you sometimes forget to pay your bills on time, you might have to pay a late charge on top of what you already owe; and if you’re really behind your payments, you will have to pay the disconnection and reconnection fees too!Here are just some examples of what NZ companies’ late payment and service disconnection/reconnection charges have been:
2 degrees – $7.5 on next month’s bill
Vodafone – $10 on next month’s bill
Telecom – $18.40 incl. GST
Mercury Energy – $25 debt management fee; $120 disconnection for arrears; reconnection fees vary from $120-$185
Contact Energy – $25 debt management fee; $90 debt site visit fee; $90 disconnection for non-payment; reconnection fees vary from $20-$150
Meridian energy – $5 fees for extended credit and credit letter; $70 non-payment disconnection fee; $55 site visit fee; $50-$110 for reconnection
Using Other Banks’ ATMs – If you feel a bit too lazy to walk a few hundred metres to your own bank’s ATM, think about it this way: you may get charged just $1 per transaction (so if you were, for example, to check your balance and withdraw cash, you would have to pay $2), but that’s an extra dollar you could put towards something else. With just a little foresight and planning, you can avoid paying ATM fees altogether.
Avoiding Own-Brand Products – Refuse to buy cereal or toilet paper, unless it’s brand name? You shouldn’t: lots of own-brand products are lower-cost, but good quality alternatives of more premium items. They may not look as appealing, but it’s what inside that counts – especially when it comes to local dairy produce like milk. The Consumer.org.nz comparison report from 2011 found little difference in nutritional content of a number of milk brands, because the majority of milk in supermarkets comes from the same supplier. And with home brands taking up around 15-16% on our supermarkets’ shelves, you should definitely be able to find great bargains!