It’s Friday the 13th. Are you feeling a bit more cautious or scared? The fear of Friday the 13th is called “friggatriskaidekaphobia.” Trying to say friggatriskaidekaphobia 13 times, I’d be scared too.
I’m not a superstitious person. I don’t have any negative associations with Friday the 13th or the number 13 in general. However, the number 13 is known to some as an unlucky number, and having the 13th day fall on a Friday makes some avoid stepping on cracks in fear it’ll break their mother’s back.
Instead of breaking your momma’s back, let’s break some bad money beliefs. I thought it would be interesting to share 13 bad money habits to break on Friday the 13th.
1. Checking your credit report only after applying for credit
Got turned down for financing? Your credit score is a reflection of the information on your credit report. Everyone should check their credit report once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com and verify the accuracy of the information.
Tip: Review your credit report before applying for credit or financing. Use a free credit monitoring service to check your score.
2. Reviewing your bank account only on payday
If payday is the only day you review your checking account balance, then you’ll have a harder time understanding spending habits and control your money. Use a personal financial management or budgeting tool to help you monitor your spending.
Tip: Review your accounts frequently, get app notifications, set up text alerts to get up-to-date transactions. Apps like Truebill keep you up-to-date on withdrawals and deposits across all your accounts with different financial institutions and credit card companies. Want more? You can upgrade the service and get bill negotiation services too.
3. Depositing your paycheck
Direct deposit makes it easier for you to access your money on payday. If you’re worried about bank glitches, imagine how long it takes to get a replacement paycheck for the one you lost. Waiting to get a physical paycheck means you’ll find yourself driving to the bank, waiting in line, and in some cases waiting a couple of days before it clears.
Tip: Set a direct deposit with your employer and make your life easier. Increasingly many credit unions and neo-banks offer early paydays too. You can get your paycheck 2 days earlier, which can help you improve your cash flow.
4. Swiping your debit card mindlessly
While waiting in line at the cashier, I’ve heard people say, “I don’t understand. I had enough money. What do you mean it didn’t go through?” So, it’s important to break that habit of not checking your available balance before using the card.
Tip: Have a budget so you can allocate your money to what matters to you. With a budget, you’ll know how much you can spend after your bills and other expenses have been paid.
5. Withdrawing money at out-of-network ATMs
ATM fees can add up. In 2018, big banks made $6.4 billion in ATM surcharge fees and overdraft fees. How many fees have you paid because you withdrew money out-of-network and paid an ATM surcharge fee? A friend checked his bank statement and realized he paid $390 in ATM surcharges in one year. That meant he visited an out-of-network ATM 7 times a week.
Tip: Plan by withdrawing the amount of cash you need for the week. Find surcharge-free ATMs through your banking app. What more options? Consider having another account with a credit union offering a network of thousands of CO-OP ATMs. Or find a neo-bank that offers a similar benefit.
6. Writing a check to pay utilities
You might feel in control by writing checks. However, if you wait the last minute to send a check, you risk the chance of late payment and get hit with a fee. With online bill pay features, you can access many of your billing statements. This makes it easy to schedule your payments ahead of time and have a check or electronic transfer done on the date you specified.
Tip: Ask your financial institution about online bill pay services. Set up your account and make paying your bills easier. Need another tip? Set up bill alerts. Using a financial management app or budgeting tool that aggregates and syncs your accounts can help you manage pesky bills.
7. Carrying a credit card balance month-to-month
Keeping a balance on your credit card from month to month does not improve your credit score. In fact, it has the opposite impact. Credit scores look at your revolving credit utilization, meaning it’s calculating the outstanding credit balance against your credit limits. Getting close to your limit? It can mean a lower credit score.
Tip: Pay off your balances in full each month. The only benefit of carrying a balance is for the creditor. If you’re carrying a balance now and unable to pay off the unsecured debt, follow a credit card debt payoff strategy.
8. Reacting when it comes to money situations
Respond to your financial situation, not react to them. Your financial situation is often a result of your actions. When it comes to the inability to pay bills, reach out and find a resolution. Don’t wait to be on the receiving end of collection calls.
Tip: Be proactive. Call your creditor and learn about your options when you believe you cannot make a loan payment. Having a budget is the best tool you’ll have for an overview of your finances. Learn how to lower your household expenses.
9. Buying extended warranties on everything
It’s not necessary to add extended warranties on most purchases. If a gadget has a defect, it will most likely break within the limited warranty period. Additionally, many credit cards automatically offer extended warranties when you use the card for specific items.
Tip: Analyze the cost of the item with the cost of the warranty. Do your research. If you decide to buy an extended warranty, ensure it covers what you expect, as most warranties will not cover failure due to normal wear and tear.
10. Tipping way above your means
This is a hot button issue for many. There are services where tipping becomes mandatory because the business owner does not pay their employees a standard minimum wage. However, you should not feel compelled to the tip above your means. Tipping is for services rendered (to your satisfaction or dissatisfaction). It would be best if you tipped, but tip appropriately.
Tip: Tipping is between 10-20%. Check your bill to make sure it did not already include the tip. Use the pre-tax amount for your tipping.
11. Splitting the check evenly when dining out
In normal times, you’re out with friends, and the bill arrives on the table. It might seem easier to split the bill evenly. Splitting the bill 50/50 may be okay if the meals were of equal value. If you’re paying 50% of a bill every time you dine out but truly only responsible for 1/3 of the bill, you’re losing money which you can use to grow money instead.
Tip: Occasionally, you can split the bill evenly. But get into the habit of pay for the food and drinks you only consume more frequently. Then use the money you “saved” and start investing your first $100.
12. Paying full price for everything you buy
There is absolutely nothing embarrassing about using coupons. In fact, if you use coupons for every purchase, you’re keeping more money in your pocket. It would help if you also asked for discounts in the stores you visit. I once purchased a suit at Macy’s, and the cashier gave me an additional 20% off at the register.
Tip: Before making any purchase, look for coupons, online codes, rebates, or other cash-back offers. Ask for discounts at the register. You can save by using cashback portals like Rakuten or through a Chrome extension. Also, you could stack the savings by using a cashback credit or debit card for the purchase.
Rakuten is currently offering a $30 promotion. If you’re new to the platform and spend $30 within 30 days of signup, you’ll get a $30 signup bonus plus your cashback.
13. Playing the lottery
The lottery is not your path to retirement and wealth. The odds of winning the lottery are astronomical. Getting hit with lightning is more likely at 1 in 161,000. No matter how many times you play the lottery, it does not increase your chances of winning. Sure someone will win, but the chances are it won’t be you. Your “turn at winning” is as mythical as Friday the 13th.
Tip: Plan for your retirement. And invest for your independence. Small amounts can add up to big savings for your future. Make sure you’re contributing to your company’s retirement plan and then open a taxable brokerage account to invest using Roth IRAs. You can find your online brokerage options here.
What other bad money habits are you ready to break on Friday the 13th?