By Paula Pant
Even if you have the best intentions, you can still find yourself getting into trouble with your money especially if you've fallen into one of these dangerous money habits.
If you've been struggling with your finances, take a look at this list to make sure you're not sabotaging yourself with any of these bad habits.
1. Impulse Purchasing
Impulse purchases are all about emotion. You see a sale you don't want to miss or an item you long to have immediately, and you jump to buy it before you think rationally about whether you really need it or can really afford it.
To curb impulse spending, force yourself to wait a certain period (it could be a day or 30) before pulling the trigger on a purchase. It will give you time to really think about your decision, and chances are you'll realize you don't really need it after all.
2. Not Budgeting
You will never stay afloat financially -- never mind actually getting ahead -- if you don't have a budget in place and know how to stick to it. A budget allows you to see how much money you're bringing in and where it's all going, and it enables you to make changes that help you save more money and avoid going into the red each month.
Budgeting doesn't have to be a big chore. Sign up with a program like Mint that automatically tracks your spending for you, and all you have to do is pop into your dashboard each day to make sure you're staying on track and make adjustments as needed.
3. Relying on Credit Cards
Unless you're able to pay the balance off in full each month, using credit cards is one of the worst things you can do for your finances -- especially if you're using them to live above your means. Every dollar you put on a card will cost you many times more in interest, and you could spend years of your life and thousands of dollars paying down purchases you don't even remember making anymore.
4. Love of Convenience
Every once in a while, a convenience purchase can be a nice treat, or a necessary exception if you're in a great hurry. But if you find yourself regularly making convenience purchases, you're just being lazy, and it's costing you.
Stop getting fast food every day and learn to make a few basic meals in bulk you can enjoy throughout the week.
Stop buying a pricey latte on the way into work every morning and get up 5 minutes early to brew a cup at home. A little extra work on your part could wind up saving you big time.
5. Personal Vices
Yes, this includes traditional "vices" like drinking, smoking, and gambling. But it also includes less-obvious vices like eating out way too much or being a shopaholic -- anything that tempts you to spend large amounts of money you know you shouldn't be spending.
Quit these bad habits and your life, not just you wallet, will be happier for it.