bad money habits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/15352/all en-US Frugal Red Herrings: Money-Savers That Cost You in Other Ways http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-red-herrings-money-savers-that-cost-you-in-other-ways <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugal-red-herrings-money-savers-that-cost-you-in-other-ways" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6158664238_89c0992717_z.jpeg" alt="Burning Money" title="Burning Money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all love to save money. Regular readers of Wise Bread are exceptionally good at it, actually. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean we&rsquo;re not prone to making mistakes. I, for one, have fallen victim to some money-saving misnomers, and in a recent article I talked about some of the ways we think we save money that ends up costing us more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-do-to-save-money-that-end-up-costing-you-more">10 Things You Do to Save Money&nbsp;That End Up Costing You More</a>)</p> <p>However, it&rsquo;s not always the case that our frugal ways cost us MORE money. Sometimes, we &ldquo;break even&rdquo; or lose out in other ways. So I decided to compile a list of frugal red herrings &mdash; those little things we do to save money that, for one reason or another, just don&rsquo;t pay off.</p> <h3>1. Standing In Long, Long Lines for Freebies</h3> <p>Now, if someone said you could stand in line for one hour and be guaranteed a free PS3 or iPhone at the end, no strings attached, it would be worth it. However, that never happens. Never.</p> <p>What does happen is that Ben &amp; Jerry's gives away a free cone, Chipotle hands out free burritos, or Starbucks gives out a free coffee. Suddenly, the stores are inundated and the lines stretch around the block. And for what? A $3-4 ice cream cone or a small coffee?</p> <p>Think about this rationally for a second. If you&rsquo;ve got nothing, and time is abundant in your life, maybe it makes some kind of sense. The homeless and hungry, or the very, very poor, may stand to benefit from this. But I have been to a couple of these giveaways in my life, and the line is usually populated by people like, well, me. People who like a bargain. Is it really a bargain to waste so much of your time on something that ordinarily costs so little? If you stand in line for 45 minutes to get an ice cream, what does that equate to &mdash; maybe the equivalent of around $6 per hour? That&rsquo;s not even minimum wage.</p> <h3>2. Buying Cheap Shoes</h3> <p>No one &quot;needs&quot; a $2,000 pair of shoes. But at the same time, skimping on your footwear may save you cash but cause you back pain, foot pain, or other problems. If you have arch problems, you&rsquo;ll need to invest in shoes with good arch support. Sure, those $14 shoes on sale at the outlet stores may be fine, but more than likely they&rsquo;ll give you bad posture and lead to pain and discomfort. Do yourself a favor. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-case-for-expensive-shoes">Invest in good shoes</a>, your body will thank you for it.</p> <h3>3. Dining at &ldquo;All You Can Eat&rdquo; Buffets</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re really hungry and short of cash, those buffets can be a pretty good deal. They&rsquo;ll never take the place of a good, home-cooked meal, though, and for what you pay you can buy groceries that will get you through three or four meals. The problem with buffets is that they are meant for one meal, not leftovers. You&rsquo;re only &ldquo;up on the deal&rdquo; if you eat enough food to outweigh the price of admission. That turns the average sane person into a food maniac, piling up plate after plate with food in an effort to get their money&rsquo;s worth. I&rsquo;ve often said that these places should really changes their names to &ldquo;gluttony restaurants&rdquo; because that&rsquo;s what they promote. Some people say they&rsquo;re eating for two meals, but the body doesn&rsquo;t work like that. You&rsquo;ll be hungry again later, or if you starve yourself prior to going, you&rsquo;ll get full faster than you think. And if you only plan to eat a small amount of food, and not pig out, then you&rsquo;re spending more than you need to anyway.</p> <h3>4. Refinancing Your Home for a Cheaper Rate</h3> <p>We&rsquo;re always being hit with offers for lower rates on mortgages. But remember, there are fees associated with a refinance, including:</p> <ul> <li>Mortgage Application Fees</li> <li>Origination Fees</li> <li>Attorney Fees</li> <li>Title Search and Insurance Fees</li> <li>Prepayment Penalties</li> <li>Appraisal Fees</li> </ul> <p>It&rsquo;s very easy to spend $4,000-$5,000 in fees to refinance a mortgage, and if you&rsquo;re only saving a quarter of a percentage point, it could take a very, very long time to recoup the costs you paid out upfront. What you need to do is find the BEP, or <a href="http://www.decisionaide.com/MPTables/RefiTables/RefiTables.aspx">break-even point, </a>and decide if it&rsquo;s worth your time and a huge chunk of your money to do the refi. If that break-even point is just a few years, then maybe it&rsquo;s worth it (if you&rsquo;re not planning to sell any time soon). But if it&rsquo;s a long way out, you&rsquo;re probably better off keeping the cash and waiting for a better deal to come along.</p> <h3>5. Trading in Your Car for One With Better Gas Mileage</h3> <p>We all feel the pain at the pump these days, and when you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/drive-the-old-car-or-buy-a-new-car">driving around in a monster gas-guzzler</a>, it can be very tempting to trade it in for a new car with great gas mileage. But wait. Is it actually going to save you money, or will you actually fail to break even or lose money?</p> <p>What you need to do is look carefully at the MPG of your current vehicle, the MPG of the one you&rsquo;re considering, and the costs involved in trading in the car and your new monthly payment. Even if you plonk down cold hard cash for the new car, you still have to work out if you&rsquo;re actually going to break even or save money over the life of the new car. Most of the time, the costs involved in moving up to a better MPG vehicle far outweigh the costs of buying more gas.</p> <h3>6. Making Do With a Cheap Mattress</h3> <p>When times are tough, it&rsquo;s easy to scoff at the high prices of quality mattresses and get yourself a $200 special. But consider this. You spend six to eight hours of every day in bed. That&rsquo;s up to one third of your life. You spend more time sleeping, or laying down, than you do any other activity in your life. So skimping on a mattress that will give you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">truly rested sleep</a> and good support is like building a home with a shoddy foundation. There are some things in life that really do need the best that money can buy, and a mattress is one of them. Most manufacturers will offer flexible payment plans or other incentives, and you will get at least 10 years out of a great mattress. Even if it&rsquo;s $4,000, that&rsquo;s just $400 a year, or $33 a month. Chances are, you spend more than that on snacks and coffees.</p> <h3>7. Going Large When You Don&rsquo;t Need To</h3> <p>I know so many people who do this, and it continues to make me scratch my head. I&rsquo;m talking about food of course, or beverages, and it&rsquo;s one of those strange tactics that plays on your desire for a bargain.</p> <p>Usually, whether it&rsquo;s Burger King, Starbucks, Dairy Queen, or any other place that sells food in sizes, it will be a little bit cheaper to get a lot more food and drink.</p> <p>For instance, let's take Starbucks.</p> <p>A tall (12oz) Caffé Latte is $3.55. A grande (16oz) is $4.25. And a venti is $4.55. (Those prices are correct as of <a href="http://www.wegotcoffee.com/pictures/starbucks/starbucks-2012-menu-and-prices.php">May 2012.</a>)</p> <p>Your first 12oz costs you roughly 29 cents per ounce. But the move up to grande is just 70 cents more for an extra 4 ounces. That&rsquo;s cut your price per ounce almost in half, to just 17.5 cents per ounce for the extra coffee. And if you choose a venti over a grande, your cost for the additional 4 ounces is just 30 cents. That&rsquo;s a paltry 7.5 cents per ounce for the extra 4 ounces, which is 75% less than the cost of the original 29 cents per ounce.</p> <p>If you want to do the math a different way, it goes like this:</p> <ul> <li>A tall Caffé Latte = 29 cents/oz</li> <li>A grande Caffé Latte = 26 cents/oz</li> <li>A venti Caffé Latte = 23 cents/oz</li> </ul> <p>We may not do the math to that extent, but we all know that there&rsquo;s a deal to be had by going large. The same is true of ice cream bowls, fries, sodas &mdash; you name it. However, it&rsquo;s not a deal if you&rsquo;re only ready to drink a tall sized coffee. You&rsquo;re throwing the rest away, and this is something the chains count on. They know you have eyes for a deal and will spend the extra money to go large, even if you don&rsquo;t want it.</p> <p>Do this over and over, you&rsquo;re throwing hundreds of dollars away year after year because your brain made a deal that your body couldn&rsquo;t keep.</p> <h3>9. Buying in Bulk and Letting It Rot</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve been guilty of this one way too often in my life. The big warehouse stores offering gallons of mayo, sofa-sized cartons of cereal, and enough cakes to feed an army offer amazing value for the money. But only if you use it all. Quite often, we&rsquo;ll see bargains that cut the price of our regular grocery items in half, or even less, and we buy them. However, sometimes we go overboard and just cannot get around to eating it all before the sell by date. Remember in &quot;Seinfeld&quot; when Kramer fed his Beefaroni to a horse in a desperate bid to get rid of it all? Well, if you&rsquo;re at the point where you&rsquo;re looking for ways to get rid of food before the ticking time bomb of the sell by date comes around, you&rsquo;ve become the victim of another frugal red herring. It&rsquo;s good to have a full fridge or pantry, but it&rsquo;s not so good to have one full of old and rotting produce.</p> <p>Those are my top eight frugal red herrings. Now, over to you. Which money-saving tips have you followed, only to realize that they weren&rsquo;t such a good idea after all?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-red-herrings-money-savers-that-cost-you-in-other-ways">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living bad money habits Mistakes overspending Mon, 30 Jul 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Paul Michael 944070 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Go on a Financial Detox http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-on-a-financial-detox <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-go-on-a-financial-detox" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beach_leap.jpg" alt="Woman leaping on the beach" title="Woman leaping on the beach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard the term &quot;cleanse&quot; or &quot;detox&quot; in reference to physical health. &quot;Detoxification&quot; originally referred to the process that drug addicts go through when experiencing withdrawals associated with severe addiction. The concept of &quot;detoxing&quot; has taken on less severe connotations in recent years, but still involves the same basic principle &mdash; removing toxins from the body so as to attain a healthier state. The most basic &ldquo;detoxes&rdquo; or &ldquo;cleanses&rdquo; are pretty simple. Some people stop eating processed foods. Some people might go as far as fasting for a couple of days (or longer), others take expensive fiber capsules to &ldquo;flush&rdquo; out their system, and the most fanatical might combine all of these with a trip to the sweat lodge and a good high colonic. The principle is obvious &mdash; add clean fluids to the system so as to push toxin-laden systems out.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not dissing detox &mdash; I think that a well-controlled body cleanse can be good, if managed carefully. But there are plenty of websites to guide you through an intestinal cleansing &mdash; what if your biggest problem is not your clogged colon, but your hemorrhaging bank account? Then you&rsquo;ve got a different kind of toxin &mdash; toxic spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">37 Savings Changes&nbsp;You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>Toxic Spending</h2> <p>Toxic spending is spending that you can&rsquo;t control (and as a rule, spending that you can&rsquo;t afford).</p> <p>Roughly 90% of detoxing involves preventing new toxins from entering your system. Whether your detoxing from heroin, nicotine, or caffeine, the first step is to stop the toxins from re-entering your body. Flushing toxins from your body is an important step in detoxing, but it&rsquo;s pointless if you don&rsquo;t plan on preventing toxins from re-appearing.</p> <p>The same can be said of a spending detox &mdash; the majority of the cleansing process is learning to stop stupid spending behavior from reoccurring. Toxic spending must be reduced, or even stopped altogether.</p> <p>A spending detox is all about prevention, planning, and learning to let some things slide.</p> <h2>Locating Unidentified Toxins</h2> <p>When you embark on a bodily detox, you probably already familiar with the majority of the toxins that are making you feel sluggish &mdash; because you probably put them in your system knowingly. You know you aren&rsquo;t supposed to smoke, and you&rsquo;re aware that five cups of coffee per day might be a bit much. You know that you will feel better if you take it a little easier on the martinis.</p> <p>But there are also toxins in your system that you can&rsquo;t identify &mdash; and you may never know that they are there. Free radicals, pollutants from the environment, beauty products, and chemicals coating our foods; we may feel the effects of these toxins, but we&rsquo;re not necessarily aware of their specific presence.</p> <p>The same goes for toxic spending &mdash; there&rsquo;s the spending you know, and the spending you don&rsquo;t even realize is taking place. If you frequently find yourself staring at a negative checking balance and can&rsquo;t figure out how you got there, then you&rsquo;re probably facing an unknown toxic purchase or two.</p> <p>How do you find the hidden toxins in your spending? Simple &mdash; you examine your bills and bank accounts in great detail. If you receive paper bills, go over them with a highlighter and a fine-toothed comb&hellip; OK, just a highlighter. Mark any purchase or charge that you see that you don&rsquo;t recognize and investigate. There should be a phone number associated with purchases made online &mdash; call and find out what the heck it is that you bought.</p> <p>On utility bills, look for hidden fees or charges that you don&rsquo;t recognize. Cell phone companies are always trying to add new services to your account without your permission, and we all know how major banks are trying to figure out ways to charge you for things that used to be free &mdash; you know, like checking accounts themselves.</p> <p>If you use online banking, export the last three months of your checking account ledger into a spreadsheet. Sort by transaction name/type, and then delete extraneous information. I do this on a semi-regular basis because I have never seen a bank that is willing to present most of my purchases in an easily examined format online. My bank, for instance, only displays the last 30 purchases made &mdash; since I make almost all of my purchases with a debit card, this means that I only see about five days at a time and have to keep clicking NEXT to see purchases made before that. A spreadsheet allows me to sort and track ALL monthly expenditures, which is how I find out when a software vendor charged me a monthly maintenance fee for a product I don&rsquo;t use or my bank tacks new fees onto my account without notifying me.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve found unknown expenses and dealt with them, you will still need to monitor your accounts to ensure that they don&rsquo;t reappear.</p> <h2>Admitting to Known Toxins</h2> <p>Most of your toxic spending should already be familiar to you, because it&rsquo;s something that you do regularly, impulsively, or both.</p> <p>When it comes to performing a physical detoxification, there are certain toxins that are physically addictive and thus difficult to quit. This is because the chemical reaction between your brain and these chemical makes your brain want more, and drives your behavior by making you crave the toxin (or at least, the package the toxin comes in) and rewarding you for providing the toxin.</p> <p>Impulsive spending can function like a physical addiction, actually creating similar chemical reactions in your body &mdash; flooding your brain with <a href="http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/shopping-spree-addiction">dopamine and endorphins</a> when you buy a new pair of shoes, for instance. Feeling good when you buy something isn&rsquo;t a bad thing &mdash; unless you can&rsquo;t afford to buy that new pair of shoes, or SUV, or flat screen television.</p> <p>There are other spending habits that cause pleasure in the brain, not so much because of the purchase itself, but because of the culture surrounding the purchase. Getting a $4 coffee drink halfway through the morning at Starbucks with your coworkers, for instance. It&rsquo;s not so much that you enjoy the spending; it&rsquo;s that you enjoy the environment in which the spending takes place and would feel badly about not participating. This is social spending, and while it may not result in obscene amounts of debt, it can certainly cut into potential retirement savings.</p> <p>There are other types of toxic habitual spending that aren&rsquo;t necessarily social, but that are equally damaging to your bottom line &mdash; like dining out because you don&rsquo;t have time to cook. Whether it&rsquo;s breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three meals) that you can&rsquo;t find time to prepare, dining out is a significant drain on the wallet. Every time you dine out or order in, you&rsquo;re not just paying for food, but for labor. Of course, that&rsquo;s half of the appeal with take-out food &mdash; you don&rsquo;t have to do the dishes. But the increased cost rapidly adds up.</p> <p>I'm not referring to occasional splurges on dinner, or even constant splurging on dinner &mdash; if you can afford it. What I am referring to is <em>uncontrolled habitual spending</em>. It&rsquo;s damaging to your financial health in the same way that environment toxins and drugs are damaging to your physical health. It's toxic because it keeps you from ever finding financial security.</p> <h2>Short-Term Cleanse</h2> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve identified the poisons that are making your bank account sluggish, you have to change the behaviors that lead to the toxic spending. Just like a physical detox, you might have to make some serious behavioral adjustments, change some long-held habits, and even change some social relationships. Abrupt lifestyle and spending changes are easier to handle when you know that the change is temporary. As an experiment, try a toxic spending cleanse for a fixed period of time, and see how much money you save and how you feel.</p> <h3>Go Cold Turkey</h3> <p>Like quitting any number of other addictive behaviors, toxic spending habits can be stopped by drastic measures &mdash; going cold turkey. The key here is to know that the stoppage is temporary. You&rsquo;re going to stop dining out, stop getting weekly manicures, stop going on spending sprees at Target &mdash; for a month. One month. You can do this.</p> <h3>Make an Announcement</h3> <p>If the spending changes that you need to make actually bite into your social life, it can be good to give friends, family, and coworkers a heads-up. You don&rsquo;t have to go into great detail or divulge the totality of your debt, but you might want to make a couple of phone calls, or send out a few emails, and tell people why you need to take a break from trivia night, Chinese Food Fridays, or shopping with the girls. Simple and honest explanations, like trying to really reign in spending, or hoping to cut back on unnecessary calories, are usually accepted.</p> <h3>Avoid Your Triggers</h3> <p>Uncontrollable spending usually has some sort of catalyst that triggers the impulsive behavior.</p> <p><strong>Make It Harder to Spend</strong></p> <p>Do you use your credit card too much? Put that puppy where you won&rsquo;t use it. Online shopping addict? Delete all of your credit and debit card info from your PayPal account. Eliminate the ease of spending money, which will make you think twice when you see something on 6pm.com that you just HAVE TO HAVE. Temporarily suspend your daily online deals subscriptions, like Groupon and LivingSocial. Don't put temptation right in front of you.</p> <p><strong>Avoid Manipulative Media</strong></p> <p>Personally, I can't read a women's magazine without immediately running out and shopping immediately after. Some TV shows, like <em>Mad Men</em>, also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/knowing-your-triggers-can-prevent-stupid-spending">trigger some strange spending reflex</a> in me &mdash; I WANT to be stylish; I NEED to be pretty. When I quit reading women's magazines a few years ago, I got my impulse shopping under control. If you stay up late watching infomercials and end up buying one unnecessary blender after another, trade in your late night TV for a really good novel instead.</p> <p><strong>Reward Yourself in Other Ways</strong></p> <p>Doing good by yourself shouldn't be agonizing, even if it is challenging at first. It's OK to give yourself treats &mdash; a fro-yo after a week of dining in every night, or a night at home with a good DVD and a glass of red wine (instead of a full-price movie ticket), after you've avoided H&amp;M for seven straight days. Remember, if you're an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/impulse-shopping-a-controllable-handicap">impulse shopper</a>, you are denying your brain the addictive high that it gets from shopping, so it's not a sin to provide it with other ways to be happy. Just be careful not to replace one addiction with another.</p> <h3>See What You&rsquo;ve Accomplished</h3> <p>At the end of one month, look at your bank account &mdash; are you shocked by how easily bills have been paid? Do you have more money leftover than you thought possible, given your salary? If not, you can try a deeper spending detox. If so, you have a couple of choices &mdash; return to business as usual, or alter your future behavior to make your detox permanent.</p> <h2>Long-Term Spending Detox</h2> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve seen what you can manage in a month, try seeing how many of your behavioral changes can be incorporated into your lifestyle in the long run.</p> <h3>Assess Relationships</h3> <p>There are plenty of relationships that are as toxic as a drug. Do you have friends or family who make you feel like you need to spend money, either on yourself or on them, in order to be loved or accepted? Whether the pressure is truly external or imagined, the relationship needs to change in some way &mdash; you need to assess why you feel the need to behave in a financially irresponsible way when around such people. Decide if any changes you can make to the relationship, or your perception of it, will fix the issue.</p> <h3>Simplify/Plan Ahead/Collaborate</h3> <p>Some of the worst spending habits are caused by time-management issues &mdash; it&rsquo;s not that we WANT to order take-out every night, it&rsquo;s that it&rsquo;s darn near impossible to get up early enough to care for family, pets, and ourselves while still finding time to shop, cook, and clean.</p> <p>This is where teamwork and planning come into play. Take the free time that you have (and you probably have some, and you probably spend it watching TV, so pick one evening of the week and don&rsquo;t watch TV, OK?) and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/menu-planning-backwards-and-forwards">plan your meals for the week</a>. This doesn&rsquo;t have to be an exact science &mdash; just allow yourself the extra time to put together meals that provide leftovers. Leftovers are the key to packing your own lunch. Who has time to make a sandwich in the morning? Not me. But taking a Tupperware container from the fridge? That&rsquo;s just seconds of my time.</p> <p>If you live with family or roommates, try coordinating a trade-off in cooking duties every week. This might not work in every instance, but if it does, it can reduce the amount of time, and pressure, that is put on you to create healthy meals every week.</p> <p>What about those nights out with peers? If you think that your friends or colleagues might want to follow the same detoxifying route, you can propose a group change &mdash; maybe you and your work buddies can pack lunch every day and eat in the lunchroom together, rather than ordering teriyaki. Perhaps your girlfriends would enjoy hanging out and watching a movie at your house while enjoying home manicures &mdash; it may sound hokey, but you&rsquo;d be surprised how many of your friends are probably struggling with finances as well.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t be hurt if people continue on as before without you, though &mdash; just because everyone still meets up at the bar on Friday night doesn&rsquo;t mean that they don&rsquo;t value your friendship.</p> <h3>Analyze and Prioritize</h3> <p>Sometimes we form toxic spending habits simply because we believe in the necessity of the habit. Often, the habit itself can seem like a smart choice &mdash; like regular salon appointments. You&rsquo;ve been told that regular haircuts (and updated color, and styles) are good for the health of your hair, and even your social life. But are they? That depends &mdash; does anyone really care about your hair? As long as it is clean and brushed and not falling in your eyes, does it matter if the style isn't avant garde?</p> <p>If a seemingly &quot;necessary&quot; spending habit becomes unaffordable, you need to decide if your habits' frequencies, or cost, can be reduced. Can you get by with going to the stylist once every other month? Can you find a stylist who charges less? Can you join a gym that doesn&rsquo;t cost $99 a month? Or skip the gym and work out at home?</p> <h3>Funnel Your Savings Somewhere Safe</h3> <p>It can be incredibly easy to fall back into old habits, especially once you have built up a buffer in your checking account &mdash; suddenly, you realize that you can go on more than one shopping spree! And before you know it, your checking account is back down to zero. To prevent this (and trust me, if you have a shopping addiction, you'll want to take this step), set that extra money somewhere that makes it tough to get to. You don't have to put it in an IRA or a CD, although you certainly could. But at least stash it in a free savings account that isn't connected to any of your credit or debit cards.</p> <p>Detoxing isn't just about getting rid of bad spending behaviors &mdash; you have to keep from forming new ones. Any time you find yourself guilty staring at a bank statement and realizing that you've spent yourself into a hole, you can try a spending detox to see if you can regain financial balance.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-on-a-financial-detox">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stop-spending-today">8 Ways to Stop Spending — Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Shopping bad money habits impusive shopper stop spending Thu, 12 Jan 2012 11:36:13 +0000 Andrea Karim 862534 at http://www.wisebread.com