We all have habits we picked up as kids. Some are harmless, like biting our nails when we're nervous. Others, however, might be holding us back financially.
It's easy to overlook these childhood habits as they've become second nature to us. But once we identify them, we can take steps to change. In this blog post, we'll explore 12 everyday habits from childhood that might be keeping you broke.
Don't worry; it's never too late to unlearn these habits and start taking control of your finances. Let's dive in and start making changes together!
1. Instant Gratification
As children, waiting to open birthday presents was often a test of patience. That need for instant gratification can follow us into adulthood, especially when spending money.
It's easy to see something we want and buy it impulsively without considering the financial implications.
We get a quick burst of happiness, just like tearing open a gift, but it's temporary.
Over time, these impulse purchases can add up, eating into our savings or leading to unnecessary debt.
Recognizing this childhood habit and practicing delayed gratification can significantly improve our financial health and help us become more mindful spenders.
2. Not Saving
As children, we couldn't wait to spend our allowances on toys or treats. The concept of saving money for the future was usually off our radar.
Unfortunately, this immediate spending habit can carry over into adulthood, causing difficulty in accumulating savings. Without a cushion of savings, unexpected expenses can lead to debt – recognizing this habit is the first step.
We can gradually build better financial habits by consciously saving a portion of our income, even if it's small.
3. Avoiding Discussions About Money
Growing up, many of us were taught that talking about money is impolite. This silence around finances can lead to a lack of understanding about managing money effectively.
As adults, this translates into poor financial literacy, making it difficult to budget, save, invest, or plan for the future.
Breaking this habit involves opening up the conversation about money, asking questions, and seeking knowledge. It's okay to talk about money! It's necessary if we want to improve our financial situation.
4. Fear of Risk
As kids, we're often told to stay safe. Don't climb too high. Don't run too fast. This caution can seep into our adult lives, making us risk-averse financially.
We stick to safe options, avoiding investing or starting a business for fear of losing money. But calculated risks are crucial for financial growth. It's about learning, doing our research, and then taking a leap of faith.
5. Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Growing up in a household living paycheck to paycheck can shape our financial habits. It's a cycle that's hard to break. We get used to spending what we earn immediately, leaving nothing for savings or investments.
But it's vital to consciously work towards breaking this cycle – start by setting aside a small amount each month. Gradually increase it. Every little bit helps. Remember, the goal is financial freedom, not just getting by.
6. Ignoring Bills
As a child, ignoring chores was an everyday habit. But when carried into adulthood, it can morph into something more damaging, like neglecting bills or debts. Just as tasks pile up when ignored, so do financial obligations.
Avoiding them only leads to late fees, higher interest rates, and a lower credit score. It's essential to face these tasks head-on, like those childhood chores.
Set reminders, create a payment schedule, and chip away at debts bit by bit. Responsibility is vital to financial health.
7. Comfort Spending
As adults, we sometimes indulge in ‘comfort spending,' a habit that can be traced back to childhood when we'd receive treats to lift our spirits.
This practice, however, can lead to financial difficulties, as the temporary happiness it brings often results in overspending.
Instead of seeking comfort in purchases, finding less costly stress relievers like exercise or hobbies is beneficial, promoting financial well-being and healthier coping mechanisms.
8. Lack of Budgeting
If you learned to budget your allowance as a child, you might need help managing finances now. With a budget, it's easier to track income and expenses, which can lead to overspending and debt.
Implementing a budget helps control spending, allowing for better financial planning. It acts as a financial roadmap, guiding you towards your saving goals and ensuring you live within your means, ultimately leading to financial stability.
9. Following the Crowd
As people, we often want to fit in with our friends or those around us. This means buying things because others have them.
This can make us spend more money than we should. Remembering that it's okay not to have everything others have is essential. We should think about what we need and what we can afford.
By doing this, we can make sure we spend only a little. We can save more money and avoid worrying about not having enough. It's always better to make choices based on our needs and budget rather than trying to keep up with others.
10. Neglecting Future Planning
Neglecting future planning might seem appealing as it allows for living in the moment and avoiding stress or anxiety about what's to come. However, it can lead to unpreparedness when unexpected events occur, or goals change.
Without a plan, decisions might be made hastily or without fully considering their impact on long-term goals.
While it's essential not to obsess over the future to the detriment of the present, having a balanced approach to planning can provide direction, reduce stress, and increase the chances of achieving desired outcomes.
11. Believing Money is Evil
Sometimes, we hear that money is bad or that rich people are evil. This can make us think that having money is wrong – but this isn't true.
Money is a tool that lets us buy things we need and want. If we believe money is bad, we might not try to earn more or save what we have. This can stop us from being successful with our money.
12. Feeling Entitled
When we're kids, we often get things without working for them. If we keep thinking this way when we're adults, it can lead to problems. Expecting to get stuff without working for them can make it hard to manage our money well.
We might spend too much and need to save more. It's important to understand that as adults, we need to work to earn money and then make smart choices about using it.
Financial Habits Start at Childhood
As you can see, our financial habits are often rooted in our childhood. To make the most of our money and ensure success with our finances, it's important to identify bad habits and work towards breaking them. This will help us improve financial literacy as adults, allowing for improved budgeting, investment plans, and greater security when managing money.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.