January 23rd, 2012

Curb Your Bad Habits, Improve Your Finances

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bad habits

Are you impatient? One study suggests that being impatient has more than just a small connection to your credit.

“Participants in the study with poor credit scores were more impatient and more likely to choose immediate rewards rather than wait for a larger reward. As a result, they were much more likely to engage in behaviors that virtually guarantee financial trouble.”

According to the article, the credit scores of patient consumers were an average of 30 points higher than those of impatient consumers. The credit scores of impatient participants were consistently lower than 620, which is generally known as the cutoff for subprime lending.

In other words, the bad habit of impatience can lead to bad credit. But that’s not the only bad habit that lends itself to poor financial moves. Here are a few tips for curbing bad habits before they start affecting your wallet.

Procrastination

Effect on your finances: Paying just the minimum on your credit card balances means you’ll be charged more in interest over the long-run.

How to curb your habit: Consider ramping up payments on a couple of your higher-interest rate balances. Adding just $10 or $20 in addition to your minimum monthly payment can help you save significantly on interest charges in the long-run. If you have too many cards to handle, consider transferring your debts to a balance transfer card. Just keep in mind that you should pay down all of your debt before the introductory period runs out, otherwise you might be responsible for paying the interest on the original transfer amount.

Anxiety

Effect on your finances: You fret over one financial slip-up, such as a late credit card payment, which sends you into a spiral of poor planning.

How to curb your habit: If you’ve been a good credit customer, you may be able to get the late payment removed by writing a goodwill adjustment letter. For the future, set up automatic minimum payments or email alerts to remind you when it’s time to pay your next bill. Services Manilla will collect all of your bills in one place and send you email and text messages to remind you before a debt is due.

Short-sightedness

Effect on your finances: You apply for a mortgage before you are fully financially prepared, such as saving up the down payment and building your credit sufficiently.

How to curb your habit: Monitor and improve your credit health with Credit Karma because you need a credit score above 720 before applying for a mortgage. Why? The higher your score, the better mortgage rates you’ll receive, and the less you’ll pay toward interest in the long-run. Learn more about building your credit to buy a home.

Giving into temptation

Effect on your finances: You apply for a store credit card to get a discount, which leads to impulse buying and overspending.

How to curb your habit: Avoid the stores that tempt you the most. If you’re ready to apply for a new credit card, don’t be tempted by high-interest store cards. Instead, check out your approval odds on Credit Karma to see which one you’re likely to be approved for. Also, determine what kind of credit card fits your personality best, like a cash back card or airline credit card.

Disorganization

Effect on your finances: You have to log into 15 different online accounts to determine where you stand financially, from your bank account to your credit card accounts.

How to curb your habit: Use an online or mobile budgeting application to collect all of your accounts. You’ll be able to keep track of individual accounts in one, aggregate account. Just make sure to use a secure password and lock your mobile device.

How can you curb some of your bad financial habits?

Have a Karmic Day!

Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

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