Contributed by Nelson T.

Our nation’s economy is built on consumerism.  Advertising is everywhere we look, compelling us to make another purchase.  This product will make you more attractive, this one happier.   These perceived needs can get us into debt and financial hot water.   Here are some of our some top financial bad habits and ideas about how you can break them.

Paying bills late.   Every time you pay a bill late, you risk paying a late fee and an increase in your interest rates.  If any company reports a late payment to your credit report, any loan you have may increase its interest.  That’s right!  If you are late paying your phone bill, your credit card company may find out and raise your interest rate. 

Solution: Automatic bill payments.  All banks now offer automatic bill payments.  You can even schedule reminders on your calendar to let you know when the money is being taken out so you are not caught unaware.  Or pay your bills as soon as they come in.  The lack of stress from worrying if a bill is going to be late will disappear with either of these methods.

Paying with your debit card. It is hard to keep track of how much money you are actually spending when you use a credit or debit card. As a result, you are over withdrawing and paying fines or you are having a hard time saving.

Solution: Pay in cash.  Figure out how much you need for the week and visit the ATM.  Impulse purchases will be harder to make when you can physically see how much money you have left over for the week.

Buying too much. How many sweaters do you really need? Just because it is on sale does not mean you are getting a great deal.  You may be saving $20 by buying the sweater on sale, but you are saving $40 by not buying it at all. 

Solution: Buy only what you need.  Ask if you really need it or just want it? Remind yourself that the previous sweater you purchased was exciting when it was new, and this new sweater you are thinking about buying will lose its excitement once it has been in your closet for a week.

Spending without paying attention.  Sometimes you are charged twice for an item when using a credit card or you may be spending more on drinks then you thought. 

Solution: Track your expenses by recording your purchases.  Download an app for your phone or record your purchases in a notebook.  Categorize what you have spent and see where your money is going.

Not knowing your credit score.   You may have errors or inaccuracies that are keeping your interest rates high.  You may also not be able to get a new loan, a new job or a new apartment. 

Solution: Check your credit score once a year for FREE.

What bad financial habits have you overcome and how did you do it?  We invite you to share your ideas in the comment box below.