What habits keep you in debt?

rp_job-market-debt-traps-students.jpgMost of us engage in habits that are keeping us in debt. I know this, because I do this. The little things (and of course the big things) add up very quickly, and if you don’t keep track, then that could be a debt payment right before your eyes.

Here’s a list of what might be keeping you in debt: 

1. Banking fees.We’re not Guilty.

  • Do you keep track of your daily balances? Going under by just a cent can drastically affect you. I read an article the other day about a teenager who was around $1 under (if any of this info is wrong, sorry I read the article and can’t seem to find it again). He was only under because his account was sitting at around $9 or $10, so the bank then charged him a $10 maintenance fee. He was then charged around $30 a day for being under and in less than 10 days, he owed around $230. He barely ever checked his account and didn’t notice. 
  • Interest and late payment charges can also add up very quickly.  We’re trying to pay off our debt so that we can get rid of all of this crazy interest that’s building up. It just builds up so fast.

2. Eating out. – Guilty. We’ve been bad with this lately and reverted to our old habits. I’m blaming it on the holidays and pure laziness.

  • Eating out can add up quickly. The other day we went to McDonalds for smoothies, the casino for dinner and McDonalds again for a snack. And we did something like this a lot of days this past week. Sometimes eating out can cost almost the same amount as a weeks worth of groceries. That’s where the savings of eating at home really come in.

3.  Being house poor.  – Not guilty. We bought a house that was much under what we were approved for. This has helped a lot, especially since when we bought the house, we made around half as much as we make now.

  • Definition of ‘House Poor‘ – A situation that describes a person who spends a large proportion of his or her total income on home ownership, including mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance and utilities. House poor individuals are short of cash for discretionary items and tend to have trouble meeting other financial obligations like vehicle payments. via Investopedia
  • A lot of people are guilty of this. Just because you are pre-approved for a certain amount, definitely does not mean that you should buy a house at that amount.

4.  Impulse shopping. Mostly Not Guilty. I definitely research most of my purchases, just to make sure that I don’t have any second thoughts after I get something (which I usually do).

  • Groupon is a major for most people. You see something that you kind of like, and it seems like a good deal, so you buy it instantly. Lots of people don’t use these. I am guilty of this, I have some Groupons that are expired. I can use these for the face value still though, but haven’t. Most of these places are too far away for me to willingly use.

5. Spending to make you happier.  Mostly Not Guilty. I’m saying I’m mostly not guilty because usually shopping and spending money does not make me happier, but of course I have done this before.

  • Do you often go to the mall, Target, grocery store, wherever when you’re not feeling 100% yourself and buy stuff?
  • These things can add up quickly. And sometimes, maybe most of the time, you won’t even like these things after a couple of days. This adds up quickly, especially if you’re always not feeling 100%.

6. Spending because you say to yourself “I deserve it.” Guilty. I am busy a lot, so I always make myself feel better with my spending by telling myself that I deserve it for all of my hard work.

  • These purchases can add up very quickly. Just because I think I deserve it, doesn’t mean I should buy it. Don’t I deserve to pay off my debt as well?

What’s keeping you in debt? 


  1. says

    Grocery shopping on an empty stomach!Beauty Products.I am SO guilty of buying new foundation, eyeshadow, etc. even though I have full bottles at home!

  2. Squeezer says

    Eating out is definitely my weakness. Well, it's really my wife's weakness. She does not like eating at home. I don't like eating out, but its one of the areas I have to give in to.

  3. says

    I'd have to say 'guilty' on half of those. Eating out- big one! It's just so much easier to grab something instead of having to cook and clean. I'm definitely a shopper too…when I'm upset I shop. Exactly why I now have Tiffany&Co sunglasses…haha

  4. says

    Eating out is by far our biggest weakness. It's just so simply and easy…but not so easy on the checking account. We have started planning out meals to make at home and using our crock-pot a lot lately. When we get home dinner is ready and we have leftovers :)

  5. says

    For the bank account…a lot of banks have it set up so that you can link you savings and checking with overdraft protection. That way if you go over, it will take the negative amount out of your savings instead of billing you an outrageous fee. I'd never sign up for an account with maintenance fees. Ew.

  6. says

    Fortunately, I have no debt. But I don't track my spending very well and I know I'm nickeling and diming myself with food, unnecessary groceries and many other small purchases. I won't spend $100 but I will easily spend $20 five times.

  7. Allison says

    We do not have credit card debt but I do not save as much as I want some months. I am guilty of buying something because I want it! Also, I meal plan every week (post it on the blog to try and keep me more accountable) but it doesn't always go as planned.

  8. says

    I spend way too much on eating out, Starbucks ( my love!) and beauty products when I buy them. There's something about shiny beauty products I can't resist for some reason. I should definitely go on a beauty product ban until June!

  9. That Brunette One says

    Such a good post!I agree for me a biggest killer is bank fees!I spend far too much money on eating out, buying lunch during the week and beauty products!

  10. says

    I am guilty of number 6 in the grocery store. The frozen food section is so much more expensive but its nice to have some things from there after a long day.

  11. says

    I'm SO GUILTY of boredom shopping, especially at Target. If I have a day off (when I'm obviously not making money) I think of one thing to go to Target for and wind up (every.single.time) spending 10x as much as I expected with a cart full of crap. Ugh. 2012 will be different. It must!

  12. says

    Definitely spending because I deserve it. Also spending on the kids, but I am getting better at that. I think we are house poor, but that is our fault as we re did the mortgage to pay off our house in the next 4 years. If push came to shove and we lost a job or had a major illness we could finance it way down and we can make the payment it is just larger that I am comfortable with.

  13. says

    When we were drowning in debt we had the worst habits which actually kept us in debt–eating out once or twice a day, Starbucks once or twice a day, check bounce fees, credit card late fees and over limit fees, shopping nearly every other day, buying "fleeced" cars with huge monthly payments–basically every money mistake that could be made, we made. Now that we watch every single penny our financial lives have totally turned around.

  14. says

    I think ours woud be our housing expenses, BUT, we're not "house poor". With 4 kids, it's woth putting more $$$ into our housing to live in one of the best areas of town… It's safe, clean, quiet, and we have a huge yard for the kids to play in. If we didn't pay so much for housing we'd have more money for savings and oter things, but in the end, it's more than worth it!

  15. says

    I spend too much money on stupid coffee and food when I don't need it. I have food at home but don't want to make it. I need to be better about that.I really need to learn to make an actual budget. I look at my finances all the time but don't budget for the month. It's bad. But then I don't feel as guilty for the new shoes I buy haha!xoxo

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