You’re ready to make some big financial changes. You’ve dealt with your money mindset and know that it has to change if you want to successfully manage your money. But before you can truly change your money mindset, you have to take a hard look at your actions. You may say that you want to be wealthy but your actions may not be lining up with your words. Here are four habits that might be sabotaging your money mindset.

Spending Everything You Make

Many people make the mistake of spending every dime they earn. As a result, they live paycheck to paycheck and have to worry constantly about money. They juggle bills throughout the month and can never seem to quite catch up.

This type of cycle is understandable during a crisis, like a loved one being diagnosed with a serious illness or an accident that affects your ability to work. But if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s time to put an end to it. The only way to do this is to stop spending everything you make and put away a small amount of money from each paycheck for a rainy day.

Upgrading Your Lifestyle

You earn a raise at work but a month later, you still feel just as broke as before. You wonder what happened. You know you have “extra” money but why doesn’t it feel like you have extra?

Often, the problem is that you upgrade your lifestyle as soon as you earn a bit more. This habit is subtle and might masquerade as going out to eat a few times a week, splurging on new clothes, or buying a new electronic device. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a raise, but after that fancy dinner, quietly put the rest of the money into your savings account. If you do happen upon a rainy day, you’ll be glad you did this.

Not Planning for Events

It’s easy to fail to plan for major events. Maybe you always put Christmas gifts and birthday parties on your credit card. Then you spend the rest of the year working to pay off your debts. The problem is that once the cards are paid off, it’s Christmas or birthday season again already.

The way to end this cycle is to plan for events like Christmas or birthdays. Scale back on celebrations for a couple of years until you have your finances under control. Instead of buying gifts for every extended family member, organize a ‘secret Santa’ exchange so the costs of gifts are spread out between family members evenly.

No Emergency Fund

If your car breaks down when you’re on the way to work tomorrow, what would you do? Would your first thought be one of panic because you can’t afford repairs? Would you wonder which credit card you’ll have to use?

Unfortunately, this is reality for many people because they don’t have an emergency fund. During a crisis, you shouldn’t have to worry about money. Your emergency fund doesn’t have to be huge. You can build it by making small deposits regularly. Eventually, these deposits will start to add up, so that next time you face a crisis, you can handle it without having to max out your credit cards.

Keep in mind that some of these habits are subtle and easy to miss. But once you recognize them, you need to break them so that you don’t suffer financially.

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