10 Terrible Money Habits You Need to Stop in 2023

You might be surprised at how much ditching a few bad money habits could improve your financial outlook in 2023.
Updated April 11, 2024
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A new year could mean a new start for you in different aspects of your life. Perhaps you want to exercise more or take that dream vacation.

It could also mean a reset when it comes to ditching your bad money habits and starting fresh. But where to begin?

Here are 10 destructive money habits that you need to stop doing in 2023 to boost your bank account.

Not building an emergency fund

Krakenimages.com/Adobe middle age man saving money in piggy bank

It can be hard to save money for a vacation you want to take or something you want to buy, but it’s a good idea to put those items lower on your list of savings goals.

Instead, think about building up an emergency fund in 2023 by setting aside money for surprises or emergencies.

The fund can protect you if you have an unexpected medical bill, major car repair, or immediate home fixes.

Taking on too much debt

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Debt can cause serious issues to your finances, so it may be time for you to rethink your views on any debt you might be accumulating.

Think about finding ways to reduce your debt like paying down student loans or reducing your credit card debt.

It’s also a good idea to reassess the debt you might be taking on soon on and adjust your spending accordingly.

If you need a new car, for example, get a more affordable model rather than the one you really want. It won’t be as flashy, but the choice can help your bank account.

Not sticking to a budget

insta_photos/Adobe senior woman looking at papers in hand

A budget can be a great way to keep your spending in check. So, if you haven’t already, create a budget and stick with it.

Consider necessary items like utilities and rent or mortgage as well as fun things like saving for a vacation or a special goal. All of these should be part of your budget snapshot for the year.

Pro tip: If you want to see if you can retire early, create a budget to estimate what your annual expenses will be when you’re no longer working. You'll have a better idea of how much you should put in your budget to save for retirement.

Skipping 401(k) matching funds

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You may decide that you aren’t retiring anytime soon so there’s no point in saving for retirement now. But you could be leaving free money on the table.

If your company has a 401(k) matching program, you can have it pull the money you set aside along with the matching funds from your paycheck and deposit it into your retirement account.

If you decide not to participate, you’ll be missing out on money from your company as well as investing cash yourself.

Eating out too often

djile/Adobe friends enjoying food in restaurant

Food prices have gone up this year due to inflation, which may have been hard on your wallet.

But food prices went up across the board, including at grocery stores and your favorite local restaurant. And if you want your food delivered, extra costs and fees can push the price of ordering food even higher.

While grocery shopping can be frustrating, there are ways to save money on groceries to help your budget. Cooking more meals for yourself instead of ordering out all the time can also help you keep extra cash in your pocket.

Putting everything on your credit card

kkolosov/Adobe man typing on laptop while holding credit card

It can be easy to rack up debt if you simply pull out your credit card every time you want to buy something. It also could cause you to carry a high load of debt if you don’t pay off your bill every month.

Instead, consider other options that may be able to help you spend less. Buy things with cash instead of credit or use a prepaid debit card to keep your spending in check.

Sticking with a low-paying job

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It can be daunting to look for a new job or change careers, but a low-paying job could also be holding you back financially.

Start the new year by doing some research on how much others in your area are making for doing the same job. You could also start looking for a new position and see what options are available.

And don’t be afraid to get additional education like a college degree or certification in your field to help you move to the next level in your career.

Using the wrong savings account

zea_lenanet/Adobe woman holding receipts in hand

It’s a good idea to check in with your bank about your current savings account, particularly when it comes to the interest rate on your account. You may be surprised at how little you’re earning in interest on your money.

Pro tip: Try to switch to a high-yield savings account, which could earn you a little extra cash as it sits there compared to a low-interest account.

Paying bank fees

ifeelstock/Adobe man typing pin code in ATM

Perhaps you have your money with one bank, but there’s another one with an ATM closer to your home that you prefer despite the extra fees for an out-of-network ATM.

It may be time for you to reassess your bank and see if there are better ways to make it work for you and not against you. You could also consider switching to a credit union, which may not have the same fees.

Keeping bills on auto-pay

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Do you have a streaming service that you don’t use anymore but still shows up on your credit card bill? Or perhaps you have a gym membership that you keep meaning to cancel but haven’t.

Now is a good time to go over your credit card bill or bank statement and find those automatic payments you should cut.

Ditch the services you don’t use anymore and find ways to reduce the automatic bills you do pay, like adjusting your plan for your internet service or smartphone.

Bottom line

Yingyaipumi/Adobe athletic woman standing at running line for year 2023

Use 2023 as a good excuse to start over when it comes to your bad banking and money habits.

Create a list of habits you want to change to help you stop throwing away money and consider making a budget to keep you on track.

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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