Financial Zombie— A term that is nearly self-explanatory. Unfortunately, we are zombies in many areas of our lives. We mindlessly sift through our phones checking on statuses, pictures and updates of all sorts. This type of zombie-ism is more of a guilty pleasure with no consequences, but the type we are going to discuss could hurt you in many ways and can even trick you into becoming a financial zombie yourself.
Being a financial zombie is not entirely your fault. We are consistently led to believe that credit card companies, banks and other major corporations are looking out for our well-being. They want to make our lives simple and provide convenient methods to managing our money— or so they claim. The harsh truth is that they are picking your pocket while providing a false sense of security.
The main goal of Robert Palmer and the Saving Thousands Radio Network is to awaken Financial Zombies by transforming them into Financial Ninjas. The only way to correct your financial habits that are causing you to be one of the financial walking dead, is to realize how you ended up there in the first place. Here are 10 ways most consumers have been infected with the financial zombie virus.
“Would you like to enroll in our auto-pay system so that you never miss a payment?” Sure, it sounds great to put your bills and loans on cruise control, but is it the best option?
Corporations love that you enroll in auto pay. Why?
You are paying the minimum balance
You are hardly ever checking your account
You will probably miss that extra fee they charged you this month
Auto renew charge
The less you know, the more they can take. Making auto payments might seem convenient, but when you could be making extra payments to reduce interest charges or pay the card off early, you are just letting them rack up as much as they want.
2. You Don’t Ask Questions
What?!? If I sign up for this store’s card I can receive 20 percent off my purchase and get new deals every month? Sign me up!
Companies know what they’re doing. They make the deals so sound enticing that they are irresistible— especially when it is at your favorite store. Instead of signing up right away, you should have ask yourself the following questions:
Is there an annual fee?
When will the interest charges hit?
What happens if I accidentally miss a payment?
Are there any other fees that come with the card?
Are their limitations on the points I can earn?
Ask questions when you are thinking about any financial decision. They want you to be awestruck by their sales pitch and sign up right away. What they don’t want you to do is ask questions about the fine print. They want you to find that information out the hard way.
3. You Don’t Know Your Numbers
I bet if I asked you two questions, you could only answer one. Let’s test out my theory.
Question 1: How many Twitter followers do you have?
Question 2: What is your credit score?
Yeah, most can answer the first question off the top of their head. Question 2 will likely take some research… but it shouldn’t.
It is so important to know your financial numbers. What is your credit score? Your utilization percentage? Which credit card in your wallet has the highest interest rate?
Having a large following on social media is great, but your followers won’t be there to bail you out when you don’t qualify to buy a home— unless you are one of the individuals that ‘over shares’ on social media, and in that case, don’t be that person.
4. The dog ate my homework
Homework was terrible in school but it is a necessary evil as an adult, especially as it pertains to your finances.
Every major financial decision requires homework. If you are buying a home, learn about the entire process— from your mortgage to what you can negotiate with the seller. Buying a car? Find out what type of vehicle is going to help you save money on gas and maintenance. You can always learn more to help you save money and find the best option for you. This type of homework will be more fun. I promise.
5. You Don’t Shop Around
A Saving Thousands Rules to Success that everyone can use, and almost on a daily basis, is to shop around.
Shopping around is one of the best ways to save money. You might have found the TV you have always wanted at one store, but another store could be offering a deal on that same TV the next weekend. Before buying, take a step back and just shop around. You might find it is the best deal possible, or you could find a much better deal somewhere else.
Most things are not important enough for you to buy now no matter what. Pump the brakes. Shop around. Sleep on it. You will feel much better knowing you are getting the best deal possible.
Our listeners have definitely benefited from this rule. Just here one of our Share Your Success Contest winners story:
“I’ve actually saved a lot of money by using Rule #1 and shopping around to make a purchase. Last week my flat screen busted after my son threw the football too hard and I was determined to get a new TV. That night I went to Walmart and found one for $2000. I was just about to buy it when my son told me to wait and let’s shop around. So I looked online at best buy, Amazon, target. Turns out Target was having a special on that TV and I saved $500!!!!! I don’t know about you but that’s a lot of money. Thanks RP for the rules! – Danny Mullins
6. Savings? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That
Trust me. I know how difficult it can be to save money. Each paycheck seems to be eaten up by bills, payments and other debts. However, you need to put a little aside each month.
A little bit goes a long way. You might not think you can save each month, but you I guarantee that you can. Just take a look at your last three bank statements. How many times did you stop for coffee? How many movies did you rent through your cable service? Do you see any other unnecessary charges? If you say no, you are lying.
We all spend money on things we don’t necessarily need. I am not suggesting you cut everything out. That would be ludicrous. There is no way to could completely cut buying lunch every day. So try only buying lunch 3 times a week; Maybe just twice. Put the other $10 you would have spent on the 2-3 days and add it to your savings. You will be astonished at how quickly your savings will grow.
Read More: 4 Ways to Make Money Off of Your Savings
7. You Aren’t Using Credit Cards, Wisely
Using credit cards is one thing. Using them correctly is another. Using a credit card for every purchase is probably not the best idea. But, a card can be used for many areas of your life with the right strategy.
Do you get cash back using a credit card at the grocery store? Use that card solely for groceries and then pay off that trip immediately after. You get the points and refrain from getting hit with interest charges. Thinking about a vacation next summer for the family? Use your card with travel points for gas and date night. Pay it off before the end of the month to rack up the points and you will be on the beach in no time.
Credit cards need a plan. Using them ‘willy nilly’ will just grow your debt. I take the same advice one of my coaches gave me back in the day; “every move you make needs to have a purpose”. Every time I use my credit card, it has a purpose.
Read More: How to Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage
8. No Financial Goals
Goals keep you focused. Being able to work towards and achieve something is very powerful. That is why it needs to be a part of your finances.
Whether you are budgeting or not, you need to have goals in places. It could be buying a home, buying a car, or as simple as buying an item that you have always wanted. Setting goals are a great way to set good money management habits in motion. It will cause you to be aware of how you are spending your money and all of your financial numbers. In most cases you will realize that you could be managing your finances much better. It can be an eye opening experience and allow you to make the necessary changes your finances have been needing.
Read More: Budgeting Tips: 4 Ways to Stay on Track
9. Regular Financial Advice is not part of your routine
There is a lot of bad financial advice out there. There is also a lot of great financial advice. For one example, Robert Palmer on the Saving Thousands Radio Network gives awesome advice to consumers covering many facets of the financial industry.
You need to have financial resources that you trust. While Robert Palmer should definitely be one of them, there are many other that you can also benefit from. Have sources that are experts in certain areas and listen to what they have to say. Listening and reading on a daily basis can help you build good financial habits and make wise decisions.
Read More: Saving Thousands Articles & Radio Shows
We are all guilty of procrastinating in high school and college. It worked out— most of the time. Well, procrastinating with your finances is not a good practice.
Quit procrastinating on your finances. Start creating your budget today. Sit down and set your financial goals. Work towards buying your first home today. Waiting till tomorrow, next week or next month is not going to cut. You need to start today and create a better future for you and your loved ones.