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Five bad money habits that can cost you dearly

By Lisa Lakey

For the U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Putting off planning will keep consumers from their goals
  • Waiting for a windfall ca put consumers more deeply in debt
  • Starting to save later can be a problem when emergencies pop up

(394 words)

LITTLE ROCK – There are five bad money habits that could prove costly to consumers, costing, said Laura Hendrix, an extension personal finance expert for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Put it off for tomorrow. It can be tempting to push bills, bank statements, retirement planning, and other finances to the back burner, but Hendrix, an assistant professor, said “out of sight, out of mind” is bad advice for financial management. “The best way to build financial stability is to take control of your finances,” she said. “Know your income and expenses. Create a plan for spending and saving. Set goals for the future. Make a list of action steps to reach your goals.”

Comfort shopping and impulse buying. According to Hendrix, emotional spending can lead even the best laid plans astray. “Shopping for pleasure and entertainment can be fun but often results in unwanted debt,” she said. “Advertisers attempt to beguile consumers into making unplanned purchases. Stick with your shopping list. Stay focused on your goals.”

Start saving later. Too often an emergency arises and consumers find themselves without the adequate savings to cover expenses. Hendrix said delaying saving can be a costly expense and should be a priority now, not later. “Time is critical for growing savings and investments,” she said. “Small deposits can add up to big savings through the magic of compound interest. Save for emergencies, for retirements and for goals such as home ownership or education. The sooner you start, the more your money will grow.”

Waiting for a windfall.  While it’s tempting to plan on using an anticipated check, like a tax refund, to catch up on bills or pay off loans, Hendrix suggests not making plans for money that isn’t yet in the bank. “This type of financial planning puts consumers deeper in debt,” she said. “While waiting for the windfall, additional critical expenses may arise. Don’t spend money you don’t have.”

Keeping up with the Joneses.  In a culture that says bigger is better, it’s hard not to get caught up in the competition. “Think about your needs and values, Hendrix said. “Make decisions that build long-term financial security. Don’t play the game of conspicuous consumption.”

 For more information about Money Smart week and for financial management tips visit the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service website at

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 





Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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