Special Report

40 Money Habits That Can Leave You Broke

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6. Ignoring a 401(k) Match

One in four employees doesn’t save enough to receive the full 401(k) match provided by his employer, according to a report by investment advisory firm Financial Engines. That means the average employee leaves $1,336 in his employer’s coffers each year. That’s like telling your boss you didn’t want a pay raise this year.

It’s recommended to max out your 401(k) contributions, but at the very least you should contribute enough to get your employer’s match.

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7. Going Out for Lunch

A survey by Visa found that the average American spends about $20 per week on eating out for lunch. Over a year, that adds up to a staggering $1,043. No need to waste money on lunches out when a brown bag lunch is cheaper and, if packed correctly, can be more nutritious.

ALSO READ: Why You Should Start Budgeting Now for 2022

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8. Using Store Credit Cards

Retail stores are notorious for offering a discount on an initial purchase if you sign up for the store card. Although that 10 or 20% discount might sound sweet when you’re standing at the checkout line, signing up is far from a good idea.

The store isn’t offering the discount with sign-up just to be nice, said Daniel Zajac, certified financial planner with Simone Zajac Wealth Management Group in Exton, Pennsylvania. “They know that most of their customers will not pay off the card and they will make up the discount and more in interest payments,” he said. Instead, Zajak suggests shoppers bypass the discount and start to track expenses and debt.

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9. Overdrawing Your Account

Are you wasting money on overdraft fees? America’s largest banks raked in more than $11.68 billion in overdraft fees alone in 2019, The New York Times reported.

Stop lining the pockets of bank presidents and set up overdraft protection. Or, monitor your accounts to make sure funds for any outstanding checks are covered.

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10. Keeping Your Gym Membership

Your unused gym membership — even one you managed to save on — is not a good deal if you’re not actually using it. Attracting members who won’t actually come work out is a strategic move by many gym owners, according to NPR’s Planet Money.

Most Planet Fitness gyms, for example, can hold about 300 people, but the average location has 6,000 members, the show reported. The reason this business model works is because only a small fraction of members use the facilities on more than a semi-regular basis.

The secret is to know yourself. If you’re not going to work out, don’t sign up to make gym payments.

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