A vice is the opposite of a virtue. It is a habit that is considered to be negative or generally destructive or immoral. To adapt this into a financial context though a “financial vice” is simply some habit that goes against what you would like to achieve.
Sometimes identifying a vice can be difficult because it feels almost natural. Stopping for a cup of coffee at the expensive shop around the corner for instance, is not exactly going to classify you as wicked or immoral, but in the financial context it can be considered a vice because it contributes to the slow drain of your finances towards things that do not advance your goals.
For some buying clothes, shoes or handbags classifies as a vice, while for others spending on technology gadgets or eating out can be a major financial vice. Simply speaking, a financial vice is any activity or purchase that happens regularly enough for it to be considered a habit and that has an adverse effect on your pocket.
Habits are difficult to break because they have worked their way into what is considered accepted, easy and normal. It can feel like a huge task to wake up early enough to make your coffee at home and take it with you in a reusable cup if you are accustomed to popping into the coffee shop to buy a cup just before you cross the street to work. By doing that one simple thing though you may be able to save roughly $10 a week or $40 a month which works up to $480 a year.
But how can you control your financial vices? There are a few steps to take if you want to curb a financial vice. They are as follows:
1. Make it Difficult to Spend
Financial vices survive because it is easy to access cash or credit to fund the bad habit. If you want to stop spending on a particular item you need to make it difficult to get the money to spend. If you know that you are leaving the house to get something specific take only enough money to cover your purchase and leave your credit cards behind.
2. Make Other Options Easy
If you are trying to eat out less, practice preparing meals in advance or freezing extra portions that you can have during the week. If you need to start spending less on entertainment you can make a conscience effort to do things that are either free or cheap.
3. Transfer Financial Vice Spending into Savings at the Start of the Month
Another way to curb spending on your financial vice is to calculate how much you would ordinarily spend on your vice for the week or month and transfer this lump sum amount out of your current account at the start of the period. This way you don’t have access to the money to fund the vice.
4. Remember Your Goals
Finally, you can benefit from revisiting your goals. This acts as a real reminder of what is important to you and also puts your budget into perspective. Instead of setting goals and looking at the every three months, be sure to track your progress monthly or even weekly if this makes sense for your goal and your income.
A financial vice might be difficult to control in the beginning but with the right attitude and a concerted effort you can change the course of your financial path for the better and stop being a slave to your spending habits.