5 Bad Money Habits That Make You Lose Money

Single Mom Money
by Single Mom Money

I'm Danielle, the creator of Single Mom Money your place for building wealth, dodging debt, and learning practical, everyday money tips for single moms. Today I am going to talk about 5 bad money habits that are ruining your finances.

Let's get right into it.

1. Fake budgets

People are good at listing their fixed expenses such as mortgages, cars, and even utilities. For the most part, we have a general range of what these cost us per month. But when we get into things like food costs, gasoline, and credit cards, that's where we usually get off track.

Someone might think they spend $300 on groceries a month, but when we look at our bank and credit card statements to see the actual spending, it is usually nowhere in line with what we thought. This is a fake budget.

Instead, we must create a real budget, one where you have taken the time to go through your statements, at least 30 days’ worth, and really track what you're spending.

Once you have done this exercise you might see your actual monthly grocery spend is more like $500. You can work to pair that down to about $400 for next month and then maybe your goal is to be spending around $300 a month.

By doing the quality work upfront we can figure out what we really spend in our day-to-day lives, not what we think we're spending. 

Bank account details

2. Mixing Money

The second thing we should stop doing is co-mingling money. In one bank account, they'll put their savings, money for ongoing costs, and regular spending money.

When everything is in one bucket, it’s easy to pull money from that same account when you have overspent on something that month because it looks like you have a larger amount.

Alternatively, you should have clear buckets of money. Have a bucket for short-term savings like yearly memberships, have another bucket for emergencies in case you lose your job or have a medical issue, there should be a separate bucket for bills, and I even have a separate bucket for discretionary money, that is money left over for day-to-day miscellaneous expenses.

Having these distinct individual functions for your bank account makes life easier and it will also hopefully keep you from overspending.

Bonus tip: put things like your savings with a different bank or credit union. This is especially true if you're a person that has a bad money habit of dipping into your savings when you've spent your regular money. Create a barrier for yourself.

Using budgeting apps to track money

3. Mental tracking

The third thing we all need to stop doing is to think that we can track our spending in our heads. That is a huge money mistake, especially for people who are new to budgeting or have had financial issues.


The alternative to that is to use some tools. There are so many budgeting apps, I use GoogleSheets on my phone and type in what I'm spending my money on. Also, check your bank account daily.

I'm doing a thousand things a day, the last thing I need to do is try to remember what I spent in the last few days, so track your money correctly, and you will never forget what you have already spent.


4. Not Investing  

The fourth bad habit that makes you lose money is not investing. Investing is one of the surest ways to grow your money. When you invest, your money compounds, so even while you're sleeping, your money is growing.

You can also earn dividends, which is essentially companies paying you for buying their stock, and you can use the money they pay you to put back into investments and grow them even more.


Investing is a way to combat inflation, the inevitable rise of costs related to just living life. Things go up in price, and if we want to be able to counteract that, investing is the way to go. The earlier you start investing, the better off you'll be. Even if it is just a small amount each month. 

I personally think you should still invest even if you have debt. Maybe you can't commit to investing as much as some other people while you're focusing on taking care of your debt, but it's important that you have at least a horse in the race. And if you don't invest at all, you won't be able to do that. 

Managing money

5. Not having your own plan

It is very important to create your own plan: something that works for your family. Don’t just apply the information you hear from all us social media gurus, I say us because I'm online giving out financial tips.

What works for me might not work for you. It might and if it does, great. If it doesn't, move on. Don’t be disheartened by it. Just know that you will eventually find your own path and be able to calibrate a method that will work best for you and your family.


5 bad money habits

All right, those were my 5 bad money habits. I hope you enjoyed the tips, it's always a blast being here with you guys.

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • Lauren Lauren on Aug 25, 2022

    I’m so happy I clicked on this to read !

    I always find it hard to figure out how to add in a hair cut or birthday gifts , stuff like that !

  • Marla Jennison Marla Jennison on May 14, 2023

    Yes, I am inspired and I may try this again. I have tried many plans over the years. We just don't have enough money in our retirement.