Beat your money Groundhog Day: How to stop repeating mistakes

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Groundhog Day is a  1993 film, starring Bill Murray, about a man forced to relive the same day


‘OK campers rise and shine and don’t forget your booties because it’s cold out there’.

It’s Groundhog Day. The 2nd February is the day that Phil Connors, the TV weatherman played by Bill Murray in the cult 1990s movie, is forced to relive over and over again. 

While you may not have woken to Sonny and Cher and the same greeting on the radio as the morning before, ready to go through the same day’s events again, many of us get stuck in a financial Groundhog Day – making the same mistakes time after time, a new report claims.  

Groundhog Day is a  1993 film, starring Bill Murray, about a man forced to relive the same day

Groundhog Day is a 1993 film, starring Bill Murray, about a man forced to relive the same day

It may not seem as scary as facing the same cold shower, blizzard and life insurance salesperson every day until the end of time, but it can seriously damage our financial health.

For Phil Connors, the only way to escape the never-ending time loop is to change his ways – and breaking these five common money mistakes below could help you build wealth.

To help people alter their routines and prevent them from repeating the same financial mistakes, investing firm Hargreaves Lansdown has revealed the five most common habits people get stuck in and what they can do to break the cycle. 

It says that changing your approach to finance and replacing these bad habits with good routines means you can escape reliving the same patterns.  

In the film, it takes getting stuck in a time loop for Bill Murray’s character to realise he needs to make a change – deprived of that Hollywood conceit, we should all take a look at our finances and see what we can do to make a change before to break the same routine that’s topping us getting richer.

1. Doing things out of habit

As we don’t have the energy to make an active decision about absolutely everything every day, we tend to pick up habits. 

However, if we’ve done this without really thinking about it, some of our regular habits could be costing us a fortune.

Regular habitual spending could be simple behaviour like buying a morning coffee or a Friday takeaway, or even sticking to buying the same brands when shopping – without trying cheaper own brands.

People could be getting stuck in their own financial Groundhog Day - repeating old habits

People could be getting stuck in their own financial Groundhog Day - repeating old habits

People could be getting stuck in their own financial Groundhog Day – repeating old habits

People can often get stuck in having all products from one bank, such as credit cards, mortgage and savings accounts. 

This has been reiterated by the Financial Conduct Authority who found 75 per cent of people have a savings account with their current account provider.

Many stick with the same providers without considering moving but this means that savers are losing £1.1billion in interest by not switching.

To combat this, shop around for a different savings account and take a look at This is Money’s best buys table to find the best savings rates. 

2. Not quite getting round to it

It’s not just costing us money on a day-to-day basis, but long-term procrastination can have a profound impact. 

Thinking about and making decisions in advance could save you a lot more cash than you might think. 

For example, transport is one of the biggest outgoings for many people and they could be paying up to 50 per cent more to buy train tickets at the station on the day of travel as opposed to pre-booking. 

Insurance is another major outgoing so don’t fall into the trap of being charged 20 per cent more for insurance renewal just because you asked for a quote on the day it expired – rather than three weeks in advance when it’s cheapest.

When heading abroad, travellers could also be paying 10 per cent over-the-odds for currency at the airport. 

Make sure to get more for your holiday money by taking advantage of a free currency exchange card. 

One easy way to not lose money is to keep to the tax return deadline and save yourself from having to fork out a £100 fine for missing it – although, that advice is too late for this year for millions who did just that.

3. Having a once-and-done mindset

When we eventually get round to tasks, we assume we’ve done all we need to, and push it to the back of our mind. 

It means that as time goes on we end up with more expensive deals and with less and less rewarding accounts.

However, the Competition and Markets Authority found that sticking with savings and mortgage providers, insurers, mobile and broadband companies costs us a £4billion a year.

 Are you living in your own Groundhog Day? Take steps to break your own bad financial habits

 Are you living in your own Groundhog Day? Take steps to break your own bad financial habits

 Are you living in your own Groundhog Day? Take steps to break your own bad financial habits

One way you can cut down on costs is to find a cheaper mortgage. To find the cheapest one you can apply for, check out This is Money’s handy calculator

It is also worth using price comparison sites to see if you could be getting a cheaper deal.  

Despite this, Hargreaves Lansdown found that 40 per cent of people have never switched their savings account and two thirds also say they won’t be switching in the future either.

However, the FCA have found the average interest rate on an easy access savings account that had been opened within the previous two years was 0.82 percentage points higher than those opened more than five years earlier so it is worth having a look around to see if you can find a better deal. 

If you’re looking for a better bank, take a look at This is Money’s best current accounts.  

4. Shoving paperwork into a drawer

Groundhog Day is based on the day of the same name that sees people from around America and Canada gather in locations across their countries to see a groundhog emerging from its burrow.

The legend goes if the groundhog appears and sees its own shadow, it will retreat back into his burrow and this will signal that people can expect six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t retreat, people believe this means that spring will arrive early. 

Are you guilty of any of these common habits?

Do you frequently perform any of these five habits?

Let us know in the comments section below. 

Hargreaves Lansdown is urging people not to retreat from their problems but instead, face up to them. 

It said unless we open our paperwork, read it, and put it somewhere we’ll be able to find it, we’ll keep running into the same problems.

These problems include losing receipts, which make it difficult to assert your consumer rights, not reading the small print of insurance excesses and exclusions and not keeping tax return documents safe.

It could also mean unexpected payments go unchallenged if the necessary paperwork is not available.

Don't be like the groundhog and retreat: face up to your finances and organise your bills

Don't be like the groundhog and retreat: face up to your finances and organise your bills

Don’t be like the groundhog and retreat: face up to your finances and organise your bills

Insurance automatically gets renewed which, for car insurance alone, means you’re 50 per cent more likely to be paying £800 a year for cover than if you shopped around. 

If you’re not on top of your finances, you could keep letting your insurance renew – missing out on saving hundreds of pounds.  

It is important to keep all your bills and important documents carefully filed so that you are able to access them when needed and keep an eye on how much you are spending and on what.  

5. Thinking we’re ‘getting away with it’

It’s easy to assume that because we’re not feeling the effects of our actions today, there are no negative consequences, but they’re lying in wait for us further down the line.

When you repay the minimum on a credit card for example, the card firm is happy, but you’re paying a fortune in interest. 

If a 0 per cent deal expires without you paying off the balance, it is important to consider how you’ll eventually repay it.

If you can, it is advisable to pay back as much as you can for your credit card to avoid high fees.  

It is also easy to spend everything you earn – especially when pay day comes around – but it is advisable to save money so that you have enough to cover emergencies.

Something else people often put to the back of their mind is pensions – especially as it seems like such a long way off until it will be needed – but by doing so, you may reach retirement with much less funds than you expected.

Use our pension calculator to find out how much you need to be saving to fund your retirement.

How to kick the bad habits

Once a year: Keep a spending diary for a couple of weeks, to identify your expensive spending habits.

Look at your plans for the future, like pensions, savings, and investments, to see where you stand. You can use This is Money’s guides to see if you could be saving more money.

Consider your borrowing – check you can afford it, and make sensible plans to tackle it.

Get out your diary and make a note of when you need to tackle annual tasks – like shopping around for insurance, booking a holiday and getting a better deal on fixed term deals – like utilities and mobile contracts.

Once a month: Flick through your diary for the coming month, and make a list of all the things you need to do in advance – from booking trains to getting holiday money.

If you can plan ahead, you are more likely to get better deals and save more money. 

See if there are any expenditures throughout the past month that you think you can cut back on for the upcoming month.  

Once a week: Open your post, read it, act on it, and file it. Make sure that you know where you are keeping all of your documents so when the time comes, you can locate them quickly. 

Don’t leave letters or emails unopened that may contain important information.  

THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST SAVINGS DEALS

 



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