How to bust 12 bad money habits

Eliminate one of these each month, and in a year you’ll be free of a dozen bad money habits. Check out our blog at the begining of each month for the next installment.

Stop doing these things

Everyone is guilty of a bad habit or two.

But it’s not your addiction to Candy Crush or your refusal to recycle grocery bags that worries us. It’s the habits that damage your finances — from overspending to procrastinating about paying bills — that set off our alarms.

In fact, we’re so committed to helping you change your less-than-stellar money habits for the better that we’re featuring a series of articles this month that specifically examine the science, psychology and strategies behind behavior change.

And what better way to kick off the series than with a month-by-month guide to financial self-improvement for the whole year?  

March: Neglecting to get the best rate

Sure, paying your bills on time is a good habit—but paying more than you should is a bad one.

Case in point? Astronomical cable bills for the 300-plus channels that you never have time to watch. And you’re not alone: The average monthly American cable bill, including phone and Internet services, was $128 in 2011—that’s triple the price from 10 years ago.

Start by poking around your provider’s website to see what kind of introductory and special rates they currently offer. Once you have an idea of what you could pay instead, call your provider to see if there’s any wiggle room on your rate.

How much you can save: If you can negotiate only $10 off your monthly bills, you’ll save $120 a year. If you go a step further and cancel your cable to save $100 a month, that comes out to $1,200 a year. Put that cash into a retirement account (see October) and you could help grow your savings!

Check back in April for more money saving ideas!

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