Five financial bad habits to ditch today

1. Stop credit card debt spiralling out of control

Credit cards can be a useful tool, if you use them in the right way - to make a one-off expensive purchase or transfer existing debt onto a 0% balance transfer card, for example. But it's too easy to rely on cards for everyday spending.

So try and pay off your balance each month, and if this isn't possible, look for a 0% balance transfer card and aim to pay off the total amount during that period. Avoid making only minimum repayments: it will take you a lot longer to pay off the debt, plus the total amount you repay will be greater.

Find the best credit card with Moneywise Best Buys

2. Don't neglect your savings

If you're lucky enough to never stray into the red on your bank balance, make the most of this by moving your money into a savings account or Nisa.

Current account interest rates are minimal but shop around: for example, you could earn 3.3% on your cash if it's tied up for five years in a fixed-rate bond with Agri Bank. Moving money out of your current account also means you'll be less tempted to spend it.

3. Curb your overdraft use

It's easy to factor in overdrafts as part of your monthly income, and they're a useful resource. But it's dangerous to max them out every month.

If you're consistently borrowing from your overdraft, look for an account with low or no overdraft fees. Alternatively, take a closer look at your finances and draw up a budget.

Clear your overdraft for good

4. Stop relying on plastic

We're an increasingly cashless society: credit cards are just so convenient. But it can be hard to keep track of your spending; you can pay by card without fully taking in the cost. If you withdraw a set amount to spend, prices will seem a lot more real.

5. Beat your apathy

It's tempting to stay with the same providers year after year but doing so could cost you.

Remember, loyalty doesn't pay and regular switching of current accounts, for example, could save you hundreds.

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