Being in the midst of my debt elimination process, it's a bit hard to narrow down the habits and purchases that hold me back the most. I know I've managed to rein in a lot of bad habits over the past year, and my spending on things like lunch at work has dropped dramatically. I think there are really two "vices" that are tied for the number one spot:
- Collecting - I am a rampant completist when it comes to music, movies and books. Once I have a few albums by a given artist, it becomes a mission for me to pick up their entire catalogue. Similarly, I've filled my bookshelves over the last few years with dozens of graphic novels, and hundreds of comic books (I'm sure J.D. can relate). I've managed to get myself on a strict budget for this sort of thing, but the urge is most definitely still there.
- Tracking my investments - I confess that I keep Google Finance open in my web browser throughout the work day, and I check my investment account balances at least once a day. This is unhealthy, and dangerous, especially with respect to my retirement accounts. The more closely I watch these investments, the bigger the chance that I'll react emotionally to a market jump, and make a stupid decision that affects my long-term outlook. One of the differences between index funds and ETFs is that index fund prices only change once a day, whereas ETFs fluctuate throughout the day. To me, the real-time tracking of ETFs is one of the most appealing things about switching to an ETF portfolio, but it's also one of the dangers that's keeping me on the fence.
What's your biggest financial vice?