You know the obvious ways that procrastination can impact your life: the annoyed looks you get from friends when you’re late for dinner—again. The “we need to talk” meeting that your boss schedules because you’ve missed yet another deadline.
But what you might not realize is that you pay a bigger price for constantly putting tasks off—both in opportunity costs and in actual costs that impact your wallet.
Unfortunately, procrastinating is a hard habit to break, says Shari McGuire, a time-management expert and author of “Take Back Your Time: 101 Simple Tips to Shrink Your Work-Week and Conquer the Chaos in Your Life.”
“Some people enjoy the euphoric rush of a last-minute push to accomplish a task,” she explains. “Others get caught up in what’s called analysis paralysis, in which they overthink something and never get around to taking action.”
A third trigger? Self-sabotage. Basically, you’re fearful that you don’t have the expertise to complete a goal, and you put it off so that you’re not found incapable. In this case, “[you figure] not getting it done is better than trying and failing,” McGuire adds.
Regardless of the reason why you drag your heels, it’s time to get smart about the financial repercussions of poor time management. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top money consequences of procrastination to show—in real dollars—how it can wreak havoc on your wallet.
1. You pay your credit cards late.
This procrastination tendency is one of the worst things you can do to your finances for several reasons. The obvious one is that you’re slapped with a fee: $25 for the first violation, and $35 if you’re late a second time within the next six months.
But that’s not the only financial hit that results from being late to pay on your credit card. If you miss two consecutive payments, your credit card company can jack up your interest rate, which means you’ll be charged even more for any balance you carry from one billing cycle to the next.
If you have a card with an introductory offer for a 0% APR, the penalty can be even worse, says Bob Gavlak, a CFP® with Strategic Wealth Partners in Independence, Ohio. “If you’re late just once, all of a sudden your rate can rise upwards of 20%,” he explains. In fact, the median penalty APR, often applied to consumers who pay late, is a whopping 29.99%.