Breaking Bad Financial Habits in the New Year 

  • More than two-thirds of Americans’ finances did not improve or stayed the same in 2022 (68%) 
  • 76% of Americans made a financial mistake in 2022. The most common mistake? Not saving any money (40%) 
  • More than money mistakes, 35% of Americans developed bad financial habit(s) in 2022 

Say goodbye to 2022 and all of the (financial) baggage it brought with it. As we near the end of the year, now is a good time for consumers to reflect on the past 12 months and make resolutions for the new year – especially when it comes to their money. 

According to a study conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma, more than two-thirds of Americans’ financial situation did not improve or stayed the same in 2022 (68%). Boomers and Gen X were the most likely generations to report their financial situation did not improve in 2022, 52% and 43% respectively. Meanwhile, Gen Z and millennials’ finances thrived with 38% of Gen Z respondents saying their financial situation improved in the past year, along with 45% of millennials. 

Regardless of how consumers’ finances fared in 2022, the majority of Americans made at least one financial mistake in the past year, leaving them unhappy with the financial outcome of their decision (76%). The most common financial mistakes made by consumers in the past year were not saving any money (40%), not sticking to a budget (33%) and racking up credit card debt  (21%). Although, financial mistakes varied across generations. 

For example, Gen X was the most likely to say they failed to contribute to their retirement in 2022 (23%), whereas Gen Z and millennials were more likely to report overpaying in rent, 18% and 20% respectively. When it comes to investments, millennials (20%) and Gen X (19%) reported their biggest financial mistake was losing money to investments in the stock market or cryptocurrencies. 

Don’t let mistakes become a habit, they said…

Everyone makes mistakes, especially with money, but the key is to not let those mistakes turn into bad habits. According to the study, 35% of Americans developed a bad financial habit, something they regularly do that has a negative impact on their financial situation, in 2022. 

Interestingly, the top two bad financial habits picked up by consumers in 2022 involved food; 46% of respondents who picked up a bad financial habit in the past year say their bad habit was ordering food for delivery or dining out instead of cooking at home, while 37% say their bad habit was buying groceries and letting them go to waste. Guilty! Other bad financial habits adopted by consumers this year include using credit when they didn’t have enough cash in their account to cover purchases (35%), paying for subscriptions they never use (31%), spending beyond their means to keep up with others (24%) and online shopping late at night (23%).

Financial habits look different at every age. 

According to the study, 41% of Gen Z respondents say they shop online when they’re stressed, the most of any generation. Meanwhile, 32% of millennials say they picked up a bad habit of online shopping late at night. Lastly, Boomers were the most likely to report using credit to make purchases when they didn’t have enough cash in their account (46%).

What about a resolution? 

With many Americans’ financial situations stagnating or worsening in 2022, they’re implementing financial resolutions for the new year to help whip their finances back into shape. However, when it comes to financial resolutions, many are sticking to the basics. According to the study, Americans resolve to save more money (58%), spend less money (48%) and stick to a budget (42%). Worth noting, more than one-third of Gen Z respondents say their financial resolution is to get a new job (34%). 

The question is, how likely are Americans to stick to their resolutions? According to the study, 74% of Americans plan to stick to their financial resolutions in the new year, while 20% remain unsure if they will stick to their resolutions and 6% say they are unlikely to stick to them altogether. 

“2022 was a difficult and unpredictable year with significant inflation, a volatile stock market and rising interest rates, which has thrown many people’s finances for a loop,” said Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. “The good news is that we’re nearing the new year which gives consumers the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and make a plan for their money in the new year. Outside of breaking bad habits, I think 2023 is going to be all about getting back to the basics for consumers, including making a budget, saving money and spending less so people can pay down debt and set themselves up for long term financial success.” 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma on December 6, 2022 among 1,009 adults ages 18 and older.