Money mistakes happen to everyone. The scary thing about certain money mistakes is that you might not even think about them until it’s too late. Here are some common money mistakes and tips to avoid them and do proper money management.
Not Establishing a Budget
A budget is one of the most important steps to getting your finances under control, but only about a third of Americans actually maintain a household budget. A budget keeps you aware of what you’re spending every month and on what. It also helps you figure out how much you can save toward your financial goals after your expenses are taken care of, such as rent, groceries, transportation, etc. By knowing where your money is going, you can determine how close you are to your goals, such as saving up to buy a house or a new car. Your budget can show you where you may need to make adjustments in your spending.
Not Saving for Emergencies
No matter your age, income, or socioeconomic status, emergencies can and will happen. You never know what will happen, but you should be financially prepared in case you hit a streak of bad luck. Maybe you lose your job, have unexpected home repairs, or a sudden health emergency. Unfortunately, many people are not even able to cover a $1,000 emergency. Without an emergency fund, you risk going into debt if you use credit cards to cover all your emergency costs.
Heavy Reliance on Credit Cards
There are many benefits to having a credit card, but relying on credit cards too heavily can be a problem. If you have to rely on credit cards to pay bills and other expenses, you’re setting yourself up for debt issues in the future as that interest accumulates. Additionally, you should always pay your credit card balance in full every month. Credit counseling can be another helpful service if you’re having trouble with credit card debt.
Waiting to Save for Retirement
You should start saving for retirement as soon as you can. Retirement may seem far away, but you don’t want to put off saving for it. Many people find as they approach retirement age that they still do not have enough in their retirement funds to stop working completely. If you can contribute to a 401(k) through your employer, it’s a good idea to start there. You should also look into opening up an IRA if you haven’t already. Otherwise, you may not be ready to retire when the time comes.
Don’t let these common money mistakes get the best of you. Putting in the time now to create a budget, save for retirement and emergencies, and reduce your reliance on credit cards is important. Your future self will thank you!
If you struggle with your finances, ACCC has several financial resources you can use. To speak with a certified credit counselor, call 800-769-3571.