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Struggling to keep your finances in order?
We’ve all been there.
Financial missteps can happen quickly, and sometimes painfully, so it’s important to have a plan of action for each situation.
There are many common mistakes that people make with their money, making late payments, never having an emergency fund, or spending too much on frivolous items instead of saving for the future.
But we’re constantly inundated with other money issues that cause us concern without realizing how they can really hit our wallets hard over time.
In this article, we’ll cover 14 stupid money moves we’re still making today but shouldn’t be.
From not refinancing high-interest loans to ignoring signs of financial fraud, you’ll see what steps need to be taken to keep your wallet protected from unwanted losses.
#1. Spending Money You “Will” Have Later
We all have an idea of the income and expenses we anticipate in the future.
But often, we let our expectations lead to us overspending on items that may not be necessary.
For instance, if you think you’re going to get a bonus or raise at work, don’t plan on spending that money before it is guaranteed.
This could lead to unnecessary debt or overspending, which can cause long-term financial stress.
#2. Believing Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
Getting rich quick is not a reality.
There are no easy shortcuts to build wealth; it takes hard work and dedication.
Therefore, you should be wary of any get-rich-quick schemes or investments that promise high returns with little risk.
These are often scams and could lead to big losses in the long run.
It’s important to take the time to research any opportunity before investing, and never put your money into something without understanding the risks.
Finally, remember that it takes time to build wealth; be patient and have a long-term outlook on your finances.
By taking the time to plan for your financial future, you can set yourself up for success in the long run.
#3. Thinking You Can Save for Retirement Later
Retirement seems like it’s exceptionally far off to some people.
Then, all of a sudden, you blink, and you’re retirement age with no savings, no investments, and only social security to live off of.
Prioritizing retirement is something that every adult should do at every age throughout their lives, but it’s something that people will generally ignore until they’re much older and right at the finish line (sometimes due to economic issues that prevent them from saving).
Think about retirement now, create a roadmap to help you work towards it, and start putting away however much cash you’re able to.
#4. Not Creating an Emergency Fund
Saving isn’t just something you do when you have a goal for the future.
Everyone should have some form of savings that they can dip into when an emergency arises.
An emergency fund is a good chunk of change for a rainy day.
Whether you’re looking to save enough to cover a major car repair, several months of rent should you get laid off for any reason, or something else, developing an emergency fund is always a good idea.
#5. Carrying or Ignoring High-Interest Debt
High-interest loans are sometimes unavoidable.
What’s not avoidable are the payments you need to make toward that loan, even if the general attitude seems to be that it will go away eventually if you ignore it for long enough.
Too many will carry debt that continues to grow or ignore it, hoping they won’t have to deal with it.
What happens is that the interest continues to tack on more money to the total amount until it becomes an insurmountable debt.
If you need to take on high-interest debt, create a plan of action, and make sure that you’re constantly chipping away at it so that it doesn’t rise out of control.
#6. Engaging in Impulse Spending
There are plenty of things we want to purchase that might not be perfect to buy at this point.
Those who impulse buy lack self-control and spend more money than they can afford on many things they want.
Of course, this can be a trickier issue for those who make this mistake.
Try out strategies like locking up your cards at home, only carrying the cash you need to buy specific products, and getting counseling if you cannot manage your finances without going overboard on unnecessary purchases.
#7. Not Buying Insurance
Insurance can be expensive and generally doesn’t cover everything we need.
That said, having insurance is a much better idea than forgoing it.
Too many will skip out on insurance because it’s too expensive for what they receive.
However, getting into an accident without auto insurance or dealing with healthcare costs without health insurance is far more expensive.
Don’t skimp on insurance even if you don’t think you need it.
#8. Credit Mistakes
Americans often get credit cards without knowing how to use them or what to do with them.
Limited spending, paying off your cards regularly, and staying below 30% of your available credit line is all you need to build good credit.
Unfortunately, some will instead use their credit cards as if they were cash, ma them out, and pay the bare minimum each month as interest continues to raise the amount they owe.
Applying for the right cards and using them wisely is crucial to your financial health.
#9. Buying a Home When They’re Not Ready
Buying a home is a great way to develop a sense of security, save money on rent, and develop generational wealth.
But not everyone is as well-suited for it as they think they are.
Too many people will buy a home long before they’re ready, only to be blindsided by maintenance costs, unable to afford their mortgage during hard financial times, and other such issues.
You should only buy a home if you’ve carefully planned for it and know all the costs of being a homeowner.
#10. Not Consistently Building on Financial Literacy and Education
You can’t fault everyone for having good financial habits.
Not everyone had access to the education that they needed to know how to handle their money, and some people may have even grown up in households that always struggled with cash.
However, you can start now.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to wing it and hoping things will work out.
Use the available tools to increase your financial literacy and advance your financial education.
You’ll never be sorry you learned more about how to manage your finances.
#11. Not Having a Budget
Do you know how much income you have or how much you’re spending every month?
Not everyone does.
Plenty of people don’t currently have a budget, and it’s only contributing to their financial struggles and stress.
Regardless of whether you have an inconsistent or reliable income, set aside some time to develop a realistic budget that will help you track where all of your dollars are going and ensure that you have enough to put towards saving and investing.
#12. Failing to Pay Your Mortgage
Money is tight, especially in today’s economy.
Because of this, you may be forced to choose between things that you have to pay for.
Not everyone has the same priorities.
Some people will pay for things they don’t need and ignore major bills like their mortgage.
This results in foreclosure and worsens the situation considerably.
Always make sure to pay the bills you need to pay and cut or cancel the things you don’t.
#13. Not Focusing on Growing Income
We all want to make more money, but many people simply look for higher paying jobs.
Instead, a better move would be to focus on actionable ways to grow your income.
This could be learning new skills so you can get a larger raise.
Or it could mean starting a side business that earns as much as your full time income.
#14. Ignoring Tax Breaks
We all dislike taxes, but too many people don’t take advantage of the tax breaks available to them.
Instead, they get in a huff about how little in taxes millionaires pay.
But one reason they pay so little is because they use the tax breaks available to them.
Sure an accountant costs money, but a good one can save you hundreds or even thousands more than you will pay for the preparation of your tax return.
Good Money Habits To Have
In order to get ahead financially, we need to develop good habits. Most people talk about bad money habits to get rid of.
Here are good money habits you need to follow if you want to take the next step financially.
Dave Ramsey’s Investment Advice Is Bad For Your Wealth
Dave Ramsey offers a lot of great advice when it comes to getting out of debt and building a solid financial foundation. But when it comes to his investing advice, it’s not what will ensure you with the most money, and could leave you broke.
Fun Money Saving Challenges
Do you find it boring to save money?
If you are motivation by turning things into a game, check out these money saving challenges. There is a game for you that will make saving fun and exciting so that you make it a priority to save money.
Alternatives To Cable TV
Are you sick and tired paying your cable bill?
In the past, your only option was going without TV. But not anymore. Now there are many options out there.
Here are the best ones to look into.
How To Pay Your Mortgage Off Early
If you have a mortgage, you know the monthly payment can be annoying. You pay and pay and yet it feels like your balance never goes down.
That all ends now. Here are the best ways to pay off your mortgage early, in some cases, in half the time.
This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.