I know Halloween was yesterday, but most of us are probably still dealing with a sugar hangover…or are still ingesting all that delicious candy. So even though I’m a day late, I wanted to talk about some scary money mistakes. Like zombie debt, making these financial faux pas may haunt you – sometimes for years and years to come.
Buying Stuff You Cannot Afford
Sure, looking good in that new outfit or having the newest iPhone sounds appealing. But if you can’t afford it, unnecessary purchases that aren’t in your budget can be an evil force (maybe like a poltergeist?) that you can’t get rid of easily or quickly.
Having an Unrealistic Budget
Some people think they can stick to a bare bones budget, but then after a little while find out that it’s unrealistic. Compare income and expenses and come up with a budget that you CAN stick to. And remember, it’s about realistically balancing needs, wants, and savings (not necessarily in that order).
Not Having an Emergency Savings Account
When you don’t have money in savings, there’s that little stress demon in your head that makes you worry. Because if an unexpected expense pops up, you don’t know where you’re going to get that money and/or you the only other option you might have is to charge it. So do what you can to set aside money in savings ASAP; even if it’s a small amount, you have to start somewhere!
Keeping Up with the Joneses (or just trying to)
This one is hard simply because we’re only human. We want to take a trip to Vegas on a whim because our friend asked us. Or we see pictures on Facebook of our cousin’s trip to Ireland and think “I want to go to there!” It’s not easy sometimes, but try to remember that life is what we make it and memories are more important than things. So try to focus on yourself and your family, not what others are doing. Don’t let FoMO cause debt and it’s horrifying effects.
Not Taking Advantage of Money Moments
Finances can be frightening, but there are little things we can do to improve our financial situation. Save change; take advantage of employer match for retirement savings; download a free app that rounds up purchases and puts it into a savings account; add your tax refund to emergency or retirement savings. Or when you get a raise – even if it’s minimal – act like you never got it and automatically transfer your raise amount from each paycheck into savings.
Not Celebrating the Little Victories
Thinking about reaching your goals may be scary. So set realistic goals and have a mini celebration when you achieve them. For instance, if you are trying to save up $1,000, treat yourself to an in-home spa day or fancy dessert when you reach the $500 half-way mark. Just don’t forget to celebrate those little victories!
If debt is your biggest financial fear right now, the good news is LSS is here to help. Call us at 888.577.2227 for your FREE session with one of our experienced financial counselors. Or, click to GET STARTED ONLINE. Take action now to conquer your debt…we can help you avoid future money mistakes!
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.