15 Money Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

3/26/14 6:30PM EST

15 Money Mistakes You Shouldnt Make 15 Money Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Paramount Pictures/Wolf Of Wall Street

With the economy so up and down, having financial stability in your life can be difficult to obtain. There’s no magic spell that will help you save money and keep your head above water, but there are things you can avoid that will ensure you make smart financial decisions. Check out these money mistakes you shouldn’t make and your bank account will be happy!

1. Charging Everything To Your Credit Card

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Credit cards try to entice people to use them for everything by offering bonuses, cash back, and rewards. This can be a great way to get perks if you’re able to pay off your bill each month, but if you can’t, then you’ll go into a deep well of debt that will be nearly impossible to climb out of. Most credit cards have high interest rates that exponentially increase your amount due every month. You don’t want to be paying off a $5 purchase three years down the road!

2. Carrying A Large Credit Card Balance

Carrying a large balance means you’re gaining more interest, which in turn makes your balance higher… it’s a never ending cycle! Knowing you have a large amount of debt will also make your financial problems seem even more daunting than they are, and it will seem harder to pay down and eliminate your debt completely. Try to charge on your credit card only what you can pay off each month. This means you won’t have a balance carrying over every month, and it will also help improve your credit score.

3. Paying Only The Minimum Amount Due

The more you can pay on your monthly credit card balance, the better. For example, if you only make minimum payments on a $3,000 balance, it will take 18 years to pay off with a 15 percent interest rate! In that time, you will pay $3,229 on interest alone!

4. Making Late Payments

Making late payments on any sort of bill will only add fees to what you already owe. Companies waste no time in tacking on a late charge, and some might even put your account in jeopardy. Paying late can also mean your credit score will suffer, sometimes by 100 points at a time, because you’re not being a good customer.

5. Not Paying At All

If you can’t pay your bill at all, don’t just let it go to a collection agency. Call the company or a lender and let them know you can’t pay right now. Surprisingly, many companies are willing to work out a different payment plan if it means they’ll get their money. Of course, you’ll probably end up paying even more in interest, but it’s better than letting unpaid bills show up on your credit report.

6. Romancing Beyond Your Means

When you’re out in a bar, it’s easy to get caught up in the drink-buying culture. However, don’t spend all your money on $10 drinks – whether they’re for yourself, or someone attractive across the room. The same goes for how much money you should spend on an engagement ring or a wedding. Instead of shelling out lots of cash for the courtship, instead find someone who shares your values and wants to save money for the future, like buying a house, a car, vacations, or anything else you desire.

7. Borrowing Money For Cars

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If you don’t have enough money to buy a nice car outright, then you probably don’t need to be that picky about what you’re driving. Instead of borrowing money for a fancy car, get what you need – a decent car that will run without eating up a lot of money for maintenance and repairs. Be practical – you might not turn a lot of heads when you cruise down the street, but you’ll feel good when you see those savings adding up in the bank.

8. Going Without Insurance

Insurance seems like one of those monthly bills you can do without, but that isn’t true. You’re not paying a fee every month for nothing – you’re paying for insurance that, if something does happen, you won’t be financially responsible for everything. If you’re in a wreck and have insurance, you won’t have to pay for car repairs. If you get sick and go to the hospital, your health insurance will pay your medical bills. Insurance is beneficial because otherwise things you don’t think of could wipe out your savings.

9. Going To School “Just Because”

Education is important, but make sure it’s necessary. Research your chosen career path and find out exactly what classes and degrees you need to have to be successful. Too many people waste time and money going to school for things that aren’t required for their jobs. This means once you’re out in the workforce, you’re already saddled with expensive student loans that need to be paid off. Try and see if you can instead go to a trade school, get a certificate, or have an apprenticeship to get your dream job.

10. Going Into Debt

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Eating ramen for dinner and taking public transportation isn’t glamorous, but it’s necessary if you want to get ahead financially. Pinch your pennies carefully – sure steak sounds delicious, but ramen can be just as filling! Instead of going into debt by living what you think is the good life, buy only what you need for a few years. After that time you can be proud of a big savings account that will buy things way more valuable than fancy meals.

11. Putting Off Saving For Retirement

It seems unnecessary when you’re starting your first real job right out of college, but it’s never too early to start saving for retirement. The younger you start, the more you can shop around! Often the IRAs or savings accounts with the highest interest request that you keep the money unavailable for a longer period of time. If you start a retirement fund at 25, having your money tied up for 25 more years is no big deal! And when you hit your golden years, you’ll have even more money than you put in, thanks for the interest.

12. Not Having A Savings Account

It’s recommended by financial advisors that you have enough money in your savings account to pay your bills for three months if you find yourself unemployed. This is a great way to figure up your monthly budget and see how much you need to stockpile. Try to put aside more into your emergency fund if you can, because the more money you have saved, the more comfortably you can live if you’re laid off or find yourself hit with unexpected medical bills or expenses.

13. Having Bank Accounts With No Interest

Most bank accounts offer low interest rates, but you shouldn’t accept anything as ridiculous as 0.01 percent! Shop around and find insured bank accounts that might offer as much as 1 percent interest – they do exist!

14. Paying Bank Fees For Simple Accounts

When you’re shopping around for bank accounts with decent interest rates, make sure you’re paying attention to bank fees. In order to make money, banks might charge fees for anything from having a low balance in your account to taking your own money out of an ATM.

15. Borrowing From Family And Friends

Borrowing money from friends and family – or anyone you remotely like – is always a bad idea. Loaning out money creates an awkward situation if you need more time to pay back the loan, and if you’re unable to pay it back at all… well, find a new social circle or somewhere else to go on Thanksgiving! Nothing makes a relationship more strained than when money is on the line.

 
 

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