Most people can admit to financial management or budgeting mistakes that theyve made once or twice, but for others, certain habits may have developed into a repetitive cycle of bad behavior. A mistake here and there can create a bump in the road for those trying to save money, pay down credit card debt or eliminate their students loans. However, errors that are repeated frequently can slowly derail an individual’s finances and make it more challenging to get back on track.
There are several spending mistakes that fall into this category, and it’s important that consumers work to avoid them to help strengthen their financial profile. For example, many people immediately spend the bulk of their paychecks as soon as they receive them without properly accounting for savings, unexpected costs such as birthday presents or holidays and bills. As a result of failing to spread out their income, they often fall short at the end of the pay cycle and are forced to scrimp to make ends meet. Developing a proper budget complete with payment due dates, strict savings guidelines and wiggle room for extra costs can help individuals avoid this dangerous cycle of spending.
Another common error involves steering clear of credit cards and loan products. While avoiding debt may initially seem like a smart idea, it can actually hurt consumers in several ways. Avoiding these products makes it nearly impossible to build credit, and individuals credit scores and reports are used by a number of individuals – lenders, employers, landlords and insurers – to make determinations about consumers. Rather than avoiding credit altogether, learning to manage it wisely is a better and beneficial alternative. For example, keeping credit balances low and only charge amounts that borrowers can pay off in full each billing cycle can help them build their credit responsibly and avoid interest charges. Seeking favorable loan products that don’t impose unrealistic terms and excessive interest rates can also help borrowers ensure they make their monthly payments without straining their finances.
Knowing when to ask for help
Some individuals who find it challenging to dig themselves out of debt or improve their finances may also be guilty of another common mistake: failing to seek guidance. There is no shame in working with a credit counselor or financial advisor when times are tough and consumers are unsure how to break bad behaviors. Professionals can not only help consumers develop a solution that falls in line with their individual situation, but can also steer them toward resources to help them slowly change poor habits into good ones.