Back when I didn’t know anything about personal finance, I used to always look at my bank account and wondered where all my money went.
If you feel the same, you might be making one or few of these money mistakes.
We’ve all made money mistakes and you know what? That’s ok! All we can do is learn from them and avoid making the same mistake(s) twice.
3-4 years ago, I was making around $70,000/year and felt like I wasn’t really making that much. I personally have made some of these mistakes. Most of them I did when I was in my 20s and just after I started working as a nurse.
But you know what, you can turn your life around. I was able to create +$300K net worth in 3 years. You can too!
In this post I’m going to go over 10 money mistakes you could be making and ways to avoid them.
1. NOT TRACKING AND ANALYZING YOUR EXPENSES
I used to not look at my paystub whenever I get it. In my mind, I am taxed so high that I would just feel devastated knowing I work so hard and a big portion of it is taken out. I also used to not track my expenses. I was a happy go lucky working nurse who is just contented that “i make money”.
To be successful with managing your finances, it is really important to track and analyze your expenses.
Tracking and analyzing your expenses do two things:
- it makes you aware of where your money is going
- it makes you manage your finances better.
Without tracking and analyzing your money, there’s no way you can make improvements to it. One of the best things I did to manage my finances is to download an app that tracks my income, investments, net worth, expenses and bills.
2. GETTING INTO DEBT
Do you consider your debt as an emergency? Because I do! I hate having debt. It feels like it just snowballs. I remember owing $10,000 on one of my credit cards and whew! what a relief to have it paid off. Credit cards could be your friend, but the interest rates for these are RIDICULOUS!
It’s not fun getting your paycheck and having nothing left because of all the credit card bills.
If you’re not yet tracking how much interest you’re paying each month, then now is a good time to do that. You are throwing away money each month that interest accrues.
3. MAKING FINANCES TOO COMPLICATED
It doesn’t need to be complicated. I know talking about money could be overwhelming and frustrating.
You can make your finances simple. Automating is one of the privileges I was able to do to make things simple.
Each month, my employer direct deposits into my checkings account. Each month, I automate transfers to specific savings account/ investment accounts. This way I don’t have to forget about paying myself first. I also automate my bills.
4. BUYING CHEAP ITEMS
Being frugal and being cheap are two different things.
I understand that sometimes we think we are getting the best value when shopping when we spend the least money. When I started making money, I used to buy clothes at Forever 21. They are cheap! you could have tops for less than $10. I end up changing wardrobe every few months because the buttons will fall off or the clothes will stain or rip.
The saying that “poor man pays twice” holds some truth to it.
Instead of buying cheap items, I tend to buy things with good quality nowadays.
5. NOT HAVING AN EMERGENCY FUND
Having a emergency fund is really important. This means that you have money saved up that can be easily accessible if an emergency comes up. I wrote an article about Why you should have an emergency fund.
Typically, you would want at least 4-6 months of expenses in your fund. Having this will give you a sense of financial security.
Keeping this fund in a high yield savings account also is recommended.
Here is one of the banks I recommend to keep your emergency fund: Ally Bank and Capital One Savings with >0.5% interest rate
6. WITHDRAWING FROM YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT
Depending on the type of account you have, there can be penalties and taxes associated with cashing out or withdrawing from your retirement account early (before 59 ½ years old). This is never a good idea and one of my money mistakes.
I moved out of my parent’s house and moved to a new city, and not knowing anything about retirement planning, I decided to take out my pension money. Ended up paying over $4000 in penalty fees and taxes.
There are ways you can take out money before 59 1/2 years old. But retirement funds are meant for long term investments and should be kept in that account until you actually retire. This is also why having that emergency fund is really important because you don’t want to tap into a retirement account for emergencies.
7. BEING TOO BUSY TO LEARN ABOUT MONEY
I have heard so many people have the excuse that they are too busy to learn about personal finance. They say that it’s too complex or that they don’t have time to do it. Money is such an important asset that you need to understand. Learning how to manage your finances is WORTH every second because this is the only way you can build your wealth.
Here are some of personal finance books to get started.
We are doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t invest the time to learn about how to make our money work for us.
It’s also so much easier to access information at this time because of social media and internet.
I have a tiktok page that talks about money & how you can invest early.
8.NOT KNOWING YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Having a good credit score can give you access to great loan products and refinancing options. If you downloaded Mint App, you can also track your credit score there.
Credit cards are really great tools if used correctly. It helps you build your credit score which will give you lots of benefits. I get my credit score FREE through Credit Karma. It’s free and their mobile app is a great tool to have.
9. NOT INVESTING SOONER OR INVESTING THE WRONG WAY
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t, pays it.”
The younger you start, the better! I didn’t start aggressively investing until 2 years ago. If I had been this aggressive when I first started working as a nurse 10 years ago, I would’ve been a millionaire by now.
Also, investing in things you don’t understand is a mistake. I made this blog in the hopes of being able to teach people how to invest in a simple way they can understand. If you’re new to investing, I made an e-book that talks about INVESTING IN INDEX FUNDS. This is a great way to get started. There are also seasoned savvy investors who prefer investing in index funds because it is low risk, diversified and SIMPLE.
10.NOT SETTING FINANCIAL GOALS
Not having financial goals like driving around for hours with NO SET DESTINATION.
It’s a waste.
Financial goals are important and helps you get in track financially. You also should be setting short, mid- long term money goals.
The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”
It’s ok to make wrong decisions when it comes to money. Just as life, this is how you learn and how you avoid making the same mistakes again.
If you have made any of these money mistakes and would like to help others make better decisions with their money, please share this post or pin it!