3 Money Mistakes I’ve Made and How to Avoid Them

What has been your biggest money mistake? Did you run up a credit card with cute clothes from the mall? Did you take out too much in student loans and use the excess for unnecessary expenses? If y’all remember my first post here, I confessed that while I’ve never been in debt, until recently I had absolutely no credit history. While I consider that my most major money mistake, I’ve made a few more that I’m sure others could learn from. 😉

1. Refusing to build credit when I had the chance.
Like I said. This is by far my biggest money mistake because it takes so long to rectify. There’s not a budget or side hustle in the world that can build credit faster than time and the credit bureaus will allow. You may remember that I was terrified of credit cards as an 18 year old college student because I thought sure I would rack up tons of debt that I had no way to pay off. Little did I know that by avoiding them altogether rather than using them wisely I was setting myself up for trouble later on. It is so much harder to build credit when you’re 27 and have no credit history.

How to avoid it: Start building credit as soon as you’re able. But be sure to use it wisely! You don’t want to end up with a whole pile of consumer debt to pay off!

2. Waiting until age 25 to start saving for retirement.
I know in the grand scheme of things this is not all that late to start saving but I just keep thinking how much more I could have in there if I had started at 20! I kept thinking that I was too young to think about retirement but that’s not true! It’s never too early to start preparing for my future! I keep looking at my Roth IRA and thinking “What if I’d started it just five years sooner!” What if? If I’d started contributing just $50 per month at 20 I’d have an extra $3000 saved for retirement.

How to avoid it: Start saving for retirement as soon as you can. For a lot of us younger folk a Roth IRA is a great option. Whatever is best for you, do your research and start early!

3. Over-budgeting and over-analyzing.
Sounds crazy, right? But there were a few times in my life when I was a little short on funds and rather than admitting that maybe a little side income or small loan would have been a good idea, I let myself get ridiculously stressed about money. I did not consider any options other than cutting my budget thinner and thinner. What I would up with was a LOT of stress and anxiety and a bill paid late from time to time.

How to avoid it: Accept your limitations. I’m not advocating for borrowing unnecessary money but there may be times where you need to weigh the cost of mental health against the cost of a small loan.

 

Hopefully sharing these mistakes has been at least a little helpful. We all make different mistakes and the beauty of PF blogging is that we get to learn from each others mistakes rather than all making the same ones! 🙂 So let’s hear it…what has been your biggest financial mistake?

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Comments

  1. I also made the mistake of not building credit score early, as I was dissuaded from getting into credit for financial reasons.

  2. totally agree on #2. I wish I’d started saving as early as possible. I’m only 30 now, but those few years combined with compound interest over my working life would have been a lot of money (even if I only put away $100 a month or so).

  3. Nice article, these are definitely helpful tips. My parents got me on the right track about credit from Day 1 in college. They helped with paying it off but once I got a job, I paid it all myself, and it was a good feeling. To this day, I have amazing credit. When I was living alone and tried to rent out my room, the complex I lived in required credit. I must have interviewed 10+ people, all of whom had no credit. I was amazed how many students went through their college years without trying to build credit.

    I’ve experienced the mistakes of 2 and 3, but I don’t want to get into them now. So I’ll just leave it at, thanks for reminding me I’m not alone when I did stupid things with my money.

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