Here are common, and costly every day mistakes and ways that you can avoid them

3/07/2017


I have messed up financially so many times than I care to mention. In fact, most of what I’ve learned about money,  I learned it the hard way — by making stupid decisions and missing opportunities. But now I'm growing and I refuse to make the same mistakes too many times. They are too costly.

We all make financial mistakes but such errors are particularly painful when they cost you some hard-earned cash.

In this economy, we can't afford to lose money. But unfortunately,  life’s hectic pace sometimes challenges our ability to adequately monitor our household budget, occasionally allowing important financial concerns to fall between the cracks. Still, this doesn't mean that we can't do what we need to do for ourselves financially.

Here are some of the more common, and costly, every day mistakes and ways that you can avoid them.

Honestly, I can't stress this enough. Please don't ignore the power of education. Many women are “hands-off” when it comes to their finances, leaving the decisions to a partner or a financial advisor. Not taking steps to understand your money and how it works for you is a mistake. You need to take responsibility for your own education and that way you will know how to use your money in a satisfactory way and build your own wealth (even if you’re married). Remember do not be afraid to seek professional help if you have questions or need advice.

I do my best not to overspend. Overspending, or living beyond your means, ignores the necessary balance required to keep your personal finances viable. And I've learned that when I spend my earning excessively, there is only one way to equalise my balance sheet – borrow money - and I'm not going for that.  And once you are entrenched in the cycle of borrowing it is hard to break it, leading to unmanageable debt and compounding mistakes you cannot afford to make. Avoid overspending especially on frivolous things.

Don't do rough estimates of how much you need to spend every month. For example, I had to fix my floor and1 percent here, 2 percent there—and over time, the fees you pay will take a serious bite out of your money. Those little expenses that you feel don’t matter, actually do matter. They take tons of your money, but you don’t notice because they are so little. Always be accountable to how you spend your money, and what every cent is spent on.

Save for retirement. We tend to assign more importance to today than to tomorrow. If you currently have a job and you are already under pressure with your finances, how is it going to be when you are old and you can't work?  So many times, retirement planning takes a back seat to daily money matters, leaving would-be retirees with insufficient resources. The fact that only 6% of South African's have a retirement plan is proof that we don't plan for retirement. The thought of being old and not being able to take care of myself is scary enough but to be broke and rely on government keeps me very disciplined with my retirement plan. This means that part every part of your rand that you earn during your working years should go toward funding your non-working years.

Paying for services you don't need anymore. If you’re paying for services or products that no longer serve you, stop making payments for those things. Last year, I had DStv full bouquet. I am not even sure why I got the full bouquet because I couldn't even watch a quarter of their programmes. Last year I decided to cancel the subscription and no I don't miss OPW or iSibaya. And if I want to watch Bloomberg I just go online.
So whether it’s a gym club membership or a magazine subscription, consider how much value those memberships and subscriptions really offer. Do a personal audit to see which services and subscriptions you pay for actually add value to your life and cancel those that don't. Always cancel subscription at the right time to avoid extra charges.

Learn to DIY. I have fixed my clogged up drain and doors by watching those Youtube videos.  Do you really want to pay the price for gardening, painting, car washing, mowing and cleaning? You can save that money by doing many tasks yourself. In the process, you’ll gain the satisfaction of self-reliance. You may decide some DIY projects like growing your own vegetables and cleaning your own house are satisfying and worth the savings. On the flip side, consider that there are times to back away from DIY projects to save money and avoid catastrophe and injury.

Saving is important. Stop procrastinating when it comes to savings. Make savings a lifestyle. Don’t choose to save whatever is left at the end of the month, else you wouldn’t have anything to save. Plan on saving a certain percentage from the beginning of the month. And don't do what I used to that is make significant budget cuts in one area of your finances in order to save more money, but end up splurging in other areas, thereby wasting your savings.  This is fruitless.

No one can be perfect all of the time but if you can avoid making some of these costly mistakes you can save both time, money, and a lot of headache.

So...be honest, how many of these mistakes are you making?

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