Nobody’s perfect. Everyone makes money mistakes at some point in their life. That doesn’t help much, though, does it, when you’re beating yourself up over something you “should” or “shouldn’t” have done? Here are three common money blunders that many (and we mean MANY!) people make, and how to recover from them.
1. The disappearing paycheck
That check looks so large (or at least adequate) when it lands in your account. You take a big sigh of relief because, surely, you’ll have enough to make it comfortably to the next paycheck this time. And then three weeks into the month, the money’s gone. What happened?
Simple: You underestimated how much you’d need to get through the month, either from lack of realistic budgeting or due to one or more unexpected expenses. In failing to budget, in writing, most people don’t understand how quickly little things can add up. In your head, that paycheck is more than enough to see you through, so you splurge on the pricier cut of meat or the extra latte or the lottery ticket. Think about it: $2.73 a day equals $1,000 in a year, more than enough to cover that unexpected car repair or vet bill.
Solution: Write it down. Write down every penny you spend for a month, and create a reasonable budget from that.
2. A blown budget
An even worse feeling than having no budget at all is blowing it out of the water with one or more unwise (in retrospect) purchases. Because let’s face it, that splurge looked not only logical but necessary at the time. You whispered to yourself some version of, “I’ll worry about paying for it later.” But the minute you get it home, or maybe even sooner, reality sets in and you get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when it’s too late to return it.
Solution: Let yourself off the hook. If we were perfect we’d all be rich, or at least very, very comfortable. Sit down with your current budget and see where you can trim it to make up for the indulgence (or let Billshark give you a hand in trimming your bills). Or see if you can sell something to help make up the difference. Try it. As soon as you have a way out, you’ll feel much better about yourself. And then vow to be more careful in the future.
3. Failure to save for retirement
Either you didn’t have enough money to save or were forced to dip into your retirement nest egg for an emergency or unforeseen expenses. Again, you’re not alone. A 2014 Harris poll showed that 74% of Americans are worried about having enough money for retirement.
Solution: Don’t panic! If you end up with more than $25,000 you’ll have more than 60% of Americans. The key is to start saving now. If you can, try to find extra sources of income, either with a part-time job or by selling assets. And by all means, enlist the help of Billshark to help you cut your monthly expenses!