A recent article from Forbes talks about how to avoid making mistakes with money this New Year…. well yeah, its already June but it’s NEVER too late!!!
Here’s the scoop. Basically, even if you are making more money and still have financial issues, you need to look at your actions instead of your hours.
Eating out every day: While $5 here or $20 there may not seem like much at the time, small expenses add up, and they can really make a big difference. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $3,008 eating out each year. Let’s say that you spend $10/day buying lunch at work. That’s over $2,500 per year, and you haven’t even incorporated breakfast or dinner. If you find that you are low on money at the end of month, but have eaten out every day, maybe you should change your spending habits. By not budgeting your food expenses and preparing meals at home, you are wasting thousands of dollars per year.
To avoid spending frivolously on food in 2019, start setting aside a certain amount of cash each pay period. You have to get out of the habit of swiping your card every time you eat, and this can be achieved if you only use cash to purchase your food and drinks. Treat yourself to dinner, but do not make eating out a daily habit. If cooking dinner is something that you find challenging, you can also try a meal kit service like Blue Apron or HelloFresh.
Being scared to invest: How long are you going to use fear as an excuse for not building the financial life you truly desire? Are you going to let another year slip by while you make excuses? Everyone has to start somewhere, so begin with small steps. Look at the big picture, set investment goals, learn, and just jump in. No one is perfect, but the more you do, the wiser you become. Your fear of making mistakes and potentially losing money is going to cost you in the end. Now is actually a good time for young investors to get started. Think of a market downturn like a Black Friday sale. It’s a great time to go shopping before prices get high again. If you want to get ahead financially, you have to think bigger and better. Start investing in your future today.
Constantly dipping into your savings accounts: If you find that you are constantly dipping into your savings account, it probably means that you are trying to save way too much. You get an “A” for effort if you have been automatically setting money aside in your savings account. Automation is the first step. However, if you find yourself using the money, you have to limit how much you are setting aside. For the New Year, cut your monthly savings number in half. For example, if you were previously setting aside $100 every two weeks, start setting aside $50 instead. You will get there, but you have to stop being so hard on yourself. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Ease up a bit.
After you cut your savings amount in half, open an online savings account that is NOT connected to your checking account, thereby, making it less accessible. Open an online savings account, set up the automatic savings plan, and ignore the account. Set it and forget it.
Your obsession with credit cards: Using your credit cards to gain points is a great thing to do, but not if you aren’t paying it off each month. If your obsession with your credit cards has gotten out of hand, you have an addiction. Like any addict, you need help. In 2019, cut up the cards and build a plan to pay them all down so that you have no more than 30% of your entire limit outstanding. Credit card companies are not here to help you make money. In fact, they are here to help you spend money you do not have, so that they can make money off your emotional spending.
In 2019, if you cannot buy it twice, that means you cannot afford it. If it’s not in your bank account now, that means you do not need it. Let go of your obsession with credit cards, or you will forever feel like you’re stuck in a financial hole.
Not paying attention to what’s inside your 401k: The retirement plan offered to you by an employer, whether it is a 401k, 403b, TSP, or 457, is still your money. It does not matter if the money can be used now or later. It is still yours, so why aren’t you paying attention to it? Ask yourself, “How much of my money do I care about?” If the answer is “all of it,” then you need to know where ALL of it is. You have to stop investing money each month without knowing where your money is going. Wall Street is possibly projecting a recession in 2019, and there’s a high chance that (if it hasn’t already), your money may take a dip. Start looking into your retirement account and see what is there. If you have invested in mutual funds, look at the fund fact sheets to see what investments or stocks are inside of that particular fund. You cannot go into 2019 with the intent to make more money when you are having trouble managing what you currently have.