There’s so much advice about what you should or shouldn’t be doing with your money that it can be hard to determine what’s essential.
Let’s cut through the distractions and get to the basics. People waste money every day, and you want to avoid that.
Here are some common mistakes you want to avoid, plus what to do instead to get ahead financially.
Eliminate your late tax debt
Each year, the IRS forgives millions in unpaid taxes. If you have more than $10,000 in tax debt, or have 3+ years of unfiled taxes, you could get forgiveness too. You might be eligible to lower the amount you owe, or eliminate your tax debt completely.
Easy Tax Relief could help you lower or get out of your tax debt for good. They’re well respected in the industry and have been recognized for their ethical standards when dealing with tax debt. While most tax companies just put you on a payment plan and file your taxes for you, Easy Tax Relief talks to the IRS directly. They can help you pay off your tax debt faster while potentially reducing what you owe.
Important: Not everyone will qualify. To take advantage of this special program you must owe more than $10,000 in past-due taxes.
Not saving for retirement
It might not be the most instantly gratifying task, but saving for retirement is one of the most important. Putting money away in a 401(k) or an IRA is a great way to care for your future self.
Take a look at what you spend in a month, and you’ll likely find areas where you’re being wasteful. Starting today, those can go toward retirement.
If you don’t save, you’ll probably have to deal with the consequences later. Instead, do yourself a favor and save now. Every dollar counts, and you might even find yourself able to retire early.
Missing your employer’s matching contribution
Some employers offer a 401(k) contribution match to a certain percentage. You put 3% of your salary in your retirement account, and your employer matches it with an additional 3% contribution.
Not all employers offer it, and the maximum contribution varies, so read your onboarding documents. But it’s an easy way to save extra money towards retirement and maximize your employee benefits.
Spending more than you earn
If you spend more than you earn, it could impact your finances for years to come. Overspending can become a habit and negatively impact your savings or lead to unnecessary debt.
But even beyond that, you could end up falling for the trap of lifestyle creep and begin living beyond your means.
Instead, try to stick to a budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; you can still find ways to enjoy life without breaking the bank.
If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources
Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.
How to become a member today:
- Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
- Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
- Start enjoying your discounts and perks!
Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.
Not having the right insurance
Insurance might not be exciting, but it’s vital. If you don’t have the necessary insurance, you could pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to cover situations that could have been insurance claims.
Homeowners insurance, renters insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, and pet insurance are all types of insurance you might want to consider depending on your circumstances.
Comparing yourself to others
It’s tempting to compare yourself to other people. Whether you are comparing your finances and thinking that the other person is doing better or worse, it can be challenging to stay focused on yourself.
Even beyond that, comparisons can sidetrack you from your money goals. Here’s the thing — you’re on your own financial path, and it’s okay if that looks different from other people’s.
Never saving an emergency fund
It’s challenging to save an emergency fund, but it’s worth the effort. If you don’t have one, you might turn to credit cards or other types of loans in emergencies.
But if you have an emergency fund, you can use that money instead to keep yourself in a good financial position.
Buying a house that is too expensive
It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the house-hunting process. After all, it’s probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make.
But you want to avoid one house-hunting mistake: a home that is too expensive. The last thing you want is to feel stressed about money for years to come. Instead, opt for a house that falls within your current budget.
If the home that fits your budget isn’t exactly what you envision, you can always make renovations down the road.
Procrastinating the budget process
Budgeting is an essential tool. If you don’t have a budget, you might be overspending each month, saving less than you could, and not even realize it.
If you can take some time to make a budget, you can help create a clear picture of how much you earn, spend, and save.
Not shopping around for providers
Whether it’s an insurance or healthcare provider, it’s usually a good idea to shop around. If you don’t, you could pay more for the same service.
Over the years, the extra expense can add up and dent your savings. That’s why comparing prices and quotes might be a good idea.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Forgetting to check your credit report
You can check your credit report for free once each year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Even if you don’t have any concerns about your score, it’s a good idea to check for errors or fraud.
If you don’t, you could deal with a stressful situation later. But luckily, it’s easy to check your report and doesn’t take long.
Waiting until tomorrow to start
Life is busy, and telling yourself that you’ll start focusing on finances tomorrow can be tempting.
If you make a habit of that, years can pass. Instead, make time to prioritize your finances today. You might be able to reduce your money stress in years to come.
It’s impossible to perfectly manage your money, and perfection doesn’t need to be the goal. Instead, focus on small steps to improve your finances now and in the future.
By avoiding these costly mistakes, you have the potential to keep more money in your wallet and put yourself in a stronger financial position over time.