Whether you're living paycheck to paycheck or building your future in a long-term career, you're probably no stranger to financial issues. These days, most people face numerous money issues that can become life-altering problems if they aren't handled carefully.
For you to live your life to the fullest, you'll need to know what to look out for -- and how to prepare for anything life might throw at you.
If you're under a money crunch or giving careful budgeting a try, you probably have a rough idea of the guidelines you should follow for what you should do. However, we can't forget to talk about the things you must avoid to save money.
Don't Keep Your Money in a Stale Account
If you're able to set money aside as a parachute to save you from hitting the ground hard after unexpected events, you'll be able to avoid additional debt.
One of the key aspects of budgeting is undoubtedly a smart savings account to keep you safe and sound. Saving may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure that you're money isn't sitting stagnant. Research growth accounts that increase your balance through interest without you lifting a finger.
Don't Make Poor Decisions
Too many of us have a constant slew of minor expenses. At this point, we all know we could cut back on our latte, scratch-offs, and fast food habits.
Those little things definitely add up, but so do the big.
For instance, you might be tired of your old car and trade it in for a new one with a monthly payment higher than you first realized. You may end up buying a more expensive house than you can afford and failing to make monthly mortgage payments. Or, you might put yourself through a private university on student loans and end up with hundreds of thousands in debt.
Too many people believe they can squeeze their way into a bigger and better life and simply figure out how to make ends meet, then end up bankrupt with ruined credit. Make smart financial decisions!
Don't Settle for Less Than You Deserve
One of the most common financial mistakes to avoid is complacency. Your earning potential could potentially be more, but if you haven't asked for a raise or looked around for another job, you will never know how much income you're leaving on the table. You can discover your potential by:
- Setting up a meeting with your boss to discuss your accomplishments over the past year. Prepare ahead of time by listing everything you have contributed and ask for a raise at the end.
- Scheduling an interview with another company. Even if you love your job, you could be making more money somewhere else. It doesn't hurt to test the waters, and then you know how much you are worth. You can leverage another job offer into more money at your current job or leave for greener pastures.
Don't Make Impulse Buys
Everyone has those moments where they weigh their wallets and realize that they could afford something they really want, if they only were to buy it right now.
"Forget about the consequences -- you can afford it!" your brain says.
It's time to take control. Make yourself stop, by any means necessary. Convince yourself that you'll go home and sleep on it. When you do, you'll have that much more money from not spending, and a better perspective on that purchase.
Don't Waste Energy
When you're saving money, you can find more than ever if you get a little stricter with yourself and your family about your energy usage.
Take a moment and look around your home. How many lights are on? How many appliances are plugged in but not being used?
Anything plugged in or turned on that's using electricity is costing you money you don't need to spend. Turn them off, unplug them, and count the savings at the end of the month.
Don't Rack Up Credit Card Debt
If there's one thing nearly everyone with money troubles in the modern world has in common, it's credit card use. Don't be mistaken—properly handling a credit card can be a great way to build your credit and ensure you always have some extra money around for emergencies and necessities. But if you don't know the proper etiquette, you might end up way worse off.
One of the biggest temptations for anyone who doesn't quite have the money in the bank to afford bills, food, or new toys is to put them on a credit card and look the other way.
If you only ever pay the minimum on your balance or ever miss a payment, you might find yourself accruing high interest and severe penalties on your account. Once credit card debt starts piling up, it can be extremely difficult to pay off.
Credit card debt is one of the most stressful aspects of any American's financial burdens, so do your best to avoid adding to it at all costs when trying to save money.
Don't Avoid Talking About Finances
Did anyone ever talk to you about common money mistakes when you were growing up? If you have had money management problems in the past, it may be because you never learned about finances. Don't let your kids fall into the same trap. Talk to them about basic financial literacy and explain the importance of saving early. You should also inform them about:
- Credit cards
- Interest rates
- Saving for retirement
They're never too young to learn about money.
Don't Pay Bills Late
Late payments mean late fees and worse credit. Even if it means cutting your spending from other areas of your budget, do everything in your power to pay off your bills on time.
If forgetting to pay bills on time is a problem, creating a schedule can help. Make a list of all your bills and their due dates and place it in a visible location. Another option is to use automated payments where a preset amount is automatically deducted from your checking or savings account each month.
Don't Pay for Things You Can Do Yourself
Do you currently use services such as drop-off laundry, car washes, lawn care or housekeeping?
Consider doing these things yourself instead of paying others to do them for you. It will require a little more time and effort on your part, but you'll have a lot more money available to add to your savings.
Don't Save Small and Buy Big
So, you've been doing a good job of eliminating those small, unnecessary purchases that have been "nickel and diming" you to death. That doesn't mean you should run out and make a major purchase.
Remember — the reason you've been striving to cut expenses is to build up your savings. If you buy that new appliance, expensive smartphone or automobile, you'll undo all that hard work and sacrifice and end up right back where you were before.
Don't Forget to Set Financial Goals
Think about where you'll be in a few years. Maybe even a decade. What do you see?
If you're reading this, odds are you haven't put much thought to it. If that's the case, it's time to start planning.
You must have financial goals lined up for both your near and far future. That means where you'll be next year, and where you'll be when you retire.
And as the population of the world lives longer, you might need to plan for an even greater number of years than you expect. Your grandparents might have lived into their seventies and eighties, but there's a good chance you could live to be well over a hundred!
Don't let these same mistakes add up over time to destroy your credit and your bank account. Playing smart with your finances is your golden ticket to a comfortable life!
Don't Skip Out On Insurance
If you don't own a home, you might not think you need insurance. But what happens if you rent and your things are destroyed in one of the natural disasters that occasionally strikes Oklahoma or Texas? Or what if your valuables are stolen? Renter's insurance is a small expense that covers the value of your property.
Even if you don't have anything really valuable, the cost of all your small possessions adds up. Plus, renter's insurance does more than pay for your things if they go missing. It also covers your liability in case someone has an accident at your rental, whether it's an apartment or a house. You may think you'd be covered under your landlord's policy, but you aren't. Renter's insurance is a smart bet against the unexpected.
Don't Obsess Over Your Credit Score
Guess what? Your credit score doesn't define you. It doesn't determine whether you are a good person. It can't fix your financial future. While you should monitor your credit score, you shouldn't stress out about it. You don't need a perfect credit rating to obtain the money you need.
Even if you have demonstrated poor money management in the past that led to personal finance issues, you can come back from a low credit score. And you can still get a loan with one. Atlas Credit makes loans based not on your credit score but on your future potential to pay the loan back. Once you have shown you can make regular loan payments, your credit score will rise.
Still, you will probably never obtain a perfect credit score, and that is okay. You don't need it.
Atlas Credit Can Help With a Personal Loan
If you find yourself suddenly tight on funds, consider applying for a personal loan from Atlas Credit. People all over Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma have qualified for loans up to $1,400, even if they have bad credit. If you need extra help to get through the month, you can always reach out to a personal loan company like Atlas Credit. Explore the website or stop by an Atlas Credit location today to find out more about how you can start rescuing your finances!
Getting a consumer installment loan from us is quick and easy. You can come in person or fill out and submit our online application. If you qualify, you'll likely get your funds on the same day you apply. Contact Atlas Credit today to learn more