You’ve been there before. We all have.
You think you are being financially smart by implementing a brilliant new money move only to have your plan completely backfire, losing you time or money. The result? You’re left feeling downright dumb.
If this has happened to you, you are in good company. Everyone has made a financial mistake at least a time or two.
Keep your money smarts by avoiding these 8 common money mistakes that make you look dumb.
# 1- Trying to “Game” the Credit Card Company
Everybody has tried to get one over on the credit card company at some point in time. And why not? After all, who wouldn’t want to rack up airline miles and cash back rewards just for swiping their credit card. I know I sure would.
The problem with this mentality is that it leads to over swiping. Over swiping your credit card leads to not being able to pay your bill in full, and not paying your bill in full means paying super high interest rates.
Sorry, but that interest just wiped out all of those cool rewards you were racking up.
# 2 – Trying to Beat the Stock Market
Just like those who plan to game the credit card company, there are also people who plan to beat the stock market. This is perfectly fine IF you are a professional investor and that is your job.
However, if you’re investing with the long term in mind (retirement) why would you risk all of your money trying to beat the market? (Hint: Most people who do this lose A LOT of money.)
You are not a pro and pros even get it wrong half of the time. There’s no need to show off here, invest with common sense. Want to learn how to invest, check out this Investing 101 Course or these Top Investing Blogs.
# 3 – Passing Up on Your Employers Retirement Plan
It’s not a terrible thing to pass up an employer’s retirement plan if you have your own retirement accounts that you regularly contribute to. Especially if you don’t like the options your employer gives you. However, it is flat out dumb to pass up an employer’s retirement plan if it has a match.
Why give up free money? Be money smart; take full advantage of that match!
# 4 – Paying a High Insurance Premium for a Low Deductible
Whens the last time you reviewed your insurance policy? Did you happen to take a look at your deductibles? If you currently have low deductibles on your home or auto policy then you are leaving money on the table.
A lot of money is wasted by keeping insurance deductibles too low. The money you save by increasing your deductibles could be put in savings account. In less than a year you would have enough money to cover your new, higher deductible. All the money after that is pure savings.
# 5 – Earning Low Interest While Paying High Interest
Another common money mistake is putting all of your money into low interest bearing accounts while paying minimum payments on high interest consumer debt. Your money would be better spent tackling your high interest debt than sitting in a low interest account.
Do yourself a major favor and tackle your consumer debt head on.
# 6 – Buying New When Used Would Suffice
How many times have you paid for a pricey new item and then barely used it? Do your research before making major purchases. A lot of the time you can find quality used items for half the price of brand new items. Buying used may even enable you to buy much higher quality products than what you could afford to pay for new.
Let someone else take all the depreciation on consumer goods for you.
# 7 – Trying to Keep Up With the Joneses
Social media has made “keeping up with Joneses” even more sought after. Since you can now watch someone live their life online it’s hard to keep jealousy at bay. Your Facebook feed is cluttered with people showing off their new cars, houses, boats, and other big ticket items. Just remember, you don’t know the whole story. Those people could be sitting on a mountain of debt over their new purchases.
Remember material objects are not important and they definitely aren’t worth going into debt over. Like Dave Ramsey says “Don’t keep up with the Joneses, the Joneses are broke!”
# 8 – Spending Your Savings
Another common money mistake is taking time to trim your budget only to spend the money you cut out. If you are trying to reduce your budget the money you save should be applied to one of your financial goals. It makes no sense to stop buying your morning coffee to save money but then spending that money on extra food at lunch.
The same goes for coupons. If you are using coupons to save money, you should have something to show for it. An excess of items that were a “good deal” and that you rarely use is not saving money.
There you have it 8 money mistakes that make you look dumb. Don’t feel too bad if you have made one or more of these mistakes before, we all have. Personal finance is about trial and error and then you eventually find your financial personality.
What money mistakes have you made?
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.
Great points Alexa! I honestly think I have made all of these at least at sometime or another. The problem isnt making the mistakes sometimes its not learning from them after you’ve made them. I don’t know how many times I have seen people think they can time or beat the markets and fail.
Yeah, you are right. Unfortunately a lot of people do make these mistakes more than once. Especially when it comes to trying to beat the credit card company or stock market, it’s just so tempting for some.
I am guilty of “Buying new when used would suffice”; but i’m sure we’re all guilty of at least one offense listed here! Have a great afternoon Alexa!
I must confess to being guilty of dumb mistake #2. I imagine many people who are interested in finance and investing have thought they could beat the market early in their career. Another mistake I made was not using an escrow account to bundle my home loan, insurance, and property taxes into a single monthly payment. I saved money by not paying for the escrow account, right up until I was late with my property taxes one year. That cost me around $250 dollars in a late fee. I suppose I still came out on top by not paying the escrow charges for all the years of the mortgage, but I sure felt dumb paying that late fee.
Trying to beat the stock market is the silliest ever mistake that some people make while others attempt. I’m guilty of having done so a number of times until I realized I was making a mistake.