When it comes to managing money, we all know what we should do: save money, build credit, keep a budget and avoid overspending. But if we don’t do those things, what could happen? How screwed will we really be? And the real question — how dumb is it? When it comes to silly money mistakes, these take the cake.
Pay your bills late. A lot of people make late bill payments because they forget — not because they don’t have the money. That means that this money mistake will not only cost you, but it’s also completely avoidable. Paying your credit card bill late usually results in a late fee, so consider setting automatic reminders for yourself so that you pay your bills on time.
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Bounce a check. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever write a check that will bounce. First, you should never write a check for an amount of money that you know you don’t have in your bank account. But secondly, writing a check that will bounce is completely avoidable because of the overdraft laws that were rewritten a few years ago. Banks used to collect massive overdraft fees as a result of consumers writing checks that bounced or withdrawing too much from their account using their debit cards. But now, many banks allow for you to sign up for overdraft protection, which means if you do withdraw more money than you have in your account, the overdraft amount will be automatically added to your credit card or taken from your savings account.
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Carry a balance. The common myth that many people believe to hold true is that carrying a balance on your credit card is good for your credit. The truth is, carrying a balance not only doesn’t improve your credit score, but in some cases, it could lower it. The best way to manage your credit cards is to pay off your balance in full each month, if you can. If you can’t, be sure to pay more than the minimum do so that you’re not paying outrageous interest fees.
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Not save. For life’s unfortunate mishaps, it’s extremely important to have an emergency fund ready to go when you need it. I’m not talking thousands and thousands of dollars (sometimes, saving that much just isn’t possible). But putting away just a small amount each month could add up to more than $1,000 over the course of the year. And in the event of an emergency, you’ll be happy you have it.
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