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9 Ways to Damage Your Financial Standing

Sarah Kaufman



Are you truly in control of your money? Take a look at these easy ways you could be killing yourself financially.

1. Paying the minimum on your credit card balance. Doing this means you’ll pay more in interest and it’ll take you longer to pay it off. It would take almost 10 years to pay off a $1,000 credit card balance (at 14% APR) if you were to only make the minimum monthly payment. If you can, pay the balance in full at the end of each month.

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2. Not having an emergency fund. What if your home goes into foreclosure? What if your health insurance doesn’t cover an important prescription? What if you get a divorce? An emergency fund is for the “what ifs” in life. We hope we never have to use it, but it’s there when we need it.

3. Not having insurance. Protect yourself and your stuff. The added security will leave you feeling more in control of your life, and it could save you financially in the case of an emergency or tragedy.

4. Having nothing saved at all. It’s no secret that spending money is much more fun than saving it, but it’s important to save at least a little, no matter what your income is. If nothing else, your small savings can double as your emergency fund. One of the best ways to get over the intimidation of putting away money is to set up an auto-transfer or direct deposit each month. That way, the money automatically comes out of your checking account or paycheck, and you’ll get used to living without it.

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5. Paying too much for a house. Just because the bank approves you for a home loan doesn’t mean you can afford to pay that amount. The best way to determine what you can afford to pay is to create a budget. Add up all of your monthly expenses, subtract that from your monthly income, and you’ve got yourself a realistic monthly mortgage payment.

6. Being deep in debt without a game plan to get out. If you’re holding onto a lot of credit card debt, stop using your credit cards. Continuing to recklessly spend your money will only further hurt your financial standing, and the, “What’s a little more?” mentality has got to go. The first step to creating a game plan to get out of debt is to revisit your budget and factor in your monthly debt payments.

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7. Spending more than what you’re bringing in. It’s budgeting 101 — don’t spend more than you have.

8. Not paying your bills on time. Use Manilla.com for automatic bill pay reminders, or set reminders of your own. When you don’t pay your bills on time, you’ll not only hurt your credit score, but you’ll also waste your money on late fees.

9. Not having a budget. It’s the root of nearly every one of these problems. Not having a budget means you may have no idea what’s going on with your money. You may not be sure how much you can realistically spend each week, and you probably don’t track what you do spend. All it takes is about 30 minutes, so sit down, create a budget and start taking control of your finances.

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