Ever feel like you're the worst person ever at managing finances? Think again! We're all guilty of overspending, ignoring our debt or even wasting money from time to time. In fact, there are a number of common mistakes we're all making on a regular basis. Do any of these sound familiar to you...?
1. You don't have a monthly or weekly budget
If you find yourself keying in your pin code with a silent prayer that your card isn't declined, you're in good company. Many of us don't have a budget of any sort and instead bumble through the month hoping ends will somehow meet. Take control and assess your income and outgoings. Your outgoings must be smaller than your income. Then, make a budget and train yourself to stick to it!
2. You bury your head in the sand
When we owe money, it's natural to run a mile and hope the problem goes away. Some of us do it for a few weeks, but many of us do it for years before we finally crack. Stop feeling so worried about it by confronting your debt head on: find out what you owe and crack on with formulating a plan to pay it back. 'Better the devil you know,' is one of those sayings that is very true when it comes to finance, so take ownership and figure out how you're going to handle it.
3. You want the things your friends have
We're all prone to envy from time to time... whether it's a nicer car, more holidays or a seemingly endless pit of money, our friends always seem to be doing better than us. However, you don't know what your friends' situation is: they might not be able to afford their lifestyle, so stop aspiring to match them pound for pound! Instead, stay in your financial lane: if you earn less, or owe more, you'll have to realign what you're expecting to own and enjoy. It's not at all bad though; you might find that having less makes you more creative with how you spend your money, and that there are plenty of cheap things that are fun and fulfilling.
4. You don't have an emergency fund
We know - meeting your monthly outgoings is a tall enough order before you even think about pensions or savings plans! But, if nothing else, make sure you open an emergency account so you can build up a stash of money for unexpected circumstances. Many of us don't have one of these, but cars break down, boilers go bust and roofs fall in when you're least expecting it... so focus on creating an emergency fund to deal with life's nasty surprises.
5. You're biting off more than you can chew
It's natural to want to pay your debt quickly and be rid of payments. But, try to go steadily - this is a marathon, not a sprint! It's actually important to pay back what you can afford every month, which doesn't necessarily mean pushing yourself to the edge of your financial limit. Instead, you should be able to repay your loans and meet your outgoings and still have a little bit leftover just in case the kids' school uniforms cost you extra next month.