The pressure to keep up with our peers in our younger years can be a subconscious but very real underlying cause behind some poor financial decisions. To help guide you through, we’ve put together a list of 14 money mistakes to avoid.
Here’s a list of things you could stop doing if you no longer want to rely on the bank of mum and dad, or that credit card.
Going without a budget
If you’re looking for somewhere to start when it comes to creating a budget, jot down what money is coming in, what cash is required to cover the bills and any loans you’re paying off, and what might be leftover to split between savings and the fun stuff. This will help you identify where there’s room for movement and where you could be cutting back.
Using your credit card for everything
Credit cards are convenient, but they’re often more expensive than other forms of credit as they usually charge higher interest rates which means you could end up paying back a lot more than what you initially borrowed.
Keeping up with the Joneses
The pressure to stay up to date with your peers and even celebrities can be a subconscious but very real motivation behind some of your poor financial decisions. Try to live within your means, stick to realistic goals, and when you’re looking to make a purchase, ask yourself if it’s something you really need or if it’s something you simply want this week.
Borrowing money from those nearest and dearest
When you’re in a bind you may be tempted to ask your folks or bestie for a cash hand-out but remember it could put some strain on the relationship, particularly if it becomes a regular thing.
Buying or taking a loan out on a pricey car
The purchase price of a new car is one thing but remember added costs (such as insurance, rego, petrol and regular servicing) are another.
Pursuing higher education without a plan
While it’s possible that tertiary qualifications could increase your employment opportunities and potentially help you to earn more over the course of your career it’s also not guaranteed. With that in mind, it’s worth asking yourself whether the field you want to enter requires tertiary qualifications. After all, if you can get where you want through alternative routes, these may be worth exploring, particularly with the average debt for a tertiary student in Australia about $19,1003.
Quitting your job after a bad day
You may not like where you work but if you’re planning your exit march it’s wise to have another gig lined up, as it could be months before you find another opportunity and have cash coming in again.
Not prioritising what you really want to do in life
The benefits of thinking ahead when it comes to what you want are pretty clear. For instance, buying a car, going on holiday and moving into a new apartment all within a six-month period mightn’t be financially doable, but if you spread those things out they might be.
Saying ‘whatever’ to an emergency fund
Only one in four Aussies has savings to stay afloat when faced with unforeseen circumstances. And you don’t want a busted phone or car tyre, let alone a bad landlord or lover, leaving you financially stranded. An emergency stash of cash could give you some peace of mind and reduce the need to apply for a loan or ask someone you know for a handout.
Avoiding the money talk with your partner
Nearly one in three Australians in a relationship claims they fight about money at least once a month. So, before you set up joint accounts or make a big purchase together, think about how you’ll both contribute. And if you’re planning on moving in with that special someone, make sure you’re also across what happens to your finances if you split up with a de facto.
Spending a fortune on the wedding
The average wedding today costs around $36,200, with 60% taking out a loan and 18% using their credit card. To avoid blowing your budget, start saving, talk to your partner (and parents if they’re involved), write down what you can afford, get quotes, and look at how many and who’ll be on your guest list early.
Being blasé about protection
There will be people who’ll inevitably suffer from an unforeseen event that will leave them incapable of working at some point in their lifetime. While you may choose to go without insurance to save money, for a number of people it may be affordable through monthly premiums or paying out of their super money, but do your research.
Choosing a property that’s not within your means
Whether you’re renting or buying, it’s important to think about the upfront and ongoing costs involved, and the location you’re looking at as different suburbs come with different price tags.
If home ownership is on the cards, get a full run-down of the costs you’re likely to come across.
Not caring about your future self
It might seem like a lifetime away but with some people looking at a retirement of 20 years or more (and the Age Pension alone unlikely to be enough to support a comfortable lifestyle), putting money into super may be worth thinking about while you still have time on your side.