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We have all made mistakes with money at some point in our lives. But there are some financial decisions that are best to avoid at all costs. They are things that can not only affect your finances today, but well into the future. Here are five money moves you’ll regret making:

Not following a budget.

Say you have enough money every month to pay your bills, contribute to savings and even treat yourself a bit. In that case, you don’t need a budget, right? Wrong! Everyone needs a budget. Keeping track of how much money is coming in, going out, and where it’s going, is the only way you can get an accurate read on the state of your finances. Once you see how all those daily expenses add up, there’s a good chance you’ll want to adopt some money-saving habits that will allow you to reach your financial goals more quickly. Our Monthly/Yearly Expenses Calculator can help you figure out a workable budget.

Not saving for emergencies.

Regular readers of this blog know that we feel strongly about establishing and maintaining an emergency fund. It’s a liquid savings account set aside strictly to be used in the case of a real emergency. This can include sudden illness or injury, major home or vehicle repair, or even job loss. Not having any money put away for emergencies leaves you vulnerable to running up credit card debt to pay for them. Ideally, you should shoot for an emergency fund that can cover at least three months of living expenses, but any amount you save is a move in the right direction. Learn more about funding your emergency savings.

Paying the minimum on credit cards.

This can be the start of developing overwhelming credit card debt. Oftentimes, making the minimum monthly payment on a credit card bill just barely covers the interest accrued for the month. In a perfect world, we’d never carry a balance on credit cards and pay the balance in full every month. If that’s not feasible, make as large a payment as you can every month to wipe out that debt quickly. If you’re already in a situation where your credit card debt is unmanageable, we want to help you with free Credit Counseling.

Not planning for retirement.

It’s tempting to think you can put off saving for retirement. But waiting until your 40s or 50s means you’re going to be under the gun to save enough to retire by your mid 60s. The years are going to go by much faster than you can imagine. Starting to save for retirement as soon as possible puts you ahead of the game and will give you more options.

Not saving for your children’s education.

Of course, there’s no way to know for sure if your child will opt for a college education. But it’s safe to assume they will, and not saving for it can leave your family relying on student loans. If you or your child are already dealing with the burden of student loan debt, our Student Loan Counseling is a first step toward making it manageable.

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