We’re all guilty of making mistakes with our finances from time to time. Whether it’s an impulse buy, being sucked in by a marketing promotion or paying too much interest on your mortgage, it’s likely that you’ve paid too much for something at some point in your life.
While you may be pretty savvy when it comes to money, there’s always room for improvement. To help you stay one step ahead and to remain in control of your finances, here are some cringe-worthy money mistakes that you should try and avoid.
1. Only paying the minimum repayment amount
When a bank sends you your monthly loan or credit card statement, it will outline the minimum repayment amount that is due (normally 2.5 per cent of the closing balance). However, what most people don’t know is that this is a tactic employed by banks to keep you as a customer (and paying interest) for longer.
Only making the minimum repayment on a loan or credit card debt may not seem that bad, but it does mean that you’ll take the longest possible time to repay your debt. Instead of only making the minimum repayment, try to pay a little extra each month to chip away at your debt faster and to pay less interest overall.
In a perfect world, we’d be able to repay the full statement amount every time. But the reality is that many of us can only just afford to make the minimum repayment. This is why whenever you do have some extra cash, you should consider putting it towards your debt as a priority.
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2. Not backing yourself when asking for a pay rise
Women are notorious for not backing themselves when it comes to performance reviews, and frankly, it’s something that we need to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every woman should take their employer aside and request a 20 per cent pay rise effective immediately, but the conversation should be had when it’s due. No one’s going to ask for you.
Women need to start to backing themselves so that they feel more comfortable asking for a raise. Even a 5 per cent salary increase could go a long way in helping you to boost your earning capacity and your financial health. If you’re nervous about asking, have a pep talk with a colleague before your review or jot down some points that you definitely want to raise in the discussion.
Chat with friends or co-workers in the industry to get a feel for what others are being remunerated for, and check out sites like PayScale too.
3. Going without a “rainy day” fund
Failing to establish a “rainy day” fund is a risk not worth taking. If you’re raising a young family, it’s almost guaranteed that an unforeseen expense will come your way. Unexpected medical bills, child care costs or even a sudden loss of employment are just some of the curly costs that you may be confronted with.
A study by finder.com.au, which surveyed 2,031 Aussies, found that 58 per cent of people fear that they won’t be able to afford a medical emergency if it were to come their way. Women (60 per cent) more than men (55 per cent) confessed that an unexpected cost was their biggest financial fear, which goes to show that building an emergency rainy day fund is crucial.
Try to stash away at least 5-10 per cent of your savings in a separate account so that you can cope with the unexpected if it arises.