In my view there are two types of mistakes in your financial life. Big mistakes and little mistakes. And in order to cleanse yourself from financial distress, you must address both the big and the small. There are some really odd things you need to know before you can start preventing the mistakes. Let’s take a look
The Big Stuff
Self-sabotage can come in many forms. The most obvious of these forms are big mistakes. What is a big mistake? A vacation you can’t afford, furniture that you finance, buying a car when you are upside down on another car, buying a house when you haven’t sold your other house, These are the massive mistakes that many people make. The strange thing is that these are the easiest mistakes to fix. All you have to do is focus on your end goal. You aren’t going to buy a new couch if you are actually focusing on your financial future. Big mistakes happen when you purposefully ignore your financial situation. Frankly, it is really easy to stop making big mistakes.
The Small Stuff
If it doesn’t sting when you hand someone your debit card or credit card, then you need to watch out for the small stuff. The small stuff is hard to spot, and it is hard to stop. The average person uses their debit card 5 times per day. That is way too much. When you make that many purchases, transactions don’t feel real. Convenience is not benevolence. The small stuff problem is the hardest habit to kick. If you are use to eating lunch out every day, then you are going to have a hard time breaking that habit. If you order a bottle of wine every time you go to dinner, then you are going to have to stop that. Think of all the little things you do that hurt you financially. Ordering soda instead of water, buying DVDs instead of renting them, and having four pairs of brown dress boots are all things that will kill you slowly.
You must control the small stuff and the big stuff. You will most likely knockout the big stuff first. It is easy and tangible. That being said, I had a client last week that still has a problem with the big stuff, but completely has turned around their small stuff problem.
Figure out how much money you want to save this month, and then dig through your spending statements. The big stuff will jump out at you, but it is the small stuff that matters. Don’t give up. You deserve better.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.