I’ve been known to make mistakes here and there. In fact, I usually admit that right off the bat when I first meet people.
I’m klutzy, which means I’m bound to spill 1-7 full cocktails on you throughout our friendship, and I’m also impulsive, meaning I’ll do something stupid without consideration for its consequences (that will in some way awkwardly affect you).
It kind of makes sense why I used to be so terrible at money when you think about it. I had no regard for why the things I was doing with my money were wrong.
And that’s usually why people make mistakes. We don’t realize what we’re doing is a mistake at the time.
We think that parking in a no-parking zone for 20 minutes isn’t going to get us a ticket. We think that buying a shirt even though we haven’t gotten our paycheck yet is a no-brainer. We think that holding off on buying health insurance for awhile won’t affect the fact that we play rugby.
We are only human.
However, as humans, we are capable of learning. Meaning that each mistake we make becomes a lesson in itself. We discover that mistakes we have made were irresponsible, or irrational, or just plain idiotic.
And then we never make them again.
Right? *she says in a super high pitch voice only dogs can hear*
I’ve received over 11 parking tickets in my life, over 3 speeding tickets, and gotten into 1 car accident (that was my fault). You’d think I’d learn after each of those mistakes, but the only one that managed to knock some sense into me was the accident.
A few months ago, I rear ended someone.
And it seriously sucked. I ended up paying just under $2000 (taken straight from my emergency fund) for damages. But the bigger lesson I learned was how poor judgment will cost you.
We all continue to make money mistakes, because it’s impossible to be perfect with something that requires a ton of patience and perseverance. Which is why I like to believe that money mistakes are different than others.
You can hide them, you can avoid them (for a little while), and you can pretend it never happened until you receive your paycheck.
Which is why it is so important we learn from them.
Most of the time when we make a mistake it affected someone else, hurt someone else, or someone saw you do it. But with financial flubs, the only eye-witness is you.
There is nothing stopping you from going out and doing it again because no one knows you did it in the first place. You’re untouchable.
Until it catches up.
Until you finally realize that you are in over your head and there is no way to fix this mistake unless you seek help or start to make a long overdue lifestyle change. I’m actually pretty sure that’s another definition for reality. Hit me up, Webster.
How can you stop making those mistakes?
- Write it down
Each time that you make a financial mistake it is your own job to hold yourself accountable. Write it down in a notebook and remember why this negatively affected your financial goals and plans.
- Try to correct your mistake
If you have a way to fix the financial mistake, by setting up a small emergency fund for situations like this, give it a shot. There is nothing wrong with correcting something that was avoidable.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
The saying goes that we are our own toughest critics, and how true that is. No one has control over the choices you make, and they certainly will never truly understand why you do things. So, don’t let them.
Of my largest money mistakes, not many have been replicated so far, and I’m super thankful for that. You work hard to develop the skills to maintain a solid budget, and stick to a financial plan. Don’t let something that was avoidable ruin those moments.
Alyssa Fischer claims she’s not an expert on personal finance — which is why it’s easy for her to explain financial topics without getting too intense. You can find her on her blog, Mixed Up Money, where she proves money isn’t boring (and that it’s also a little funny). You can also spend all day ranting with her about your finances on Twitter.
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