Money management makes my head hurt…seriously…I can’t think of anything less fun to think about. And it’s no wonder. We aren’t born knowing how to manage money. Most of us aren’t taught how to handle it either. We figure it out along the way, through much trial and lots of error (and if you are me…lots and lots of error.) Money mistakes are almost a rite of passage. At least that’s what I tell myself to not be too down when I make them.
Poor mindset around money and bad spending habits (money mistakes 101) wreak total havoc in our personal finances which in turn causes crazy amounts of stress that trickle down through every area of our life.
There are 3 main money mistakes that I’ve made and that I see my consulting clients make all the time…
Money Mistake #1: Shiny Object Syndrome
Some things are just hard to resist—especially when your friends and colleagues are all gushing over them, sharing discount codes, and bragging about how this “new thing” has solved all their problems or made their life so much easier.
I’m super guilty of this…In the last 2 weeks alone I’ve been an amazon.com frequent purchaser because this influencer recommended this product or this guru told me I need this book…It gets expensive keeping up with the Joneses. Lol.
If you find yourself catching shiny object syndrome frequently, here’s a two step plan to help you…
• For “too good to refuse” offers, plan for achieving a positive ROI before you purchase. If you cannot find a (realistic) way to make the purchase pay for itself, don’t buy it.
This applies to personal and biz stuff. For example, if you want to buy an acupressure mat, the ROI (return on investment) could be saving money on weekly massages.
• For exciting new ideas, create a “someday” list. Jot down your idea and a basic outline (basic, don’t get caught up in the details- it’s a time suck), then get back to the task at hand.
Money Mistake #2: Falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’m not using this subscription, but I can’t give it up! I’m still paying the launch price and now it’s much more expensive!” Then you’ve fallen for the sunk costs fallacy. (Enter my current newspaper subscription that I never read but can’t let go of. Or better yet, my gym membership…lol)
This money mistake is common and we all fall victim to it from time to time. Simply put, the sunk costs fallacy is what makes us justify investing more money or time in something—even though we’re not seeing results—because we’ve already spent so much. It’s what encourages us to repair the car one more time (after all, you just put new tires on it), eat a meal we don’t enjoy (simply because you’ve paid for it), and yes, continue to pay for tools and resources you’re not using.
Take a few minutes and examine your current expenses. What are you paying for month after month that you’re not using? Either plan to put them to work for you, or cancel them.
Money Mistake #3: Too Much Penny Pinching
You thought this was all going to be about overspending, didn’t you? Here’s the kicker: Spending too little is just as bad.
When you’re constantly on the lookout for free and low-cost stuff or working 16-hour days because you “can’t afford to outsource,” you’re not doing your family or business any favors. Sure, it looks like you’re bootstrapping and working really hard to make something from nothing, but what you’re really doing is digging yourself a rut it will be nearly impossible to climb out of. Not only that, but you’re reinforcing a scarcity mindset that will continue to plague you for years if you let it.
Rather than pinching pennies, learn to spend more strategically. Buy what you need, when you need it. Invest in top-quality products and programs rather than settling for the low-ticket, half-baked ones. Just like quality clothes, cars and furniture, quality services and software last longer and work better.
What are some of your money management tips that work for you? I’d love to hear about them!
Lots of love,
ps. If you are looking for a great money management tool, check out mint.com.