I’ve come a long way in my financial journey. From a debt-ridden college grad who struggled to pay her bills to a homeowner who’s financially stable enough to start her own business, it’s been quite a ride.
Along the way, I’ve had my fair share of mistakes (and then some!). But I wouldn’t change too many things. Sure, if I hadn’t made these mistakes I’d most likely have a lot more money now, but I’ve always said that I’m happy because if I had to make financial mistakes, thank goodness I did so at a young age.
In making these mistakes over the years, I’ve learned so much about myself, about money and about the psychology behind financial decisions. I’ve also learned how to budget, why it’s important to save for retirement and how to gain control over emotional spending.
With each mistake I make, I take time to analyze my mishaps to the best of my ability. I try to figure out the who, what, when, where and why in an effort to avoid making the same mistake(s) in the future. After all, if you’re not learning from your mistakes and aren’t changing your behaviors, what’s the point in analyzing anything?
Big financial mistakes I’ve made
If I were to list all of the mistakes I’ve made with money over the years, I’m quite certain this list would be way too long. Instead, I’ll focus on the biggest ones that have had the largest impact on my financial present and future:
I put my head in the sand
When I was struggling with ballooning credit card balances, I made a horrible error by trying to ignore the situation. Despite how I joke about becoming the Princess of Interest and Queen of the Shredder, I shudder to think about how I used to behave. If only I’d faced the situation head-on earlier, I’d probably have saved myself thousands by not spending mindless and recklessly.
I shopped away stress
Accumulating all of my past credit card debt (Yep, over $14K) didn’t happen overnight. It was a product of my misaligned tendency to shop when I was stressed, angry, bored or wanting to feel social. I viewed shopping as an outlet rather than a necessity for finding the things I need at a great price. I was all about the want when I really should have focused on the need. I also, for a brief period of time, defined myself and self worth by the things I had and the money I could spend…ugh…ick…blech.
I struggled in silence
Not once did I reach out to family or friends about my financial situation. Why? Because deep down, I was ashamed, embarrassed and felt guilty. Instead of asking for help or soliciting advice from those I trusted, I continued to shop my way into oblivion. It wasn’t until I discovered the MSN Money boards that I found some much-needed inspiration and support to tackle my financial demons.
What are the biggest financial mistakes you’ve made?
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