Just because you’re an expert in something doesn’t make you infallible. And when it comes to personal finance, chances are you may have made some wrong decisions before you feel like a money management ninja.
In fact, it is the lessons learned from mistakes that can lend credibility to your cause. So with this in mind, we asked 4 top personal finance bloggers to reveal their biggest financial missteps – and, more importantly, how they fixed them. Here’s what they said:
1. Falling for “The American Dream”
J. Money – BudgetsAreSexy.com | RockstarFinance.com
“My biggest mistake was buying a house with no money down, no budget, and on a complete whim. After a few months I realized I better get my financial act together, so I went online to research and ended up falling in love with finance blogs, which later motivated me to start my own and eventually become self-employed through it.
Ever since I’ve paid attention to my money every single day, and while I still slip up from time to time – and even do things most frugal people would never (like buying a Lexus!), I’ve learned that you’ve gotta live your own life no matter what others are saying. I had no business buying a home all those years ago, but because it was the “American Dream” I went for it even though it didn’t match my personality or lifestyle. I’ve since sold it and now very much enjoy renting (*gasp*), but I’ll forever be grateful for how much it changed my life.”
2. Not thinking about what matters
Miranda Marquit – Plantingmoneyseeds.com
“My biggest money mistake was not thinking about what matters to me. My failure to understand my values and priorities led to mindless overspending. When I started paying attention to how I use my money and I started making sure I understand why I spend the way I do, my spending became more focused and I waste a lot less now.”
3. Being too cheap in your 20’s
Paula Pant – Affordanything.com
“This may sound counterintuitive, but my biggest money mistake was being too cheap during my early 20’s – obsessively scrutinizing every penny, often at an enormous cost to my time and energy.
I’d spend four or five hours buying groceries, for example, visiting multiple stores to chase the weekly sales. Since I was only shopping for myself, so the total money I saved across those five hours amounted to around $10 or $15. I never thought about the value of my time.
My biggest financial recovery, therefore, came when I started focusing on earning more rather than penny-pinching.”
4. Didn’t realize that everything is negotiable
Cassie Price – Wealthgenerationcollective.com
“For a long time, I didn’t realize I could stand up for myself and that everything is negotiable. I thought I just had to take the terms and conditions of any business deal, credit card, something that might have gone to collections. It took me into my 30’s to realize that I could negotiate. I could ask for a different payment date on my cell phone or credit card. I could negotiate a reduced payoff for a credit card I defaulted on in hard times, I could ask for different payoff schedule for a business loan. Learning these things has been tough, but I no longer feel like I am powerless around money.”
What’s your biggest money mistake so far? Share it in the comments below.