When it comes to making the right financial choices, there’s no set recipe to follow to let you know if you’re on track. However, there are general guidelines that you may find helpful no matter where you are in life. Whether you’re just starting out or are getting ready to retire, this list of money mistakes to avoid can keep you on the right track to financial success.

avoid-these-7-money-mistakes
Image by Wall Street Journal | Modified by Making Different

Not Saving Money

Whether you’re contributing to your retirement or a rainy day fund, it’s important to put money away for your future. It can be tough to put money away after you receive your paycheck and pay your bills, but every little bit helps and over time that money you put away really adds up, so the earlier you start, the better. To make saving money easier, you can automate your savings so a little of each paycheck automatically gets swept over to a savings account. After awhile you won’t miss the money you’re putting away and your savings can continue to grow.

Neglecting Your Debts

It’s not a bad idea to have a credit card or two on hand to establish credit or to use in case of an emergency, you should try to keep your debt in check. If you do carry debt, try making more than the minimum payment each month or only spend what you can afford to pay off each month.

Not Investing Properly

Many people think that investing is only for millionaires, but the truth is you can invest no matter what your salary is. For example, if your employer offers a 401k match, it would be a smart idea to take advantage of it—it’s essentially free money. If you neglect to invest in your retirement you could be hurting your financial future. You should also never borrow against your retirement account if you can help it—it can come with some hefty penalties, so it’s best to leave it alone unless you have a major emergency.

Keeping up with the Joneses

These days, everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses, but doing so can be detrimental to your financial health. You should live within your financial means and only spend money on things you can afford. If you can’t afford that big house in the suburbs, luxury SUV, or annual European vacations, it’s ok to skip it. Your wallet and future self will be grateful for your frugality.

Failing to do Financial Checkups

It’s a smart idea to do a financial wellness checkup every once in awhile to be sure you’re ok track to a successful future. Once or twice a year you should comparison shop your insurance companies, cell phone and internet providers, and other monthly expenses to be sure you’re receiving be best deal for your money. Doing this can save you money down the road that may have otherwise been wasted on unnecessary overpayments.

Running with no Budget

You may think paying your bills on time every month and living with little debt means that you don’t need to keep a budget. However, everybody can benefit from keeping some type of budget, no matter where you are in life. Maintaining a budget allows you to keep track of your monthly spending so you can see where your money is going each month.

Neglecting Your Credit Score

Do you know your credit score? A surprising number of Americans don’t, and it’s hurting them financially. You need good credit to make some of life’s biggest purchases, such as a home, so know and take measures to keep your credit score in check.

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When it comes down to it, being fiscally responsible is as simple as making smart financial choices and being conscious about where your money goes each month. These tips are a great start to helping you achieve financial success.