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oops! your top 10 money blunders, and how to avoid them

You know that moment when you realize you screwed up? Today’s blog post is here to show you’re not the only one! 

We polled Penny members to get their biggest “oh shit” money moments. Raw, real, #nofilter experiences – compiled with tons of love, virtual hugs, and money tips from Penny.

Because we all make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with financial stress and money problems forever. We’re here to air out the dirty laundry, and drop some knowledge on how you can avoid any future money missteps. You got this!

👀: 5min read

financial stress and money problems

📸: Pinterest

[The credit card oops]

1 - I got a credit card from a department store and only found out that the interest rate was 20% AFTER I was late on my payment. Totally sucked to pay that bill.

Yup. Been there, done that. They make it sound so appealing, right? Most “retail store” credit cards start at 19% interest rate and go up from there. If you’re on the market for a new card, be sure to read the fine print, and set up auto-pay so you’re never late for payments, ever! Beats the financial stress from surprise interest rates, every time. 

[Hefty student loans]

2 – I went to a private college instead of the state school that offered me scholarships and lower tuition; now I’m stuck with a lot more in student loans!

School can get tricky, for sure! Penny’s money quiz can help you plan your minimum payments, and calculate how many years till you’re debt-free. This blog post has awesome tips to pay off your student loans, too. 

[I quit! Now, what?]

3 - I quit my job when I only had $2k in my bank account. I ended up having to ask my parents for some emergency money, which was not a fun convo.

Damn, that’s a bold move! Glad your parents could support you, but yeah, we don’t want that happening again. We recommend setting aside 6-12 months of emergency savings for situations like these, so you can quit your job with ease next time!

[Overpriced rent]

4 - I waited until the last minute to find an apartment and got stuck with an overpriced place for a year. So annoying!

That IS annoying! Sorry to hear that. Having an emergency savings fund in this situation can go a long way. You can also try these ideas on how to make a little extra cash. 

[I forgot to make a payment]

5 - I forgot to pay off my credit card for a few months and racked up a ton of fees. I was having penalties added onto my payments for the next 3 months, even after I’d paid off the initial interest!

Credit card debt is such a slippery slope, and can be so tricky to get out of once you’re in it! Our favorite way to avoid this oops is setting auto-payments. That way, you’re always covered. 

If you’re still in debt, Penny’s money quiz can help you discover what your actual minimum payment should be so you can become debt-free faster.

[The ex-fiancee]

6 - Made a joint account with my then-fiancee (who I made way more money than!) and then he started spending all of my money!

It’s already hard to navigate money problems with your S.O., but if they’re the cause? Ouch. We could go off a rage rant, but we’ll keep it short. 

Truthfully, most couples avoid talking about money. It feels gross and uncomfortable. Plus, it’s easier to assume that your “perfect match” has similar beliefs and habits around money. (nope!) 

Of course this Penny-er could have asked all the right questions, and still had to face a shitty situation. But before you say “I do”, remember that money ranks up there with big Q’s like: are we exclusive? would you ever want to get married? do you want kids? – etc.

Here are some to get you started: 

  • Does your partner have the same money goals as you? 
  • Do they spend their cash the same way? 
  • Does it make sense to own a joint account for everything? Or can you just auto-deposit a portion of your earnings into a combined account used for expenses? 

[Investing oops!]

7 - Not mine, but a friend of my parents’: Bought a lot of Circuit City stock before 2009. That didn’t work out well!

A quick Google search on Circuit City stock, and you’ll see this money literally disappeared. Yikes! We loooove investing, but this is why we always say you should never put all your eggs in one basket

We weren’t around in 2009, but maybe let them know we’re here now? Our “Investing 101” course is less than 1 hour long and is included with your Penny membership. Link here.

[No refunds]

8 - I spent $500 on a designer coat and then spilled coffee on it. No refund :(

Oh nooooo! This hurts. Tbh, nothing we can say would make this better. Sending you allll the hugs! (Keeping our fingers crossed you found a better one at a discount?)

[Unexpected bank fees]

9 - I overdrafted my checking account and didn’t notice until it was too late. I still get annoyed thinking about it!

We hear this one a lot! Our favorite tactic? Set a “money date” for yourself, either once every 2 weeks or 1x per month to check your credit card statements, bank accounts, and do whatever you gotta do to keep your financial health on track. Pour yourself a glass of wine, play your favorite songs, wear your cozy sweater or favorite LBD – anything goes!

[The struggle is real]

10 - Spending too much money? lol… idk if that counts 

Yea girl, it counts! Here’s the thing. You can buy things, (we love shopping too!) but save some money please. Your future self will thank you. 

Want an easy way to know exactly how much you can spend, without the guilt, headaches, or financial stress? Take Penny’s free money quiz. The calculators are fun to play with, and they do all the money math for you. 

What are your money oops stories? Share them with us! @startwithapenny

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