Our Biggest Financial Mistakes
I talk a lot (like, a lot) about how much debt we've paid off, how much success we have had in the last 16 months, and how excited I am about our financial future. I would be remiss to let you think we have always been financial maestros because that couldn't be further from the truth.
We've made some gigantic financial mistakes in our past but the main point is that they are all in the past! At some point in this journey you have to quit dwelling on the mistakes that you have made and start focusing on fixing them and moving forward.
You can waste your entire life looking backwards or you can turn around and face the future!
Here are most of the big mistakes we made in the past. I'm sure that there are some I have forgotten about - and probably for a good reason!
• I had a credit card and used it as an emergency fund
Before I even graduated from high school, I got my first credit card. I remember feeling so fancy when I used it for the first time - it felt very grown up and sophisticated. Ugh! It started with a $500 limit and for about a year I did keep it paid off every month. Then I started school and moved out of my parent's house and well - long story short, now the limit is $5,500 and we still owe about $4200 on it. It is next in the debt snowball and I will feel such a great weight off my chest when it is gone!
• We took out monumental student loans.
Chris and I both graduated from our higher education (I have an associates and a bachelors, he has a bachelors and a masters) with a combined total of about $60,000 in student loan debt - despite both working full time jobs while we were going to school.
• We financed our vehicles instead of paying cash.
We spent years "investing" our money in our used cars by financing them. We thought since we could afford the monthly payments, we could afford the cars. Financing your car, used or brand new, is the equivalent of throwing money out the window while you're driving it down the road.
• We bought a house when we were broke.
While we had car payments and student loans out the wazoo, we decided it would be a great time to buy our first home. We made so many mistakes here: We bought the most expensive house in our neighborhood, got a FHA loan and financed 103% of the value of the home, and took money out of Chris (very small to begin with) IRA to pay the closing costs.
• We never had a plan!
We never used a budget. I knew how much our bills were and how much we made but we never made a plan for it before the month began.
Our finances have always felt overwhelming and disastrous until we both finally put our feet down and said ENOUGH! Enough living without a plan, enough worrying about paying the bills, E N O U G H!!!
I'm just sharing all of this with you guys because no matter where you are sitting right now - you can make the decision to start something different today. We've made mistakes and we are fixing them. If you've made mistakes, you can fix them too!
What do you think is your biggest financial mistake? Are you ready to face it and fix it?