Despite your best efforts, you’re going to make a few money mistakes.
Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen. You’ll go over your credit limit. Or forget to pay a bill. Overspend while on vacation. And even bounce a check every once in a while.
Don’t allow your money mistakes to frustrate you to the point that you throw up your hands and give up altogether. Everyone, including the wealthiest people, makes money mistakes. Don’t let that discourage you from continuing to pursue financial education and practice healthy personal finance habits. Over time, you’ll make fewer missteps and you’ll know how to handle it when you do. Here’s how:
First, don’t punish yourself. I define punishment as any negative experience you expose yourself to, including self-imposed ones, beyond the natural consequences of an action. Being charged fees are a natural consequence of bouncing a check. Beating yourself up over bouncing the check is punishment. The latter is counter-productive, so don’t do it.
Don’t allow a misstep top become a habit.
Next, understand what went wrong, and take concrete steps to prevent it. For example, if you keep maxing out your credit cards after paying down the balances each month, put away the plastic and only carry cash. It’s a money mistake the first time it happens. After that, if you don’t take steps to keep from repeating it, it becomes a choice. Learn and choose different, if not better.
Do what you can to limit the damage.
For example, if you bounce a check or go over the limit on your credit card, don’t feel bad about calling to see if they’ll waive the fees. All they can say is no. Or if you made an impulse purchase that was not in your budget for this month, take the time to figure out how to make up for it in next month’s budget.
Bottom line: Don’t be discouraged by your money mistakes. Learn from them, vow to do better, and keep it moving. Stay focused on establishing good money habits and getting back on track with your budget.
Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert, personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.