October is a time for all things spooky and scary–and many of those things are harmless and made up, like ghosts and ghouls and monsters. But there are some scary things in life that are real and are important to face head-on in order to keep them in check or deal with them appropriately. One area of life that tends to scare people is their finances. Have you ever avoided looking at your bank account? Or tried not to think about looming bills or debt you have to pay? Finances scare people because they have such a significant impact and can have serious repercussions. That’s why we compiled this list of scary financial mistakes to avoid–the more you know, the better financial decisions you’ll be able to make!

1. Paying Bills Late

It’s easy to forget to pay your bills or to miss the deadline, especially if you are trying not to think about them or if you are waiting for a paycheck to come in. The problem is that if you are late in paying your bills, you often rack up late fees and fines. This means that you now have an even more expensive bill to pay than before. Depending on the nature of the bill, late payments can also negatively affect your credit score, which will make it harder for you to take out a loan should you need one. 

As difficult as it may seem, try to always pay your bills on time. One great way to make sure you’re never late is to set up automatic bill payments. This means that on a set day of every month, money will automatically be taken out of your bank account in order to pay whatever bills you have set up. It’s good to keep tabs on this system just to make sure there are no hiccups along the way, but, for the most part, you will be able to cross “pay bill” off your to-do list for the foreseeable future, as your computer will be doing it for you!

2. Not Budgeting

Have you ever gotten a credit card bill that made your eyes want to bug out from your head, like in the cartoons? It can be easy to fall into the habit of overspending if you use a credit card and don’t pay attention to how much you use it. No matter what your financial situation, a budget is an important way to manage your spending. There are many budgeting strategies out there, and we encourage you to try a few and see which one works best for your lifestyle and personality. No matter how you decide to budget, make sure you also put money away in savings and retirement accounts, which brings us to–

3. Not Planning for the Future

You may be young and without many needs or expenses, but that won’t always be the case. It is never too early to start planning for retirement. If your job offers a 401k, make sure you put as much money into it as you can–especially if your company matches a percentage of what you contribute. If you don’t have access to a 401k, there are other retirement accounts that may work for you, such as an IRA or a Roth IRA.

In addition to retirement, you need to plan for any more significant expenses that might arise in the nearer future. You’ll need a “rainy day” fund for repairs like replacing pipes or your roof, and you may have financial goals you want to save up for like purchasing a home or a car. These are all important reasons to bulk up your savings account by paying yourself first every time you get a paycheck. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you have to borrow money because of an unexpected major expense.

We Can Help You Avoid Financial Mistakes

At DeSantis, Kiefer, Shall, & Sarcone, our experts can help you make smart financial plans that work for your income and lifestyle. We will work with you to help you achieve your financial goals and to avoid some of the scary financial mistakes that can derail your financial health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us whenever you need our help!