Do You Set A Good Example With Your Finances?

by Hank Coleman

I loved an article that J Money over at BudgetsAreSexy wrote a few days ago. In it, he listed twelve ways that he is not good at personal finance. His list includes his poor negotiation skills when he bought his house, how he eats out all the time, his large cable bill, and many other tidbits into person’s life who sets a bad example with his finances for others to follow or should not follow. That is an amazing realization from someone who writes an awesome blog about getting control over your finances through budgeting.

So, his article got me thinking about my own finances and the mistakes I have made along the way to taking control of my finances. Here are a few examples of how I do not set the best example and don’t always manage my finances in the best possible way as well.

1. Eating Out. My wife and I love to eat out all the time like many people. We have budgeted eating out and have earmarked a lot of money specifically for this line in our budget. But, we are a little different from others. We have made a conscious decision to do this though after we have all of our debts paid off and have fully invested for our retirements.

2. Borrow Money For Cars. I have never paid cash for a car. I know that I should save up enough money to purchase a car out right, but I never have. Even when I buy a used car, I have used a car loan. One thing that totally killed me when I had just graduated from college was buying a used car that was several years old with a five year note. By the time the car would have been completely paid off, it would have been a ten year old car and barely running. Not the smartest money move I have ever made.

3. Huge Cable Bill. I hate the advice that a lot of personal finance bloggers and experts give out about getting rid of your cable to save money. Granted, they are right, you can save over $100 per month when you ditch your cable or premium channels, but I find myself spending more by going out to the movies or out to eat in order to entertain myself. It is a great idea if you are struggling making ends meet and cannot find a single dime to save for your financial goals or retirement. But, it might not be the best advice for everyone.

Everyone makes mistakes. It makes me feel better to know that others have made some of the same mistakes that I have been beating myself up about as well. The sad part is that I did not learn from others’ mistakes. Like my boss always says, the best mistakes to learn from are the ones other people make, no yours.

Master Your Card also wrote about the same thing last year as well. So, don’t beat yourself up too much for your mistakes. Instead, learn from them and learn from others as well. Do you set a good example with your finances? How have you missed the mark in managing your money?

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Money Obedience August 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

I think we can call some of these “mistakes” choices. We make choices that do not make rational sense, but those irrational choices are just part of being human. Would you rather make perfect choices all the time or would you rather be human? I know that I like the fact that I can make human choices, some of which may be deemed good by others and some of which may be doomed as bad, but as long as I am comfortable with my choices I don’t really care whether others agree with my choices or not.

Hank Coleman August 4, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Whether the choices are irrational or rational, mistakes are still mistakes. You are right, and they are part of life. But, changing the name from choices to mistakes does not wash away the fact that they are mistakes nonetheless. Being comfortable with choices and making the most economic and efficient choices are also often two different animals as well.

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