So you messed up in 2013. The good news is that in most cases, it’s not difficult to get back on track. Here’s what you need to do now to correct 2013’s financial mistakes:
Mistake #1: Not having an emergency fund.
This isn’t uncommon – after all, how can you have an emergency fund when you’re aggressively paying down debt, or you don’t make enough? Although these are worthwhile reasons, it’s time to leave them at the door.
As soon as possible, create an emergency fund of at least $1,000 – that’s enough to cover most emergencies. Then, attempt to adjust your budget to where you eventually save 20% of your income every month. Not all of that has to go into the emergency fund, but it will get you into a regular saving habit.
Mistake #2: Not taking advantage of your job’s 401(k) match.
When you do not take advantage of your job’s 401(k) match, you’re throwing away money. If you haven’t enrolled in your company’s 401(k), do so as soon as possible. You’ll be thankful when it’s time to retire.
Mistake #3: Not cooking.
You can save thousands of dollars a year, not to mention eat healthier, if you cook your own food. So if you do not know how to cook, 2014 is the year to learn.
Mistake #4: Not asking for what you want.
Rather than hoping things will work out the way you want them, try to make them happen in 2014. Decide what you want from work, gather evidence, and make a case to your boss. You may not get a promotion right now, but maybe your boss can expand your duties to make your job more satisfying, and you may get the promotion later.
Mistake #5: Replacing things that can be fixed.
We often replace things entirely when it would be much cheaper to just fix them. Before you replace something, always look into repair costs.