Making our money work for us can be tricky, right? And even while we do our best – getting the right savings account, and not immediately flashing the card and buying that jacket we’ve had our eye on for ages – sometimes we don’t make it easy on ourselves. These are six of the biggest mistakes we all make with our money.

Not budgeting properly

Who even has the time to budget these days? Tracking numbers in spreadsheets, cross-referencing them with your bank statements for hours and hours… It’s easy to see why not properly planning our finances is a problem, though. And thankfully, there are a ton of trusted apps out there that will manage our finances for us, even letting us set financial goals to hit. That makes it quick and easy to see how much we’re spending and how much we need to save. Just remember not to link them to your actual online banking details. Speaking of which…

Forgetting online banking is still banking

Just because we’re not physically walking into our local branch, it’s sometimes easy to forget that our online banking is still banking. It’s still keeper of all our money, and should be vigilantly guarded. It might be simpler to let your smartphone’s banking website ‘remember’ you, and we all let online shops ‘remember’ our card details, but it’s probably not the most secure thing to do – particularly as cyber crimes are on the rise. 

Borrow, borrow, borrow

It’s ridiculously easy for us to just dip into our overdraft here and there, or pop that quick buy on our credit card. That makes bank managers happy, but it leaves our bank balances feeling sad – increasing our debt and adding more to it in interest repayments. We’re so borrow-crazy across the country that financial institutions like the Bank of England are genuinely worried that banks and customers are, together, brewing another financial storm. And to make matters worse, Christmas is coming… 

But not saving enough

We all know we should be saving. It’s splashed across all manner of financial pages and pixels. Whether it’s workplace pensions or just rainy day purchases, we just don’t put enough aside. The trouble is, right now, living costs are up and saving money doesn’t net anywhere enough interest to make it seem worthwhile. In short, most of us don’t feel we can afford to save. But even a few pennies here and there is better than nothing. 

Fixating on big buys

There’s a reason why car salesmen let you take a test drive and clothes stores have fitting rooms (it’s not just to check the size fits): If you feel an item, if you imagine owning it, then you’re so much more likely to make that all-important purchase. It’s how our brains work. That’s why we’re more likely to buy something if we continually fixate on it. That trip to Disney World, that HD TV… We know we can’t really afford it, but we want it so much. So, we imagine what it would be like to buy it, own it – and our mind plays a trick on us, reaching a point where that buy is practically ours already, so why not just buy it…? 

All those ‘small’ purchases (that soon add up)

We’re definitely all guilty of not taking care of the pennies – even if we’re incredibly careful with our pounds. So, we end up paying a quid extra here or there, just for our convenience, spending out on yet another 5p carrier bag, or buying that Mars Bar for no reason except we just happen to see it while queuing at the counter. But, it’s worth remembering that all those little purchases we make can seriously add up over time. Although it’s not always easy when we see that Mars Bar winking at us at the time, right?