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If you’re earning a decent wage but still find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck, it may be time to reevaluate your fiscal habits. Thousands of Americans are making irresponsible financial decisions every single day, which can lead to staggering debt, a poor credit score and next to no money in their retirement funds. It’s vital to take charge of your hard-earned money and learn how to manage it effectively to avoid going down this path yourself. If you want to be sensible with your finances and learn to avoid fiscal follies at all costs, here’s how:

Don’t Rely on Credit

While it may seem like a great idea to get a credit card and add items to it “just until payday”, the harsh reality is that the high interest rates on most cards can send you even further into debt. If you need emergency money in a hurry, why not look at the many interest free loans available instead? Most small loan providers offer flexible repayments on your borrowed amount, making them the perfect solution for bailing you out of temporary financial hardship.

Always Read the Fine Print

When you go to buy a new vehicle, lounge suite, TV, or any other expensive item, the excitement of getting something new can result in you overlooking the technicalities of your purchase. The lack of care with finance agreements is one of the primary reasons why a third of Americans with credit reports were in debt collection in 2016. This is why it’s essential to read through the repayment contract and ensure there are no hidden fees before signing your name.

Purchase with Your Head, Not Your Heart

One of the easiest ways to create financial trouble for yourself and your family is by buying something you want but can’t afford. Many families fall into a vicious debt cycle where they buy an expensive item only to be caught short at the end of the month, and are then forced to rely on their credit card. To avoid this pitfall, always shop with your head and not your heart. Americans spend around $5,400 each year on impulse purchases, so it’s time to rein it in.

Not Living Within Your Means

If you’re buying diamonds when your bank account says you should only be purchasing stones, then you’re not living within your means. It’s important to figure out your budget and only spend less than or equal to the amount you have left over after your expenses every month. While some people stand by the motto that you should “live a little,” you can only maintain this lifestyle for so long until it inevitably catches up with you.

Not Planning for the Future

Around 20 percent of Americans don’t have any funds put away for their retirement years and out of those who do, around a third have less than $5,000. It’s no longer safe to assume that social security will be around when the time comes for you to retire; in fact, the future of social security is so dire that it may be insolvent by the year 2034. Therefore, you need to come up with a plan sooner rather than later, and start investing in your retirement fund today.

Everyone at some point will make a wrong financial decision, but it’s how you learn from it that makes the difference. By being aware of the above pitfalls, you’re one step further in securing a prosperous financial future and kicking those lousy spending habits for good.

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