The One Biggest Money Mistake You’re Making

Don’t let the title for this post fool you. I’ve made more than one money mistake. If I didn’t, I probably want to be writing this blog, talking about the hundreds of thousand dollars of student loan debt that I have to pay back. But by far the biggest money mistake I made and on occasion continue to make is that I don’t actively budget.

Meaning I’m really bad about checking in with my budget before making purchase decisions. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one guilty of making this money mistake.


Take Control of Your Money

Subscribe to the Less Debt, More Wine Newsletter and take advantage of the subscriber benefits including instant access to the Set Your First Successful Budget Workbook! 

Set Your First Successful Budget Workbook - enter your information to get instant access!

Because if you don’t regularly check in with your budget it means you’re probably not actually sticking to your budget. Successful budgeting requires that you to stay on top of and in-line with your budget and your goals.

When I don’t budget I don’t hit my money goals

When I don’t actively budget, I don’t have hit my goals. I spend money I wasn’t planning to spend on little things I really don’t need and it’s a waste. It also means I can sometimes find myself scrambling because of unexpected expenses. I end up overusing my buffer and having to borrow from another budget line.

Which then means not having money saved for goals or bigger expenses coming up, which can be a really slippery slope. It’s how I ended up taking so long to pay off my credit card debt. It took over a year to pay off $4k and then once I really focused on budgeting right, I paid off $6k in 5 months.

Budgeting matters, and it can be the difference between becoming debt free or living forever in debt limbo.

Budgeting matters, and it can be the difference between becoming debt free or living forever in debt limbo.

Click to Tweet

So when I don’t actively budget, I’m basically tacking on another year in debt limbo.

Setting a Date With Your Budget

The best way to combat the issue of not actively budgeting is by having a regular date with your budget. I don’t mean the kind of date where you dress up and have some wine, though if you want a glass of wine or to light a candle, you do you.

This date could be just every Sunday night at the start of the week, where you go over and review your expenses from the previous week and what your planned expenses are for the next week or so. Making sure you’re staying on track or making note of where you need to come back.

Alternatively, it could be something you spend 10 minutes on each day reviewing your transactions and categorizing them. It could just be something you do every other day.

It’s really up to you what schedule works best and how often it is that you’re reviewing how you’re spending money.

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

Ultimately, successfully managing your money only works it is when you’re actively monitoring your budget. It means regularly reviewing your transactions and your expenses to see where you’re at throughout the month. Making sure that you don’t go over budget, or, that if you do you’re not going over your buffer to cover it. So make a date with your budget at least once a week if not daily whatever’s going to work best for you.

Don’t let not actively budgeting be your biggest money mistake too.

Money tools & resources i recommend

Chime (for saving) works by starting a spending account (takes 5 minutes) and opting into the automatic savings plan. (Learn more about getting started with Chime).  Every time I use the Chime Debit Card it rounds up my purchase to the nearest dollar and puts in in savings. Right now they also offer a double round-up bonus on those savings. All those withdrawals add up over time. Chime is free to use, with no monthly fees. With Chime, you end up saving money without having to think about it.

Qapital (for building savings & reaching money goals) Qapital can help you reach savings goals. Once you have the Qapital App installed and a bank account (or in my case three) connected you set up a goal or goals.  Then you set savings rules for each of your goals. For example, I have a round up to the nearest $2 rule, a guilty spending rule -when I buy Dominos. Qapital is free to useBonus, when you use my link you'll get $5 after your first savings.

Qoins (for debt repayment) When you sign up for Qoins, you connect your bank account and then spend as you normally would. Qoins will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that change towards an extra debt payment. Learn more on How Qoins Can Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

SoFi (for refinancing) If you have private loans or your debt to income ratio allows, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. Learn more about what it's like to refinance with Sofi. Refinancing my bar loan with SoFi ended up saving me over $1,000. Use my link to refinance your student loan and you'll get a $100 bonus.

the one biggest money mistake you're making | budgeting requires being active | how to budget | personal finance tips | millennial money tips


Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.