Six Money Mistakes Families Make

It’s no secret…many couples fight about money. If you can avoid these common money mistakes, you’ll give your family a fighting chance with finances.

Living for the moment, and not planning

Spending too much because…your kids need school sweatshirts now, you eat out when there’s no time to cook, or it’s the spring break trip everyone is taking? It’s easy to get caught in “keeping up with the Joneses” but consider the cost to do it.

Think about wants and needs. Make a spending plan—a budget—so you know where your money goes. Maybe the family must choose—no takeout pizza every Friday in order to go on a spring break.

Good websites to help:,,

Spending in secret

Ever hide receipts from a spending spree, or maybe it was a gambling weekend with friends? Do you know where your spouse spends? Is it your money or our money?

Hiding purchases or debts from a spouse, having secret accounts, or getting credit cards in only one name signals trust issues. A survey funded by CESI Debt Solutions revealed that 80% of married folks hide purchases or don’t tell partners about some spending. But 73% said they felt it wasn’t acceptable to spend $100 or more without telling your partner.
What you don’t know can hurt you, especially when it comes to hidden assets or misinformation on your credit reports. This is a good reason to order your credit report annually.

Good website:

Conflicting goals, no money harmony

He wants a new car, she wants a vacation, the kids want a new television. When you can’t have it all, can you compromise? Maybe it’s time to have those regular family money talks.

Good website:

All bets on one person

What if one person handles day-to-day finances and then can’t? Relying on one spouse to do the finances might be convenient, but it’s worrisome too. If spouses don’t share financial duties will they see eye-to-eye? Work out a plan to involve both of you, or maybe even the kids.

Good website:

Building debt, not wealth

The average American uses credit cards often. Unfortunately they don’t pay balances monthly. Most of us are so concerned with today’s expenses that we don’t save enough for tomorrow’s college tuition and retirement.

But the earlier in your marriage you stash savings, the more the magic of compound interest works. So open a savings account for each goal (college, new car, house, vacation) and put in a little every paycheck. Start small, think big. When you save automatically, those amounts add up quickly. Then invest to let your money work for you.

Good websites:,,, The Money Godmother

Forgetting the unknown

You plan to save and invest, but you just can’t get the accounts opened? You knew that credit card bill was due, but you missed the deadline? Families are busy; finances get ignored. Months pass.

You can save time, frustration and late fees by putting your financial chores on auto-pilot. For example, direct deposit paychecks and make an auto deduction to savings, use auto-pay for bills, get statements online. Use an email reminder system for key deadlines, like filing income taxes or paying property taxes. As you might guess, there’s an app for that.

Good websites:

Free mobile apps: Remember the Milk, Evernote, Pageonce, TrackerSavvy Free