My Worst 3 Money Mistakes: Don't Fall Into These Traps

Single Mom Money
by Single Mom Money

Though it’s not the easiest thing to discuss, I have made some scary money mistakes and financial decisions that I made as a single mom. I’ll share three of these money mistakes with you so you don’t do the same thing. Here are my worst money mistakes.

1. Not investing or saving money

I felt like everything needed to go to my household. There was a bit of mom guilt, too, I won’t lie. I felt like I needed to compensate for what my son didn’t have after we divorced.

I probably gave him things he didn’t care to have. Kids want your quality time, your presence, not your presents. I really didn’t save any money when I could have. That left a big gap in time where I didn’t invest.

I finally realized I was behind the ball and didn’t have enough money saved for anything, let alone retirement. I know my story is not unique, and I’m not the only one who is in their mid-30s and realized time is moving fast.

Saving and investing are super important. Now I use Ellevest, a woman-run investing company that understands how we should use our money. It’s an incredible financial tool that I use.

Falling into the side hustle rabbit hole

2. Falling down the side hustle rabbit hole

I thought I could hustle my way into financial freedom. I think side hustles are great, but you shouldn’t depend on them for all of your financial needs. Working weekends and vacations to make $5 to do a bunch of surveys just isn’t worth your time.

You need a plan to get out of side hustle hell. People will turn side hustles into a lifestyle and you neglect other things in your life, such as self-care and time for yourself, and time to be present with your family.

There are only so many hours in the day. So maybe you find a side hustle where you make some good money at first. Then some people slowly take it on full-time.

Someone told me long ago that if you can’t pay your bills with your first bill, you shouldn’t look for a second job or side hustle, you should look for another job altogether.

Bottom line? Keep side hustles in their place and don’t do what I did, which was working a ton of overtime, taking on another job, and becoming exhausted. I couldn’t give myself or my son any time.

Don’t side-hustle yourself to a better life. Look for something more permanent and long-term as a financial situation, such as better budgeting, more certifications, or starting a real small business to sell something on Etsy.

How to avoid money mistakes

3. Not doing a good job at budgeting

Budgeting can be a little boring, but there’s power in budgeting. When you give every dollar a job, a role, or it’s earmarked for something, you have control over your finances.

If you don’t budget or don’t have any awareness about how you are spending your money, then things slide and you don’t have control over your money. You have to know what areas need tightening up. There has to be a budget in place and it needs to be something realistic you can follow.

I was completely unaware of my spending habits for a long time, like how much money I spent on eating out. I foolishly gave myself $50 a month to dine out at one point and in reality, I was probably spending two to three times more than that. And I wondered why my budgeting wasn’t working!

You are totally underestimating what you are actually spending. That’s what I did! You have to get real and get down into the nitty-gritty to find out what we are really spending on things.

More money mistakes

A lot of people fall into these traps. Do any of these common money mistakes sound familiar? What are some of your money mistakes that you can share to help others avoid the same pitfalls? Leave comments below and together, we can find financial freedom!

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