What's the most common financial mistake families make?
The most common financial mistake is spending more than you actually make. Also having added expenses that you don't need like a cell phone yes its convienent but if you cant afford it you don't need it. Paying for cable you can have an alternative like Netflix for less than the smallest package of cable. Paying full price for health and beauty products when you can get them cheap to FREE. Using credit cards for small purchases that add up when it was meant to have for emergencies. You have to be diligent to ONLY spend what you have and NOT beyond.
I think a lot of families don't budget very well and end up over spending. We have a nice budget, it is very hard to get used to at first. But completely worth it. We have money set aside for eating out and for groceries.
When we first got married, we didn't budget we just spent on what looked good and what we wanted. As time has passed we have learned that it is worth suffering a little today and not eating out or not buying that pair of shoes so that in a month or two we can buy that nice couch or tv. I coupon and stockpile to help us save a LOT of money and make the money we do make go SO much farther.
I think you have to learn to be responsible and not use credit cards, live on what you make and life is so much better. A lot of families fight over money issues. It is stressful to not be able to pay all the bills or buy whatever item you want today. But once everyone is on the same page about where money is to be spent, relationships will improve.
There are a dozen or so mistakes that I can think of off the top of my head but the most common would probably be going out to eat. Households across America easily spend $200+ a month on dining out and we're not talking about fancy restaurants. Quick stops at McDonalds add up to HUGE amounts of money wasted. Worst of all, it's being spent on something that doesn't last. That "value meal" really doesn't add much value to your life.
They have kids.
I think there are many common mistakes. One of which not setting a clear budget for your family. You need to be aware of what you should be spending on everything from health bills to eating out to utilities and everything in between. Here's how to set an easy budget: http://www.funcheaporfree.com/2012/01/how-to-set-budget-and-tips-for.html
Another huge mistake is paying full-price for groceries. You do NOT HAVE TO COUPON to save money! Simply look in your ads for the best deals for the week, and shop at the store with the best deals. OR...do what I do and take the best deals and price-match them at Walmart. To illustrate an example, I picked up $80 worth of groceries the other day for $40, no coupons needed: http://www.funcheaporfree.com/search/label/Price-Matching. Groceries tend to make up the bulk of a family's budget, so there is no reason why you shouldn't save tons of money...the easy way :)
Not saving even if it is $5 a week.
In today's society, the most common financial mistake is actually hard to pin down to just one! So I'm going to choose two - student loans and big houses! I am a diehard fan of Dave Ramsey and I listen to his radio show every night while cleaning up the kitchen. I don't know the exact percentage, but I'm going to guess, around 75% of the people who call in, are up to their ears in student loan debt! Society tells us that we have to have a degree and it can't just be from a community college; it's got to be from someplace of prestige and name worthy. The end result is an over-abundance of college graduates (assuming they actually finish their degree) that are years away from actually benefiting from their paychecks, because they are so far in the hole.
The 2nd greatest financial mistake is too big of a house! Why people put themselves in such financial trouble over an overpriced home, is beyond me! I think it's also a matter of prestige. You can live in a nice, comfortable home, in an older neighborhood, and get more for your money, than paying thousands of dollars a month, living like the "Jones" family. This purchase puts your family in financial prison and usually causes the mom/wife to have to leave the kids in daycare so she can help finance the monstrosity. Is it really worth sacrificing the kids so you can come home to 3000 sq. feet of space that needs to be cleaned every day?
Not having a budget! You don't get in your car and plan for a drive without knowing how much fuel you have and how far you have to go........so why would you guide your household through a month or a year, without knowing your income and expenses. You need to know how much fuel your household has, and how far that fuel has to get you.
Plan a budget, record what you are spending and make corrections (either to the budget or to your spending habits!) as necessary.
And to trim spending, have EVERYONE in your household save EVERY receipt for one month. You'll be very surprised to find little expenditures here and there that can add up to big money. Don't delay, do a household budget today.
The most common financial mistake that families make is living above their means and not using the tools that are so wide spread today...couponing! You don't have to be an EXTREME couponer to save alot of money. If you can save money on your grocery budget, then that is more that you can put towards bills, college fund, savings fund, or even a family vacation! Couponing has become the new way of saying "Charge It!". Alot of families have done away with their credit cards and started using coupons and cold hard cash. Another common mistake is buying items when they're needed. Of course then you'll pay full price! If you buy those items when they're on sale (and use a coupon) then when you actually NEED those items you'll have them and you didn't pay an arm and a leg for them either!
I think not budgeting where all of your money goes before you spend it. Telling every penny where to go gives you complete control over your finances, and helps you steer towards your goals.