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Consumer Watch: Tackling common money problems

(KOKH/FILE)

Only 30 percent of Americans budget, according to a Gallup poll. From forgetfulness to a simple lack of knowledge, common money mistakes could be costing you big-- especially you are planning on making a big purchase on credit soon.

No matter what you earn, a budget can help you prevent money mistakes, and it doesn't have to be as restrictive as you think. A huge money problem is thinking you can afford something we you really can’t.

“We are taught as a society to live 30 days at a time, and not to look at the big picture,” says Becky Estep, owner of Credit Coach Queen.

Only being able to make the minimum payments on revolving credit often points to potential financial problems ahead. Estep adds that a person should be ready for a problem, even in good financial times.

“I have met with thousands of people about their credit, and you know, there is a theme. Something always goes wrong,” says Estep.

Credit problems can start accidentally.

“They are like, ‘oh I just completely forgot about it. I got caught up doing all this stuff,’ and it was 15 dollars that could have cost them one or two percent of interest when they try to buy their next car,” says Estep.

Consider keeping all your bills in a spread sheet, and checking it twice a month to make sure everything has been paid. Also, don't depend too much on credit. Consider waiting until you can afford most purchases, and instead build your emergency savings.

Not depending on your credit cards is important, but so is maintaining a healthy credit score. A low score could cause you to pay higher interest rates for a car loan or even your insurance.

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