Four things to do after a financial mistake

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We're not all perfect little money angels. And we don't need to pretend to be. Everyone makes mistakes. That is part of being a human. That is part of the learning process and the growing process. Mistakes happen.

But what do you do after you have had a financial upset or you have made a financial mistake?

It's tough. It's hard. It hurts sometimes. It hurts to realize that you did something stupid, but it also hurts to have to fix it. I want to talk about what to do when you have made a financial mistake and how to come back from that.

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1. Forgive

Forgive yourself, if you're the one that made that mistake. Forgive your spouse, if they're the one who made the mistake.

Don't continue to hold it over their head. Don't beat them with it. Don't make them feel stupid. Because, at some point, you're going to make a mistake, and they're going to remember how you treated them.

Be kind over being right. I like to be right. I don't always like to be kind as my husband. And the things that I regret the most in the world — the way I behaved when I was angry, sad or upset.

So forgive yourself and know that your mistakes do not define you. Forgive the person that you love because you love them and you want to receive forgiveness yourself.


2. Find a place in your budget to fix it

If it is a situation where you're going to have to be paying off money, or if it's a situation where you're going to have to find the money to pay for it — sit down and take an honest look at your budget.

See how long that's going to take you to fix the mistake. See where you can move money around. Or you're going to have to take money out of your savings or your emergency fund or from your entertainment or grocery or what-have-you.

Sit down, make a new budget, fix it.

If you are married, work together. Your relationship is more important than money. People first. Let that be your mantra. People first.

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3. Figure out how the error happened

If it wasn't an intentional thing like somebody spending money where they shouldn't have without discussing it, or if it's a situation where you forgot to account for something — figure out how you can make that not happen again.

A couple of years ago, I forgot to budget for our termite letter. It was over $200, and I completely forgot to put it in our January budget. I wrote it down in my planner for the following January and I set an alert on my phone.

Set yourself up a system so that you don't make the same mistake over and over again.

17 lists I keep in my planner


4. Come up with some extra income

Now I realize that that advice makes you want to throw whatever it is you're reading this on across the room. I get that, like, money just doesn't rain down from the sky, Lydia. I know.

But you're going to have to find some. That may be through creating a side hustle.

Maybe through selling some things on Poshmark, Mercari or eBay. That may mean selling some things on Facebook Marketplace. I do it all the time — not necessarily to account for budgeting errors, but for extra things that I want to do or just to get some of those crap out of my house.

It might mean having a yard sale. It might mean babysitting. It might mean taking on extra shifts. But see if you can come up with some extra income as quickly as possible.

It's hard. I know it's harder than it sounds. Me just saying come up with extra income doesn't help. It's going to be work. It's not easy. But you can do it.