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Watch out for these 3 expensive money mistakes in June, experts say

Experts say these money mistakes could have a serious impact on your finances this summer, so watch out. Getty Images/iStockphoto

As the summer gets underway, you may be looking forward to unwinding. At the same time, though, it's important to not get too lax about your finances. 

After all, in today's unusual economic climate, in which inflation remains persistently high and interest rates make borrowing difficult, it's easy to make money mistakes that cost you more than they would otherwise. Fortunately, knowing what to watch out for and how to manage these types of financial challenges can ease your financial situation. 

Don't let your credit card debt mistakes weigh you down this summer. Find out your debt relief options here.

Watch out for these 3 expensive money mistakes in June, experts say

Be sure to watch out for these three expensive money mistakes this month — and as we head into the rest of the summer:

Carrying a credit card balance from month to month

With the average credit card interest rate currently over 21%, and with many card rates closer to 30%, carrying a credit card balance from month to month can be particularly costly right now. And, if you're just making the minimum monthly payments, you could end up paying more in interest than the actual balance on your card.

If you face a situation where you're struggling to keep up with credit card payments, you might consider using a reputable debt relief service, negotiating for debt forgiveness or using a debt consolidation loan to try and lower your interest rate and get a more manageable payment. 

Ideally, though, you can avoid this money mistake by not carrying an unmanageable balance.

"When going on summer vacation with family or taking on summer projects like fixing up your home or garden, it can be tempting to purchase everything at one time, put it all on your card, and deal with paying it off later. This strategy can help cover your purchases in the moment, but it will lead to a hefty bill when your monthly statement comes due," says Mary Hines Droesch, head of consumer, small business and wealth management banking and lending products at Bank of America.

"To avoid putting every purchase on your card, consider saving up for big-ticket purchases over time or buying things piecemeal over the course of a few months," Droesch adds.

Explore your top credit card debt relief options online now.

Not shopping around before borrowing

While you don't want to carry around a credit card balance if you can avoid it, sometimes you still need to borrow money, such as for housing, transportation, education or another large expense. 

Whatever the case may be, not shopping around before borrowing is a mistake, as even a small difference in interest rates can add up over time. For example, on a $400,000 mortgage, the difference between a 7% interest rate and 6.75% is nearly $24,000 in interest over 30 years.

But when shopping around before borrowing, you may want to consider factors beyond the interest rate to assess the full costs of borrowing. For example, if you're opening a new credit card — even if you intend to pay it off in full every month — look at the interest rate, but also look at the other factors, like the annual fee and credit limit.

Having a higher credit limit could potentially tempt you into spending more, so you should take that into account during the process. That said, a higher limit can also help when it comes to maintaining a low credit utilization ratio, so there's a balance you need to consider.

"One of the mistakes people make is not keeping their credit utilization ratio — credit balance divided by available credit — at a reasonably low level on revolving debt, like credit cards. Most experts state that you should maintain utilization of your revolving credit below 30%," says Marito Domingo, chief credit officer and chief financial officer at First Tech Federal Credit Union.

"If you can show that you're responsible managing both revolving debt and installment debt, then your credit score won't take as big of a hit during the summer season. If not, the rate you pay on your revolving balance could go up, pushing up the cost of the purchases you made," Domingo adds.

Getting caught up in the moment

You may also want to avoid getting too caught up in summer fun at the expense of your financial future. After all, doing so could be a big, and costly, mistake.

"Summer is all about spending time outside in beautiful weather, so it can be hard to say no to a fun outing like a day at the beach or a concert, but it's important to keep in mind your long-term savings goals," says Julie Beckham, AVP/financial education development and strategy officer at Rockland Trust.

"Whether you're saving for a new car, down payment for a home, or tuition for the fall, don't forget what you're working toward as an incentive to spend less in the moment. And if you feel like you just might forget, set automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account so you don't have a chance to spend that money on anything else," Beckham adds.

The bottom line

Consider making the start of summer the beginning of better financial habits. Rather than ending up in a difficult debt situation or simply overspending when it comes to borrowing costs or summer excursions, think carefully about where your money is going before you're in over your head.

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