It would be a boring world if we were all perfect and never made a mistake. But sometimes, those little slip-ups or errors of judgement can have financial consequences that make you think fate is just punishing you again and again. Here, we take a look at three perfect examples of simple errors that can have a shocking financial impact – including some advice on how to minimise the pain.
Missing a payment
These days, we have regular payments set up for all sorts of things at home and work. Rent, business rates, telephone, car insurance – and then there are the credit card bills that fly in every month, either through the letterbox or electronically. The trouble is, one “oops moment” with your cash flow means a direct debit payment can bounce, just like a cheque. And how easy is it for a credit card bill to slip out of sight and mind?
The trouble is, you won’t just be landed with an extra penalty fee or interest charge, your credit rating will also take a battering. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. The solution is simple – automate as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of human forgetfulness coming into play, and ask the bank for an overdraft facility, even if you don’t think you need one – just in case.
Losing your driving licence
Motoring offences are serious matters and can endanger life, so nobody is condoning driving while distracted or breaking the speed limit. The fact is, however, that thousands of drivers are disqualified every year for a whole variety of reasons. Accumulation of penalty points for speeding is one of the most common, and in today’s cars, it is all too easy to find yourself going too fast, particularly on motorways, where everyone seems to be barrelling along at 80 or 90mph.
Losing your licence can have consequences that go far beyond inconvenience. For some, it can mean losing their job, while for anyone, the return to the road after the ban will come at a cost in terms of insurance. If you receive a notice of intended prosecution, the first thing to do is to seek advice from motoring lawyers. They will be able to look into the details of your case – perhaps things are not as bad as you first think!
Buying extended warranties
You’ve just spent a four-figure sum on a new laptop and the assistant asks if you want to protect it against accidental damage, theft or abduction by aliens. Of course you do – you can see from the look in her eyes she will think you are a cheapskate, a fool or both if you don’t.
These policies are invariably the equivalent of flushing money down the toilet. Chances are, the purchase is already eligible for extended cover under your credit card agreement. Alternatively, it might well be covered under your home or business insurance. Even if neither of these apply, you can get similar coverage at a far better price just by shopping around, so never fall for the hard sell in the shop!