Staying on top of your finances can be tough, especially in today’s world. We’re now working longer hours than ever before and yet we’re finding ourselves unable to cultivate any real financial success.

There are many reasons why we may struggle to manage our money, some more obvious than others. For some of us, we know we shouldn’t be spending money on certain things but we continue to do it through habit, convenience or short-term emotional gains.

On the other hand, you’ve got individuals who are very careful with their money and value it dearly. However, they still find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Why is this?

Often we’re making howling financial mistakes without even knowing. Below are 5 financial errors to avoid in 2017:

1. Prioritising saving over debt

Having money in savings is the ultimate financial goal for most people. It may act as a financial safety net or be the catalyst in a pipedream of getting on the property ladder. However, if you have outstanding debt on credit cards or short-term loans, this needs to be your priority, not saving.

Savings rates are notoriously low. So much so that you may only be earning a few pounds a month in interest. Credit card and short term loan interest rates are notoriously high, so every month that your balance remains outstanding means you’re paying significant amounts in interest. This means no matter how much money you’re putting away, the interest on your debt is likely to be outweighing it, putting you in the red every single month.

2. Falling into an unapproved overdraft

In many ways, unapproved overdrafts are more expensive than even the most expensive payday loans. Banks will typically charge you up to £6 per day for everyday that you’re in your unapproved overdraft. This means being in your overdraft for 5 days at the end every month will cost you £360 over the course of the year! You’d probably find it significantly cheaper in the long-run to use a credit card for essentially late-month purchases.

3. Having unorganised monthly outgoings

Ideally, all of your regular monthly outgoings would leave your account on (or the day after) your payday. That way, you get an accurate idea of how much disposable you income you have each month and can therefore justify certain purchases.

If on the other hand, when your direct debits are collected at different times in the month, you can very easily lose track of your money. You’re unable to make educated guesses as to whether you can afford a purchase. So often you just buy things because you’ve got the money in your account at the time. This can lead to further problems like going into an unapproved overdraft (see above) or failing to make repayments on important monthly outgoings.

Set aside some time to ringing around your providers and changing your direct debits to earlier in the financial month. You’ll be amazed what a difference it could make to your finances.

Summary

As you can see, making these simple financial errors can quite easily make a huge difference to your situation. By prioritising your debt, avoiding your overdraft and budgeting your monthly outgoings, you’ll find yourself with a greater sense of financial control, less debt and more disposable income.