People don't realize that it only takes a few mistakes to screw it up real bad and end up with no home. I've seen the story play out so many times... poor budget planning, a few bad decisions, that's all it takes.
Now-days (or at least here in Florida), every single landlord does background checks on all applicants. If you have been behind on your rent (they DO report those, no exceptions) it makes it really difficult to find a place later on. If you have ever been evicted, it makes it near impossible to rent a place.
One of the most common mistakes is when people don't realize they are living outside their means. You do a budget that looks tight, but you think you can make it. Soon you realize that your budget was poorly done. You didn't took into account things like car repairs, medical expenses, cold/hot weather snaps spiking up your energy bill, etc.
Even worst is when you refuse to see that you are doing it wrong. "It's not my fault, I was OK until the car broke". Well, emergencies happen, and you should be prepared. People that never learn are doomed to have the same problems again and again.
Another group is the people that keep screwing it all up but never deal with the consequences because friends and family always step in and fix the mess. Till one day everybody gets tired and leave them alone to figure it out.
And why Rube' is talking about this? Well, let's just say that somebody around here is homeless at the moment... you'll probably guess who. Children have been with me for 3 weeks now and counting. They've been told Mommy is working a lot of overtime (they don't need to know). Hope she finds a solution soon.
So, for all the people out there...
* A tight budget is a BAAAAADDDDD budget.
* Emergencies happen, be prepared.
* Save money whenever you can. If you just can't resist spending your savings, then pay up stuff upfront (your car insurance being a good first choice).
* Paying the rent on time is your #1 Priority! Pawn your TV, sell your computer, eat ramen, whatever it takes, but NOTHING is more important than paying your rent, on time, every time.