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3 Scary Misconceptions About Money

3 Scary Misconceptions About Money

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    It’s strange that for a society that’s so focused on making money and owning assets, we have some pretty unusual and downright scary approaches to the stuff and how it comes into our possession. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but we give our children and ourselves the idea that it’s nearly unattainable to make enough of it to live the way we want. Here are three of the common misconceptions that our society taught me that my own experiences in business have shattered.

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    It Takes Money to Make Money

    Having money can make it easier to make more money, properly utilized. If not for that fact, venture capital wouldn’t be a big industry. However, if you don’t have money, it doesn’t mean you can’t make any. Plenty of big earners today started off bootstrapping. I bootstrapped my business and it worked.

    Perhaps it’s more convenient to make money when you’ve got money but in no way is it a prerequisite. You just need to put in some effort, some brains and be good at what you do.

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    Personally, I’m of the opposite opinion: if you can acquire funding that you need to pay back later, you’re not in the best position. The best position is to bootstrap your operation and build it up from small but affordable beginnings. You don’t want to be owing anything to anyone at any point; perhaps the “it’s cool to get into debt even if you don’t really have to” myth should be shattered in another article!

    Evidently if you want to open a retail business you’ll need funding, but there are plenty of business plans that can be thought up and executed without the need for capital or loans, which means the old saying that it takes money to make money is not true.

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    Time and Money are Proportionally Related

    This is a very common one. Because the industrial age and the model of employment it brought about is based on a proportional relationship between time and money we tend to associate that relationship with money, rather than with employment.

    So let’s get that clear: the relationship between time and money is imposed by employment, not the idea of money itself.

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    If you’re clever with your business plan, you can create something that makes money based on other things, like product sales. Look at online membership training sites as an example — if you can find 100 customers for a $100 a month program you’ve made $10,000 (from which you subtract your marketing and hosting expenses, among any others). I’m not insinuating it is easy to make $10,000 a month but I am saying that your income doesn’t have to be proportional to your time investment.

    Money is the Root of Evil

    This old proverb is a pet peeve of mine because it and the attitudes it engenders are the seeds of what make people averse to making money. Seeing money as some kind of enemy, or something that is difficult to work with, is like setting yourself up not to make any. Money is a tool like any other and these emotional connotations do not assist in the acquisition or use of that tool.

    Once you begin to see it for what it is, your business decisions can be based in reality and have a level of objectivity associated with them. Many people make stupid business decisions because they have developed certain mindsets regarding cash and these need to be put to the back of your mind. Fears about losing money, or the idea that money is evil, simply don’t help anyone.

    Change Your Mind

    If you’ve fallen prey to these misconceptions, it isn’t too late to change your mind. It can be hard to escape from old mindsets and habits imposed on you by the culture you live in, but that doesn’t make it impossible. I don’t subscribe to the “it’s only worth doing if it’s difficult” mindset but in this case, the difficult is certainly worth doing!

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    Published on September 17, 2018

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

    With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

    So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

    1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

    It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

    You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

    So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

    2. When you want something big, wait

    Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

    It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

    We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

    A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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    So, you get the itch.

    You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

    Here’s where you have to take a step back.

    Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

    Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

    It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

    The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

    3. Live smaller than you can afford

    You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

    You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

    That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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    Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

    Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

    The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

    But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

    4. Practice smart grocery shopping

    Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

    But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

    Create a grocery budget

    Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

    Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

    I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

    Make a list… and never deviate

    Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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    You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

    These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

    Eat before going grocery shopping

    It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

    If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

    After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

    Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

    However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

    This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

    5. Cancel your gym membership

    Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

    The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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    Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

    I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

    Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

    Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

    For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

    Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

    There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

    It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

    I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

    Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

    The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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