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6 Worst Financial Suggestions Given By Your Friends

6 Worst Financial Suggestions Given By Your Friends

We often turn to our friends for advice in our day-to-day lives. Whenever we encounter a problem in our relationships or a bump in our jobs, the support of our friends manages to help us get through it. This is why we talk to them about our money management as well. Friends stick together, right?

However, if these six worst financial suggestions are what you hear coming out of your friends’ mouths, perhaps it’s better for you to take a step back, reflect on this and turn to a professional financial advisor instead:

1. “If you can afford it, go and buy it.

Peer pressure is not just relevant to drinking alcohol or participating in illegal activities. It’s also highly prominent when it comes to spending money. How so?

When we’re with our friends, we subconsciously fall into the trap of lifestyle inflation. We think that we can just buy anything – even if we don’t want or need it – just because we can afford it.

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Is your friend wearing a branded dress that you don’t even like the style of? It doesn’t matter! You’ll buy it anyway, just to show to everyone that you have enough money.

2. “Use your credit card all the time – it’s free money!”

One of the worst financial suggestions is telling someone to use their credit card because it’s free. “No one gets imprisoned by drowning in credit card debt,” they’ll tell you. “Spend as much as you like; it’s like free money handed out by your fairy godmother.”

Well, the next time you use your credit card for something that you know you can’t afford, think about this: is that item really worth the trouble of getting blacklisted by banks, being denied loans and receiving a bad credit rating?

Credit cards aren’t free. They are ridiculously expensive. Take time to read the fine print!

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3. “Take as much time as you want going to college, it’s worth all the debt anyway.”

Going to college is a noble act of its own. But if you’re just going to study because you can’t find a job yet, or because you’re not sure what your passion is yet, then don’t.

Consider the opportunity cost involved in this scenario. How much money could you have earned working instead of getting your Master’s degree?

4. “Want easy money? Put all your money in ABC Inc.”

A universal rule in investing is that it always carries a risk. Investing is all about diversifying your investment so that you can manage the risks. Diversifying means that you won’t put everything in one company and in one security.

Instead of putting all your efforts in stocks and in just one company, why don’t you spread out your money in different companies? Take this one step further and hold different securities, such as treasury bills and term deposits too.

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If you put all your money in one company and that company folds, then you’ll be sorry. Believe me: I learned this the hard way firsthand.

5. “Let’s travel luxuriously. We’re only young once.”

You might have heard this one before: “It’s easier to earn money than to earn moments.”

Now, that statement may be true. It may also be false.

But don’t you think it’s better to save money and earn moments at the same time? Traveling is about experiencing new cultures and being immersed in a new way of living. It’s not about checking in at five-star hotels and eating at hugely overpriced restaurants.

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6. “Just save and you’ll be fine!”

Saving is important. It’s the first step up the financial ladder. But, if you want to manage your money wisely and let it work for you, don’t just settle with saving money. Start investing, tooFirst, start with investing in your knowledge by reading up on personal finance books. Then, save enough money for you to start an investment account.

Our friends may have our best interests at heart. But if they’re not experts at finance, they need to think twice about giving these terrible financial suggestions. Don’t you think so too?

Featured photo credit: DSCF1734.JPG/ronnieb via cdn.morguefile.com

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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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