Nila Sweeney

If you believe in one of these money myths, chances are you’ll continue to struggle with achieving your budgeting and savings goals.

 

Your Money Magazine identifies the main offenders, and shows you better options to maximize your paycheck, and of course, minimise wasted cash.

 


There’s no need to throw your hands up in defeat, or think you’ll have to forgo all of life’s pleasures- it’s simply about using a budgeting system that’s right for you, and not believing in these damaging money myths.

 


Myth #1: You need to cut back on everything

 


By cutting back on all life’s pleasures, all at once, you’re really only doing one thing: setting yourself up for failure. The best approach is usually to prioritise your spending, and focus on cutting back on your main over-spending habits.

 


For example, by keeping track of your transactions using an online tracker or smartphone app, you’ll be able to know exactly how much you’re spending and which areas you could look at cutting back.

 


If you’re not into tech trackers, there’s always a little black book.

 


Once you’ve identified an area where you need to cut back, why not target this area for a month. For example, if you’re finding you spend too much on dining out, you may start to make more of an effort to cook at home and write lists for groceries for tasty pre-planned meals.

 


The best part is by focusing on one main area at a time, you’ll slowly be re-adjusting your spending patterns, and these habits are much more likely to stay with you long term.

 


Myth #2:  It doesn’t matter which day you pay your bills

 


It does. By ensuring you pay your bills on the same date each month, (such as having an automatic transfer on your pay day), you’ll be more likely to stick to your budget and know exactly how much you’ve got to work with each month.

 


One of the best and easiest ways to keep a successful budget is to have direct debits for all of your regular expenses, including your debts. It also means you won’t run short in the lead up to pay day.

 


You’ll find it’s much easier to keep track of how much you can afford to spend each day, and what’s left over for the weekend.

 


Myth #3: You don’t need a budget

 


Most people can only stay in control of their spending if they know how much they can realistically afford to spend without dipping into credit. One way to do this is by limiting cash usage, and using your debit card wherever possible.

 


It’s much easier to see on your statement where you spent $10 here, and $20 there. Also, by using debit you can track your spending much more simply than using that old pen and paper.

 


On that note, it’s also very important to regularly check your statements in order to make sure you’re where you want to be with your weekly or monthly spending.

 


Myth #4: It doesn’t matter when you buy your luxuries

 


For many the point of working hard is to be able to afford life’s little treats along the way. And of course that’s true – rewarding yourself for hard work is essential, but for your budget, it makes a lot of sense to wait until the end of the month.

 


The two main reasons for this are, firstly: you may find that the desire for the item passes, and secondly, you’ll know if you can really afford it that month.

 


If it’s going to tip you over into credit, then maybe you can’t. In other words, the reward will be even sweeter when you know you paid for it yourself.

 


Myth #5: Credit cards are affordable

 


If you dutifully pay off what you owe at the end of every month, credit card ‘debt’ won’t be in your vocab. However, unfortunately, racking up debt is a trap many fall into, and can be a really big handicap when you’re trying to stick to a budget.

 


So, if you have credit card debt, paying it off as quickly as possible should be top priority. Taking out a low or no interest balance transfer card is one way to make sure you are paying it off.

 

By factoring in your credit card payments to your monthly budget, you’ll ensure it goes out on the first of each month, and be slowly chipping the debt down to 0.

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