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Christmas might be the holiday that people spend the most money on, but Halloween isn’t too far behind, and spending is on the rise each year. From costumes to decorations to candy, Halloween takes a big chunk out of our wallets. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. If you’ve got a good handle on your personal finances, you can still make the most of Halloween (and the rest of the year) without spending a lot. But you’ve got to watch out for personal finance myths, too.
Personal finance myths are those bits of advice that sound plausible but are actually not. But too many people fall for personal finance myths and wind up doing more harm to their finances than good. Follow this personal finance guide this Halloween season so you don’t get tricked.
As a kid, you probably knew there were certain houses to avoid going to on Halloween. Likewise, as an adult, there is certain financial advice you shouldn’t listen to. Here are some personal finance myths you should avoid.
Following this advice is like thinking you’ve got a great candy bar in your bag and finding out it tastes like cardboard. You’re in for the same nasty surprise if you wait too long to start saving for retirement.
The earlier you start saving, the better off you’ll be when you’re ready to retire. But wait till you’re 40 or later, and you’ll wind up with significantly less money at retirement.
You probably have one friend from childhood who always tried to talk you into some Halloween mischief. Now, you likely have a friend that is always talking about investing in precious metals. The truth is that precious metals are a very risky investment since the market is volatile, and wild price swings are common.
This myth is partially true. So long as you pay your credit cards on time, your credit score shouldn’t go down. But it may not go up either. If you carry large balances on more than one credit card, your credit score can still be affected.
Even worse, paying the minimum really just covers the interest charged on the balance each month, plus a minute amount more. That means you’ll wind up paying potentially thousands more in interest over the time it takes to pay down your balances.
As a child, you learned over the years which houses in your neighborhood had the best candy at Halloween. As an adult, it’s time to pick up a few helpful tips about personal finance, too.
It’s a simple thing to do, and it can make a big difference in how well you manage your personal finances. Simply create a budget by figuring out your income and expenses. See what’s left over for savings or activities such as dining out. Once you have a clear idea of where your money is going, you can take steps to eliminate expenses you don’t really need.
Think you don’t have enough money left over to save anything? Think again! Even just putting aside a few dollars each week can accumulate to a significant amount over the course of a year. Try using savings apps that take the change left over from debit card purchases and puts it into a savings account. Then you can save without even thinking about it.
This seems like a pretty common sense tip — like not eating all your candy all at once. But just as very few children ever listened to that sage advice, many people still fail to pay their bills on time too.
Always prioritize paying your bills over other spending. This will help you better track your spending and stick to your budget. And, you won’t wind up with late fees either. It also helps to improve your credit score.
One of the most significant steps to getting ahead in your personal finances is to eliminate debt. And the number one debt most people have is credit card debt. If you’ve got credit card debt, the first thing you need to do is stop using your credit cards. Then, start paying down the debt as much as you can and as quickly as possible. This will help you save money on the interest. And, once the debt is gone, you’ll have more money available for other things.
If your place of employment offers a retirement plan, then join it. If they don’t, or you aren’t eligible for it, then you can start a retirement plan with a financial advisor. You’ll be surprised how quickly your retirement savings will grow over the years if you start early enough.
Over the years, your insurance needs will change. It’s a good idea to review all your insurance coverages once a year to see if anything needs adjusting. Does your insurance policy make sense? Do you need full car insurance coverage on an older car? Do you have enough life insurance to cover your spouse or any dependents? Some of the changes you can make might save you money.
Keeping good records throughout the year will ensure you don’t miss any deductions when you file your taxes. Set up a recording and tracking system so that you’re prepared when it is tax time.
Halloween will always be full of tricks and treats. But with some planning and common sense, you can eliminate the tricks from your personal finances. Follow the above advice, and you’ll be on track to improved financial success.