Do You Believe These Money Myths?

There are a lot of different things you’ll read when it comes to your money.  The personal finance world has lots of people with many opinions.  I’m one of them!  But with so much out there, it can often get confusing.  What do you believe?  What’s true and what’s a suggestion?  I don’t have all the answers.  But there are a few money myths that I’ve seen come up more than a few times.

#1: Always Pay The Higher Interest Loan First

The higher the interest rate means that less of your payment goes to your principal.  This is true.  So, you should always pay the highest interest loan first, right?

Not always.

I think you have some flexibility here.  If you have a loan with a low balance, maybe consider paying that off first.  It will free up some cash flow.  Plus, paying off a loan will give you a ‘win’ on your scorecard.  Those can be very important and might be worth a few bucks in higher interest in the short term.

#2: It’s Too Late To Start Saving

Many people start saving for retirement or their first home right out of the gate.  If you’re one of those people, then congrats.  But if you’re not, don’t worry.

It’s never too late to start saving.  I don’t care how old you are.  Many people who give this answer are just making excuses to continue bad habits.

I don’t care if you have friends that are your age who are already retiring and you haven’t saved a buck.  You should and you can start making a difference.

#3: You Have To Choose Between Paying Off Debt Or Saving Money

I’ve read at least a thousand pieces over the years on this topic.  Which is better if you have extra money?  Paying off debt?  Or saving/investing?

I’ve never understood why people think it has to be either or.  It doesn’t.

If the answer isn’t clear or you don’t have motivation toward one, why choose?  Try a mix of both.  Either one is going to help you in the long run.  And, you might find that one excites you more than the other.  If that happens, then you can make adjustments.

#4: Having An Emergency Fund Is Good Enough

OK, so you saved $1,000 for an emergency fund.  You’re covered, right?  Wrong.

The fact is that even if you’ve built yourself a cushion, there is still work to do.  What if you have an emergency greater than $1,000?  How will you restore your fund if an actual emergency depletes your fund?  What if someone comes to you with an emergency of their own?

Be prepared.  Think ahead.

#5: Following Someone Else’s Budget Is Your Ticket To Success

A budget that works for someone else may not work for you.  Everybody has different circumstances and different needs.

Also, many people are at different stages of how they can handle a budget.  Someone who’s never used a budget should start simple. If they tried to use the budget template of someone that’s had one for twenty years, it probably won’t work.

Budgets come in all shapes and sizes.  There is no one size fits all.

#6: Focus On Cutting Spending To Save Money

This isn’t bad advice.  It’s actually really good advice.  However, it may not always be the best advice.

After all, the advice here only focuses on one side of the equation.  Spending.  This is great, but there’s also opportunity that comes by making more money.

Consider that we all have limited time in our lives in which we can focus on saving money.  If your time allows you to cut $1,000 per month in expenses, that’s great.  But what if you focused that time on earning more money instead?  If you could earn $2,000 per month with the same effort, then focusing on cutting expenses could actually be costing you $1,000 per month.

#7: The Stock Market Is Always Going To Go Up

It may seem like this is true given that it pretty much has for the last ten years.  But it doesn’t.  And it won’t.  Don’t believe people on CNBC that tell you that ‘this time it’s different’.  And that the market can go up forever.

It’s not and it won’t.

Everybody needs to keep an eye on the market and recognize that it’s not a one way only road.  The experts that tell you that it can only go up probably have a plan in place.  And when the market starts going down, they’ll have executed their plan before they go back on the air and talk about the downturn.  Trust me on this.

The fact is, they don’t care about your money.  They care about theirs.  Don’t get the two confused.

Readers, what advice have you heard that may need some corrections or clarifications?  What do you think about the items I mentioned?  Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Projects Around The House – 2017 Edition

This year has been a pretty busy year generally speaking.  Even though there’s a few months left in the year, we’re just about wrapped up with our project list around the house.  Mostly because our budget is exhausted!  Of course, something unexpected could happen.  But, we’re hoping we can make it through the rest of the way.

Exterior Painting

The house hadn’t been painted in at least ten years.  Maybe as long as eighteen.  How do I know?  Because we moved in ten years ago, and the house is eighteen years old.

image from Morguefile courtesy of jade

Most of the home exterior is brick or siding, but all the trim work is wood.

We had some wood that was definitely rotting around some windows and corners.  Paint was flaking.  It was in pretty rough shape.

I happened to be talking to a fellow dad in my son’s Cub Scout troop and mentioned our need.  He mentioned that his former neighbor was a house painter.  He said he did great work and was very reasonable.  They’d just used him to paint their house, and he invited me over to take a look.  I went over right away and it looked great.

I brought him out to get a quote.  It was less than what I thought we’d spend.  We decided to use him.  In addition to painting, he power washed the exterior.  He replaced the bad wood.  He scraped where it was needed.  All cracks and crevices were re-caulked.  He added screws to areas where some nails had popped out.  He primed where needed.  And he put two coats everywhere, and in some cases three.

He even painted our shutters and front door with new colors.

The place looks great.

Appliances

We bought new LG kitchen appliances earlier in the summer.  On a side note, click here to find out why GE was ruled out.  We’d already had a newer dishwasher, so we didn’t need that.  Our purchases were made at JC Penney.

We had the fridge and stove installed.  The microwave is still in the box.  I just need a pair of hands to help install that myself.  But so far we love the new appliances.  We have extra fridge and freezer space (the old box got moved down to the basement).  In addition, the oven cooks to a more accurate temperature and cooks evenly.

Plus, it gives the kitchen a more updated look.

Deck Painting

Our deck is starting to show age pretty considerably.  We’ll probably have to have the horizontal surfaces replaced in a couple of years.  I’ve done some pretty meticulous paint jobs over the years, which has helped.  I plan to give it a quick painting in the next couple of weeks.  I’m not going to bother with the power washing and scraping.  Unfortunately, I think that’d do more harm than good.  I will give it a light wash and paint.  I think doing it before the winter will help give it an extra year or two versus if I wait another year.

Tree Trimming

The neighbors have trees in their yard that hang over our yard.  Over the years, the trees have grown considerably.  I’ve longed to get them trimmed for a while.  The neighbors really don’t care about the overgrowth on their side.  I’ve got a quote that I knew couldn’t be beat.

The problem is that I can’t get the company to come out!  The good news is that they’re the same company that our subdivision uses for the common areas.  I’ve used them before.  So, I’ve gotten used to having to bug them to get the work done.  It’s a pain to chase them.  But they do good work and the price is right.  We’re hoping to snag them before the year ends.

That’s all we have lined up and planned.  Again, hoping that there aren’t any emergencies.

As for next year, we’ll see.  Stay tuned.

Readers, have you done any home improvement projects?  How did everything go?  Let me know in the comments below.  And thanks for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Random Roundup – September 15, 2017

Happy Friday.  We’re getting some summer like weather here in Michigan.  It’s been a pretty chilly few weeks, with below average temps for much of the last month.  We’ll be enjoying the warm temps though we already have some fall colors and leaves dropping.

Great Personal Finance Posts

I love reading other personal finance blogs.  They inspire me and teach me.  It seems lately there have been a bundle of good posts.  Here are a few recent favorites.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I hope you enjoy these posts.  Have a great weekend!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

10 Easy Things I Do To Save Money

Saving money is a big deal.  Many people don’t know where to start.  It doesn’t have to be hard.  In fact, when it comes to saving money, think small.  A small saving is easy to do.  And many small savings add up to BIG savings.

Here are some quick and easy things I do to save.  Hopefully some of these work for you.

Call The Cable Company

Every year or so our bill jumps up.  Every year or so I call them and ask them to lower our bill.  Guess what?  It works.  We save at least $40 compared to regular pricing.

Make My Own Coffee

I brew my own coffee every day. Even at work, I bring my own ground coffee.  I indulge in buying Half & Half.  All told, it costs a fraction of what I’d spend at Starbucks.

Use Reward Credit Cards

I barely swipe our debit card anymore.  Now, I use a credit card whenever possible.  Why?  Because all of our cards generate rewards.  We have one airline card and three cash cards.  Since we pay off the balance every month, it’s just free flights and money.  You can’t really beat that, can you?

Watch My Mileage

Often when driving around, I’ll switch my dash display to show my mileage.  Why?  Because when I watch how I’m driving, I drive better.  With gas prices back up again, every less bit of fuel used is a savings.  Why burn money that you don’t have to?

Avoid Vending Machines

I stopped buying things out of the vending machines a couple of years ago.  Now I refuse to.  Not only is what’s in there generally bad for you, it’s always overpriced.

Stack Savings

We stock up on some items at the grocery store.  The trick is to buy things you’ll use.  Also, make sure that they won’t go bad before you use them.  If you have items on that, look for coupons and use them when the item is on sale.  It’s savings on top of savings!

Order Water

Sometimes at a restaurant I’ll get a cocktail or a glass of wine, but otherwise it’s straight water.  I don’t order soft drinks or lemonade.  If you do this, though, make sure you tip as if you did buy something.  After all, the waitperson had to keep your water filled.  Even so, you save money.

Photo by EthanN77 courtesy of MorgueFile.

Borrow Books From The Library

I read over 50 fiction novels a year.  But, I can’t tell you the last time I bought one.  Instead, I do most of my reading through the library. This is a huge money saver.

Take A Break On Impulse Purchases

If you come across a great deal but you didn’t plan it, consider waiting.  Just give it a day and see if it’s still something you want.  Often times, I will take a day or two, and often times what I thought about purchasing is no longer important.

Buy Generic

Brand names are what you think of for most items.  But that only means you see more advertising.  It doesn’t mean it’s a better product.  Take a chance on generic or off brand items. In many cases, they’re the same or better quality.  And if they aren’t, well then it’s OK to go back to the brand name.

Readers, what are some ways you look to save money?  Are there any simple and easy tricks?  Let me know your secrets in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

 

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.