Debt seems fairly commonplace nowadays and a slew of money myths are partly to blame. From school loans to buying a home, debt is almost inevitable, but it doesn't have to be permanent. I found myself falling victim to several of these money myths myself. Oddly enough, once I stopped, managing my finances became much easier and it will for you too.
1. It's a Family Thing
Yes, we do pick up quite a few of our habits from our family and friends. Dealing with the crushing weight of debt day after day doesn't have to be one of them. I've heard so many people claim they're bad with money because their family is. This one of the more common money myths. You are your own person and your family's bad habits don't have to be yours.
2. Debt is Normal
Debt is normal for most people, but not to the point that it's overwhelming. Debt that's completely out of control doesn't have to be your normal. The stress that comes along with it wears you down and you can't even enjoy the things you're in debt for. Accepting that it's not normal helps you realize it's time to make some major financial changes to fix your finances and improve your life.
3. I Can't Start Saving until...
I was extremely guilty of this one for a time. I kept saying I'd start saving once I started earning X amount each week or after I bought some important thing. The truth is, it's never too early to start saving. You never know when you might need the extra money for an emergency or just to have that little extra for Christmas. Even if it's only $5 a week, it's a start. Saving now helps ease debt later.
4. It'll Always Be This Way
When your debt just keeps growing, it's easy to get depressed and feel like there's nothing you can do about it. Far too many are sucked in by this myth. Just because you're in debt now doesn't mean you will be forever. Take a moment to create a plan to pay off your debt by a certain period. It gives you something to look forward to and keeps you motivated to keep working towards your debt free goal.
5. I Just Have Bad Luck
It's true that bad things happen. Maybe you've lost your job or wrecked your car and now you're suddenly saddled with bills you're not ready to handle. Money couldn't care less about luck. Good and bad times happen to everyone. Hard work is the only way to truly take control of your debt. Stop blaming bad luck, start working hard and watch your debt fade away.
6. It's Too Late to Budget
Many people think it's too late to make a budget once the damage is done. After all, budgeting helps you stay out of debt, right? Yes and no. Budgets are designed to help you spend within your means. Debt is simply a set of bills to be paid. Creating a budget around those bills helps you stay on top of the debt without making it worse.
7. Extra Credit Cards Help My Credit
Part of your credit score is determined by how much credit you have available to you. Some people are sucked into the myth that by having more credit cards, they'll have a better credit score. This only works if you don't use them much. The more cards you have, the more tempted you are to spend. Limiting yourself to two or three helps you reduce your spending and still maintain a great score.
We'll probably all be in debt at some point in our lives. The key is not to let our debt control us. Don't give in to these myths and remember that we do have options to eventually reach our dream of financial freedom. What money myths have you heard and how do you combat them?