By Kurt Smith
Learn more about Kurt at NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor
If you’re like many people, you tell yourself little money lies without even realizing it. These lies might justify spending or a lack of savings, or help you avoid dealing with money altogether. Regardless of the reason, they disconnect you from your finances and limit you now and in the future.
If you’re telling yourself any of these money lies, it’s time to take a good, honest look at your financial situation.
1. I just need to get through this rough patch
I hear this one a lot: You can’t save until you’ve paid off your car repair or your daughter’s braces or — enter any other reason here.
People who are always waiting to clear their latest hurdle before they get a hold on their finances never have control. Life is full of unexpected expenses. That’s why it’s important to contribute regularly to an emergency fund. Doing so will keep it ready for the next surprise.
2. I have plenty of time to contribute to my 401(k)
You might have 20, 30 or even 40 years before you plan to retire — but starting to save early lets you take advantage of compound interest and sets you up for financial success and freedom down the line. If you get into the habit of putting a small amount of each paycheck into a 401(k), it will become second nature and you won’t even notice the missing amount.
The longer you put off contributing, however, the harder it will be to start. Waiting too long to invest could cost you thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands, in the long haul.
3. I deserve this
We all love to treat ourselves, and it’s easy to overspend when you feel like you deserve something. Excuses like “I had a bad day at work” or “I deserve a break” can justify a nice lunch or a pair of shoes you might not normally purchase. This doesn’t mean you should never splurge, but if it becomes too common a practice, it can put a big dent in your budget.
4. When I have a better job, I can be more financially stable
Making more money doesn’t always automatically lead to having more money. You can set yourself up for financial success with the resources you have right now. Start by living within your means, which means buying only things you can afford after paying your bills, paying down debt and contributing toward savings.
You may get raises in the future, but your expenses will likely also increase. If you always wait until you’re making more money to become more financially stable, you’ll always be waiting.
Lying is unhealthy in any relationship, even when you’re doing it only to yourself. Be honest about your spending and savings so you can improve your money habits and have a better future.