It was a wise person that came up with the phrase “my two cents”, because everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to money. Scroll through any forum or comment section and you’ll find a generous collection of people typing hard and fast advice to each other about how to get out of debt, how to save more, how to spend less, how to pay down $250,000 of debt in 18 months and how to buy a property at 22.
But how much of this advice is worthless? Quite a bit, it would seem. In my nearly four years writing about finance, here are seven financial tips I’ve come to realise are pure garbage.
1. Make your coffee at home or in the office.
I tried this. I got up early, I poured my terrible-tasting coffee into my KeepCup and I almost cried as it spilled all over my hands on the bus. After I cleaned myself off at work, I calculated that I would save $35 per week by not purchasing my twice-daily coffee (one $3.50 coffee twice a day, five times a week).
This was not worth it for me. Those that love telling you how to save money will tell you that I am “wasting” over $1,800 a year on coffee. But what they don’t consider is the health aspect of leaving my desk to buy coffee, the social benefits of my coffee run with my colleagues and the fact that I’m supporting local businesses.
And if saving $35 per week could really help you, you could always find a way to earn $35 extra per week and call it even.
2. Spend less money than you earn.
This leads nicely onto the next piece of useless financial advice. If you have a problem with your budget or you find yourself spending more than you earn, the first frustrating thing that someone will tell you is to just “spend less than you earn”. This is a useless long-term strategy.
You should be looking at ways to increase what you earn. If you have no savings or assets, find ways to earn more right now and invest it down the track.
With platforms like Airtasker, Freelancer, Uber, Car Next Door, Gumtree, Airbnb and eBay, there are myriad ways to easily and quickly increase your income.
If renting out a room, renting your car, working online, selling your stuff or offering some other service isn’t for you, then look at the money you do have and start investing. These days, you can invest in property for just $100.
The 5:2 diet...for your MONEY. Post continues...
3. Buy in bulk.
I have a few problems with this advice. Firstly, it only works if you have enough money to buy large quantities of one type of item in the first place. Then, your money, which could have been put towards some sort of investment to build your wealth, is literally sitting around in the form of 10 kilos of coffee (this is a guess, I don’t even know if you can do this).