4. Splurging. Splurging every once in a while is perfectly fine if you’ve built up an emergency fund, are saving for retirement, and have eliminated all of your credit card debt. The secret is to do it in moderation.
5. Letting your kids fail. It may seem cruel, but parents who aren’t afraid to let their kids spend their money on ill-advised purchases (especially those with limited shelf lives) are actually doing them a favor. Experience is a terrific teacher and, with respect to personal finance, it’s better they err early when the impacts are relatively benign. Those “wasted” dollars are money well spent – an invaluable investment in your kids’ personal finance education.
6. Buying a used car. Sure, new cars are great, but they’re an extremely expensive proposition. Financially, they make little sense. The truth is, folks who can live without that new car smell, and are willing to pay for occasional maintenance and repair costs, will get maximum value by buying used instead of new.
7. Loaning money to family. There’s no problem at all with this as long as you are willing to accept that you may never get your money back.
8. Filling a new home with hand-me-down furniture. Here’s a tip for first-time home buyers who are just starting out and find themselves short of cash: It’s not against the law to buy a new home and fill the rooms with hand-me-down or used furniture – or even leave a room or two completely empty. Patience is a virtue.
9. Asking for a lower price. Why is negotiating considered taboo? I’m not suggesting you should go into a grocery store and start negotiating down the price of canned corn. You have to be reasonable and pick your spots. However, there are many stores and service providers out there who will negotiate. The trick is mustering the courage to simply ask if you can get a better price. The worst they can say is “no.”
10. Saying no. Speaking of “no,” we all want to be liked. So it’s not surprising that for many people, myself included, saying no can be extremely difficult at times. Unfortunately, one of the biggest risks to our personal finances is the inability to say no, whether, for example, it’s to satisfy a friend asking you to cosign a loan – or even to yourself when being tempted to keep up with the Joneses.
11. Buying store-brand labels. As my unscientific blind taste tests have proven time and again, sometimes it makes absolutely zero sense paying a premium for name-brand labels. Believe it or not, those bargain store-brand labels are often just as good (if not better) than their name-brand counterparts.