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Classic Money Management Mantras That Stand the Test of Time



The English language is full of money-related idioms that have been providing sound financial advice for generations. While tips for frugality are a dime a dozen, a few of these old-fashioned sayings really do contain nuggets of wisdom that can help you budget, plan, and protect your cash, so you can feel like a million bucks when you see your accounts not just stabilize but actually grow. And you can take that to the bank!

A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned

This is probably the most important money-related advice to take: It’s never too early nor too late to start saving. This isn't just about retirement, either. Are you prepared if your vehicle up and quits on you? Your furnace conks out? Your kiddo needs braces, or your pet needs surgery, or you have sudden, unexpected medical bills of your own? For most of us, money doesn’t grow on trees, which means we work hard for our incomes. Don’t be caught short. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is your No. 1 priority. Make sure you’re putting savings aside when you get your paycheck, and not just tucking away what’s left over — this is called “paying yourself first,” and it’s a time-tested principle that you should definitely take to heart.

Live Within Your Means

This isn't about being closefisted; it’s about being frugal and moneywise. When you spend more than you earn, you may find yourself in a financial hole of your own making. Buying everything on credit and not paying your full bill off every month basically means you’re paying a far higher price for your purchases than you ever would have agreed to in the first place. A pair of $40 shoes could cost you $45, $50, or even more with accrued interest. To avoid this trap, pay cash or use your debit card for your everyday purchases, and save your credit card for emergencies or big-ticket items that you can’t pay for in cash up front, such as a car or important home repairs.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

This old saw basically means you should fix something when it’s only slightly damaged rather than waiting and ending up with a huge bill because over time the damage has grown. It’s the difference between coughing up $50 for an oil change vs. the price of a new engine or a whole new car because yours seized when it ran out of oil. Regular maintenance and upkeep of your possessions — changing the oil, mending a seam, getting your furnace serviced yearly — will save you in the long run, shielding you from throwing good money after bad. After all, time is money.

A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted

Do you know where your money actually goes? If you’re not tracking your spending, you could be throwing away hundreds of dollars on unnecessary items, or you could even be the victim of a scam or hacker and not even realize until it’s too late. For example, do you make shopping lists and stick to them, or do you come home from the grocery store with jars of peanut butter only to find you already have four in the cupboard? Have you ever found that the two-dollar tip you left at lunch somehow turned into $12, or even $20? Whether you use an old-fashioned checkbook, an online spreadsheet, a smartphone app, or some combination of these, it’s essential to pay attention to money in and money out.