4 Money Lies You Might Be Telling Yourself

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 in to 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.

Kurt Smith is a financial and relationship counselor at Guy Stuff Counseling and Coaching.

The article 4 Money Lies You Might Be Telling Yourself originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Say Goodbye to Money Stress

Money-related stress doesn’t discriminate. Whether individuals are financially well off or not, most still worry about their finances: A 2016 survey by the American Psychological Association found that 61% of Americans were either somewhat or very stressed about money.

Many of us get sucked into the mindset that if we just had more money, we wouldn’t worry so much — but that wouldn’t necessarily be the case. So how can you have less money stress within your current financial situation? Here are five ways.

1. Monitor your accounts less often

Logging into your checking or savings account every day isn’t necessary or healthy. Getting a text message every time there’s a change in your account isn’t either — it just adds unnecessary stress. It’s important to keep tabs on your financial situation, but doing so a little less often can make you much happier.

2. Focus on your needs

We may believe we need the newest smartphone or a new vehicle, but these are truly luxury items we could live without. And when we pause and think about our true needs — food, shelter, water, clothing, love — and how abundantly they’re already met, we realize how commercialized our thinking can be. It can feel good to discover how much you can live without.

3. Set spending limits

It might sound counterintuitive, but having appropriate boundaries can actually be freeing. Try designating an amount to spend each month on discretionary purchases such as eating out and entertainment. You can then spend guilt-free within your boundaries. When the allotted money runs out, you’ll know you have to wait until next month to spend more. This simple step can help you live within your means and take away the stress of wondering what you can afford.

4. Remember, money is a tool

Money is understandably an emotional issue, but it’s useful to remember that at its core, money is a tool used to purchase goods or services. Assuming one already lives reasonably comfortably, more money doesn’t truly provide more security or comfort, as we sometimes want to believe. When we accept that it essentially allows us to trade with others, we can let go of the emotions we’ve attached to it and think of it just as a means of exchange.

5. Find other sources of joy

No matter how much money you have, it won’t necessarily bring you happiness or change the overall quality of your life. Some of the most joyful people have very little money, and some of the wealthiest people are still very unhappy. Try finding joy and happiness in the life you live right now. What blessings do you already have? What are you grateful for that money didn’t provide? The sooner you can find contentment in the life you already live, the quicker you’ll be able to experience lasting happiness and joy.

Don’t let money dominate your thoughts or raise your stress level. Instead, create a lifestyle that helps you live within your means and recognizes that money alone won’t provide happiness.

Kurt Smith, Psy. D., is a financial and relationship counselor at Guy Stuff Counseling and Coaching

The article Say Goodbye to Money Stress originally appeared on NerdWallet.