6. I’m healthy, so I don’t need health insurance.
Everyone is healthy—until they’re not. Getting hurt or sick is expensive, which is part of the reason why medical bills are the biggest cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. There’s a lot of uncertainty around health insurance right now, but if you have an opportunity to get coverage, either through your employer or Healthcare.gov, you should do it. Don’t wait until there’s an emergency, because then you’ll be stuck with the bill.
7. I saved money on this purchase!
Nope, that’s the oldest marketing trick in the book. Just because something is on sale, or there was a 2-for-1 deal or free shipping on the item, that doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Most sales and promotions are just a savvy way for stores to trick you into spending even more.
If you were already planning to buy this particular thing and it just happened to be on sale—congratulations! You did save money! But if you bought something you otherwise wouldn’t have purchased just because of the sale sticker, you now have less money than you did this morning. That doesn’t sound like saving to me.
8. I don’t know anything about finance.
We’re not all finance nerds, but you don’t have to be a banker to understand the basics of where your money is and what it’s doing. There are tons of resources out there to help demystify everything from mutual funds to how credit cards work. Take a deep breath and sit down with some 101 articles—or a patient, finance-savvy friend—to start educating yourself. I promise, getting to a balanced budget or getting started investing will feel less daunting once you start learning more about it.
9. I’ll be earning more in the future.
Are you a future-predicting wizard? If not, then you have no idea what you’ll be making in the future! Maybe your job will get replaced by a robot. Maybe you’ll invent flying cars and retire in three years. There’s no way of knowing, which is exactly why planning on future income is a terrible idea.
You can’t pay rent, car insurance or bills with imaginary money, so stop counting on using your future money that doesn’t exist yet—and maybe never will. If you do end up with a higher-paying job, that’s great, and you can adjust your budget accordingly. Until then, though, you should budget based on what you actually have.
10. It’s good debt!
Like cholesterol, we’re told that there’s the kind of debt that’s cool to keep around, and then there’s the kind that will kill you in your sleep. “Good debt” generally applies to student loans or a mortgage, which can contribute to long-term wealth. When we talk about “bad debt,” it’s usually describing credit cards with high interest rates.
It’s true that some kinds of debt are worse than others, but all debt means you owe someone money. Sticking with the “all debt is bad debt” approach will help you keep it under control.