Money-saving superstitions are some of the most common found on the Internet. But there are also many widespread financial myths that promise big savings but have no basis in fact or reality.
From being careful with your change to buying gold rather than stocks, these misconceptions often carry more weight than they should.
We’ve compiled a list of seven myths about money-saving techniques you shouldn’t belie. These myths are listed in order of least harmful to most harmful, i.e., #1 may be unlikely to affect you much, while #6 is likely to cause you financial hardship if you follow it.
Switching Electricity Provider Will Save You Money
Myth: It’s worth shopping around for an electricity provider because rates vary widely from company to company.
Reality: The truth is that the vast majority of people are unable to negotiate better rates with their current providers so there’s no reason to switch unless your provider charges a flat fee for electricity rather than a rate based on usage, which is about half of Americans have. Even so, review sites like PowertoChoose.org list market rates between companies so you can still save by switching providers even if none offer reduced rates.
Investing in Gold Can Protect Your Investment During Tough Economic Times
Myth: After years of bad market performance, gold prices have shot up and some people believe that this is a safe investment and means that they can protect their money from potential economic disasters.
Reality: The value of gold fluctuates widely over time, which makes it more similar to a commodity than an investment. In fact, if you check out historical fluctuations in the price of gold since its peak around 1980, you’ll notice that during tough times when investors turn to more traditional investments like stocks or real estate for protection against inflation, the value of gold tends to drop. Even though it’s widely believed that the demand for this precious metal will surge during a recession, you won’t necessarily get a return on your investment if it doesn’t.
Paying Your Taxes Late Will Result In Big Penalties
Myth: If you pay your taxes late, you’ll be hit with a penalty.
Reality: Actually, the government is pretty understanding about tax issues and penalties are usually waived if you can show that paying on time would cause extreme financial hardship for you or your family. It’s also worth knowing that there’s a waiver specifically designed to cover any non-refundable tax credit (like education credits or child care expenses) which may be important to understand as this type of credit becomes more prevalent as part of the U.S.’s overall economic recovery efforts.
Coupons Can Save You Hundreds at the Grocery Store
Myth: Stores like Target and CVS typically require couponers to submit multiple coupons per transaction, which can lead some people to believe that if they use the right combination of coupons, they’ll save hundreds.
Reality: While you may save $10 or $15 dollars on your grocery trip, don’t expect to save $100 even if you manage to find dozens of coupons expiring at midnight tonight. Many big-name stores like Target and CVS now require coupon users to buy additional items in order for their coupons to be valid, so unless you have a mannequin in the back seat of your car, it’s unlikely that you’ll always have other items handy when purchasing groceries at these stores. If you want to actually get money back from using coupons rather than just foregoing their value, try a site like Ebates.com that gives you rebates on your grocery store purchases if they’re made through their site or an affiliated partner.
If Your Credit Card is Declined, You’ll Be Blacklisted
Myth: Because credit card companies want to keep their customers happy so they can turn them into lifelong patrons who rack up tons of debt in exchange for rewards points or cashback deals, they’re willing to work with anyone whose credit limit has been lowered or whose card has been declined.
Reality: This is definitely not the case. If your credit card issuer declines your credit limit, they’re not doing it because they want to help you out; instead, they may be trying to send you a message that your debt level is too high for their comfort and if you don’t change spending habits soon, there’s no telling what will happen. Credit card companies aren’t required to tell you why your limit was set or changed so be on the lookout for other reasons like one-time mistakes (like late payments) that might affect future purchases.
Read More On 8 Reasons to Love Living in New York