With over 14 million members, the Reddit personal finance thread is an excellent resource for personal finance questions. The problem is that with THAT many people, you’re going to get both awesome advice and less-than-awesome advice.
So how do you know which personal finance advice is good on Reddit? Well, the upvotes are a solid indicator. Upvotes show how many times a comment has been liked, essentially. Another excellent method is to keep reading below.
My top 5 Reddit Personal Finance threads:
5. My Dad just figured out he’s been paying $30/month for AOL dial-up internet he hasn’t used for at least the last ten years.
He’s actually super smart financially. Budgets his money, is on track to retire next year (he’s 56 now), uses a credit card for all his spending for points, and owns approximately 14 rental properties. I don’t think he’s used dial up for at least the last 10….15 years? Anything he can do other than calling and cancelling now?
This is not an uncommon story and it is exactly why I tell everyone who reads my book to start using an app like Mint.com to manage their money. This guy even checked his statements, although not carefully enough. A quick glance at Mint, or another personal finance software program, would have quickly told him about the odd charges; especially after a decade!
4. Seriously, get and use a credit card
I’ve encountered many people, both in my personal life and online, that insist upon using a debit card for their purchases, instead of using a credit card — either because they don’t yet have one, or because they have some fear of using a credit card. There are literally no cons to using a credit card if, and here’s the catch, you’re responsible. That’s all. There are so many pros built in to using a credit card over a debit card.
Many of the personal finance experts will tell you to pay everything in cash and that is crazy. Credit cards are great tools so long as you never use more than 25% of your available credit, that you pay off every penny in full every month and that you make sure the rewards you receive exceed any annual fees you may be paying for the card.
3. For everyone shopping on Amazon’s Prime Day: “savings” from sales aren’t savings if you weren’t already planning on buying the item.
This is a trap a lot of people fall into (myself included): just because it’s a “good deal” doesn’t mean you “saved” money by buying it, it’s still money that you spent! This might be obvious to most people but it’s a good reminder that pops up on here occasionally and has stopped me from making some dumb purchases on more than one occasion. Hopefully it helps someone on this Prime Day.
Whenever I hear someone say that they bought something because it was x% off, I always annoyingly remind them that it would be 100% off if they didn’t buy it at all. Same theory in this Reddit thread and it is true. How many ad’s do you see online for new products that are always 20%+ off? Marketers will make a $10 product, show the list price as $40 and sell it for $30 giving you $10 off! Sounds great, but it’s just a $30 product. If you want it and can afford it then buy it, but don’t fall for discount marketing.
2. Please, for the sake of your wallet, meal prep
Every Sunday, for about 2 hours, I cook and cook and cook. I make sure I make enough for my fiancé and I to have lunches for the entire week. That’s all it takes, two hours! And like $40 in groceries. When I was really struggling for money, I would still find myself going out to lunch every single day and spending $10-$15 a meal. That’s $50-$75 a week! Now I cook for two people for less than that.
Meal prepping is good for your body and your cash. It doesn’t matter how much cash you have, the problem with eating out is that, even if you think you’re eating healthy, restaurants need the food to taste good so you keep coming back. They do that by adding unhealthy fats and sodium to the menu. There is no downside to meal prepping; even if you just do the first few days of the week. If your cash heavy, have a chef do it for you. Be sure to also check out this genius who wrote a short article on meal prepping that even gives you an easy place to start.
1. Don’t look at your 401k balances today; it has no impact on your long-term investment outlook
I’m sure this will get buried among the many posts today, but it bears repeating: short-term fluctuations in the stock market are short-term. The fact that the market is down right now does not affect your long-term investment outlook, as stocks are a long-term game. If you sell now, you will lose out on the rebound, just as my parents did during the financial crisis of 2008/2009. You do not want to sell now unless you are selling as part of your financial planning objectives that you have identified long before the whole Coronavirus panic hit.
This Reddit title is so important, because it sums up investing in one sentence. Don’t worry about dips during a market downturn anymore than you should gains during a bull market. Make sure you’re diversified with instruments that have low expense ratios and keep those contributions going.
Photo Credit: My Instagram