Saving, spending or investing? Smart money decisions shouldn't be based on money myths. So here are three common ones to be aware of – and some myth-busting tips to help you focus on getting the most from your money.

Myth 1: People like me don’t invest

You don’t need to be in a position to build a property portfolio or be a stock market expert to invest. If your short term financial needs are covered it could be time to consider your options – and there is information and support available to help you get started.

  • Explore your options. There are lots of ways to invest, from stocks and shares ISAs and pensions, to investment funds and bonds. You could invest a lump sum, or monthly.
  • Take a balanced view. It’s essential to understand the risks as well as the potential rewards.
  • Take it step by step. It can seem daunting to get started. Our 5 step guide could be helpful. You might also find professional advice useful.
  • The low risk option. Not all investments are purely financial. You could invest in yourself – there’s little risk involved with a night class, for example, but if it boosts your skills or gives you a new creative outlet it could be time and money well spent.

Myth 2: I can’t save money

Small amounts add up – by making saving a habit it gets easier. Here’s how to get started:

  • Small goals, or big ambitions? Choose your target – anything from a weekend away to a step on the property ladder. Track your progress online, keep a saving diary or try a bullet journal.
  • Save first, not last. Make saving one of the first things on your budget. Don’t leave it to the end of the month.
  • Scrutinise statements. You might spot a regular treat you could do without. Or hunt out a better deal on utilities and save the difference.
  • Every penny counts. Save your loose change at the end of each day – or try the ‘penny challenge’. Put aside 1p on day one, 2p on day two, 3p on day three and so on. By day 365 you’re putting aside £3.65 so it gets trickier, but you could save £667.95 in a year

Myth 3: I’ll never get on the property ladder

It can seem out of reach, but there were 365,000 first time buyers in 2017 – the highest number since 2006.1 Here’s how you could join them:

  • Step by step. Buying a home is an investment in your future and there’s a lot to think about. If you break it down into smaller steps it becomes more manageable. You might find our guide helpful.
  • Assess your situation. Sit down with a mortgage calculator. It will help give you an idea of the costs involved – and give you a motivating target to save for a deposit.
  • Look for support. Government-led initiatives like Help to Buy can be great for first-time buyers – it’s worth doing a bit of research to see what support you might be eligible for.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re not alone in having questions. You might find our FAQs helpful.

1. Source: UK Finance