The Most Important Personal Finance Rules Never Change

The Most Important Personal Finance Rules Never Change

We talk a lot about personal finance. And while there are always new ways of thinking about your budget, you can always quickly identify the rules that matter most: they’re the ones that don’t change.

Australian money photo by Shutterstock

As personal finance blog Budgets Are Sexy points out, the fundamentals of budgeting and saving money don’t tend to change over time. While the best types of investments might change with the decades, and newer tools might appear, the basics remain the same: spend less than you make. Be patient and consider the long term. Be aware of compound interest. These things don’t change with the seasons:

You might recall my book on Thrift I picked up from 1875:

“Thrift does not require superior courage, nor superior intellect, nor any superhero virtue. It merely requires common sense, and the power of resisting selfish enjoyments. In fact, thrift is merely common sense in every-day working action. It needs no fervent resolution, but only a little patient self-denial. Begin is its device! The more the habit of thrift is practiced, the easier it becomes, and the sooner it compensates the self-denier for the sacrifices which it has imposed.”

Sound like “spending less than you make?” Or “being frugal?” Or how about “Fruclassity” — a term my dear friends Prudence and Laurie have coined? Point is, money works the same back then as it does now. There are no secrets, or get rich quick schemes, or any of those magic potions we would just LOVE to turn out to be true. Only new ways of expressing ideas around finances in hopes they sink in and finally cause that epiphany.

It’s OK to read personal finance tips and learn all you can about how to budget better. At the end of the day, though, most tips centre around the psychology of creating new habits, breaking old ones, and understanding how money works over time. There’s very little about how to save money that’s ever truly new.

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