Ask anyone what the important rules of money are and they’ll likely be able to give you several maxims that at least sound like good advice. Unfortunately, many people are walking around following rules that really don’t apply anymore. The subject of personal finance seems to attract old wives’ tales that masquerade as solid advice. If you follow any of these “rules”, you may be cheating yourself out of a fatter wallet:

1. Don’t use credit if you have the cash to pay for it. This well-meaning advice assumes that you aren’t able to handle the purchasing power of a credit card. After all, studies have shown that consumers spend roughly 30% more with a credit card versus those using strictly cash.

Still, it’s a different story when you already have the cash saved up for what you want to buy. Your credit card can offer you any number of perks and by charging when you have the money to pay off the card each month, you are earning those perks for free — not to mention the benefit of improving your credit rating.

My credit card, for example, offers 2.5% cash back for everything I buy. That’s an instant discount. Some even offer 5, 6% off for specific categories. The savings add up.

This advice is just troubling when you realize the flip side of the rule would be to use credit when you don’t have the cash. In that case, you would spend money you don’t have and also accrue interest. This rule should be rewritten to say “only use credit if you have the cash and a plan for paying it off.”

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