Spending money is easy. In fact, it’s beyond easy and that fact alone puts millions of people in debt every year. We’ve talked a lot about stupid things ways people waste money, but sometimes it’s the little daily spending habits that are dangerous to your financial security. I virtually guarantee that we’ve all done at least one of these bad spending habits in the past, and these habits might be the reason you’re stuck in debt.
1. Impulse buying
Marketers are ridiculously good at making you think that you’ve simply got to have whatever it is that they’re selling. Impulse buying is the primary way that most people get into trouble, and being conscious of it is your best solution for fixing the problem. There are many different ways to try and curb impulse buying, but this is my preferred method.
2. Keeping up with the Joneses
Jealousy and envy is sort of a part of being human, and it can lead people to buying things they really don’t need. You don’t actually need a new car, simply because Sue in accounting bought one. And although your brother might have purchased a new laptop, yours really does work just fine. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to compete with others when it comes to spending. Besides, for all you know, the people you’re emulating might be in even more debt than you.
3. Practicing “retail therapy”
Buying new things can really be a huge pick-me-up, whether it’s recovering from a stressful day or simply going out and relieving boredom with a new toy. However, retail therapy is not only an ridiculously expensive way to cope, but it also leads to impulse spending and more stress in the long run. It’s like a vicious cycle. Instead, try and spend your time on other pursuits and save the spending for special occasions and meaningful moments.
4. Treating yourself too much
Now, we’re not trying to say you should never treat yourself to anything–that would be quite a boring life! But, it’s not a treat if it happens on a daily or weekly basis. Constantly treating yourself or convincing yourself that you deserve to spend the money isn’t going to help your budget any. This is sort of the flip side of retail therapy and it’s a bad idea for all the same reasons.
5. Being an early adopter
New things are fun, but they can also be very expensive. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of technology where there is always some newer, better thing coming out which makes your old thing look ancient. But, despite what marketing moguls will tell you, being an early adopter really isn’t that great. In fact, a lot of technology is buggy and unstable in the early versions. Save yourself (and your wallet) some headaches and wait a few months for the price to drop and the kinks to work themselves out.
6. Bailing others out
It can be hard to say no when a friend or family member asks for assistance, but it isn’t selfish to put your finances first. You shouldn’t endanger your own security for someone else. This is especially true when it comes to adult children who are in a financial pickle. Sometimes, tough love is the way to go so that they can start their own journey into being debt free.
7. Giving yourself a free pass
No one is perfect, and on the journey to being frugal and debt-free, sometimes you’ll fall off the wagon. If you find yourself making an impulse buy, don’t rationalize spending more money by thinking you’ve already made a mistake. Adding even more bad decisions on top of the initial one isn’t going to help anything. Instead, take responsibility for the decision and move forward.