Don’t Make These Mistakes
Guess what? It was 11:55 pm, December 31st and I said to myself, “In 2019, no more wasteful spending.” Not even two months later and already I’ve fallen back into the cycle. Don’t make these mistakes! Trust me, debt is no fun. It is better to not owe money than to owe and pretend to be happy while drowning in debt.
Today, I engaged in my usual routine, home, school, kids, repeat. However, I had the mindset that in order to achieve my financial goals, I had to spend way less than I needed, basically live a minimalist lifestyle (or at least I thought I had that mindset.) Then a close family member called.
The story began, “You’d never believe what happened!” I went to file my taxes and it said I would get back
(insert ridiculous sum of tax refund money here) $5000 dollars. “Let’s go shopping!”
Spending Before You Get The Money
Once you start planning for money you can’t even guarantee yet, that’s no bueno. Imagine I agreed to go shopping, spending way more than what’s in my budget and I don’t even have the money yet. You know once you step into the mall, you usually get way more than what you went for….consumerism. Plus, where’s that money even coming from, am I putting my shopping tab on credit? Most people are on a fixed income, which means you usually have to account for every dollar, especially if you were wise enough to make a budget. Therefore, most likely, you’re putting that shopping tab on credit, with the hopes of paying it back once your paycheck or tax refund comes in.
Translation: That already means you didn’t have the money in the first place. Credit cards should be used for emergencies, not leisure spending.
Unfortunately for me, and something I’m still working on is curbing my impulsive shopping habits. So I went with my family member and ended up getting an amazon echo. Besides enriching large corporations, I just deducted $50 that could have went into my savings account. Do you know why? I already had an alexa dot at home. However, when I went to the mall, they described all these new features that screamed, “You have to get it!!” Trying to keep up with trends….not good for your wallet.
Buying Things You Don’t need
- Things you already have
- The latest phone/ gadget
- That 80 inch tv for the playoffs
- Need I say more…
So I definitely didn’t need an alexa. Added to the fact that I just wasted gas and parking fare, now I’m a bit disappointed. Was it all worth it? I mean I deserve it right? Wrong! Once you get out of debt and you can afford it that’s when it will be deserved. This doesn’t just apply to alexa, this applies to things we buy everyday that ends up just laying around the house in a few weeks when the new gadget or shiny object arrives. When I moved over the summer, the amount of unnecessary objects I had was unbelievable. Some had never been opened, some had never seen the light of day, some just had no space in my new place and some just had to be thrown away just because there was no space for it all. Plus, it sat for so long, I didn’t want it anymore. I hear the deductions miles away…money that could have been saved.
Translation: Focus on needs over wants. (Food and shelter are definite needs,
clothing is debatable, clothing is optional. Clothing in a minimalist fashion is also a need. I dare you to wear the same shirt everyday for a week if you agree.)
So of course I also started thinking, “Well if I saved my $50 dollars and started a savings plan instead of spending so much, how much money would I have?
Not having a saving plan.
Not developing a continuous savings plan. We hear all the time that most Americans do not have enough saved up for an emergency. In my opinion, it’s because I know I’m too busy shopping, trying to enjoy life with 5-star restaurant visits or paying bills. However, if you start a savings plan and contribute at least $5 every two weeks, that’s ten dollars a month. Ten dollars a month multiplied by 12 months in a year (stick with me guys). That’s…1…2..3, $120 dollars. It may not sound like much but it adds up. Additionally, if you gradually increase the amount you save, your savings also double up or triple even.
Eventually, it’ll become a game, how much can I save in a year? Well if I cut out my monthly shopping habits and my weekly take out meals, I could save even more. It should go without saying but once you put the money in there, leave it there unless it’s an extreme emergency (or redefine your definition of an emergency. Am I taking out money for a life and death situation? Is the money I take out for food or shelter purposes?)
Translation: Simple! Save more
Okay well now I know, next time I’ll tell my family member with a big smile, ” You can go get broke by yourself.” Well maybe not in those words. Which brings me to an important point.
Counting on another person’s money .
Unless you two are that connected, don’t count on your friend, partner, family member to dazzle you with their money. Her money is not your money. I’m sure with the $5000 my family member was getting, she had her money mapped out. Therefore, she most likely knew how much she set aside for spending. Her impromptu suggestion for shopping may work for her. That definitely doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.
Translation: Worry about your money, not hers.
So I’m trying to keep this post short but looking back I realized, I failed miserably. However, hopefully this helps you to avoid the mistakes I did. There’s so much more to add, but I’ll save it for another blog. So without further adieu…
Not giving your finances time to change
Give yourself time to organize your finances. Set financial goals and be continuous in following through with your plan. Even though I fell off track with my financial goals for the New Year, that doesn’t stop me from getting back on track. The point is to build consistency with everything that you do.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Unless you wake up having won the lottery, (in which case I’d say Congrats!) things take time. However, don’t be discouraged. When there’s a storm, it doesn’t rain for the rest of your life. As time elapses, things will get better. Just make sure you are not repeating the same mistakes and entering that cycle of bad financial choices again.
In conclusion, spend less, save more. Review where you are spending too much and cut back. My mom usually says, “Don’t count your eggs before they hatch.” Meaning, don’t spend your money before you get it, what happens if one egg didn’t hatch? Or the egg hatched, but not the way you were hoping for. Additionally, if your friends or family want to splurge, educate them, but know what your goals are for your finances also. These are all life lessons I had to learn the hard way. Therefore, I’m sharing it with you hoping you don’t repeat my mistakes.
Translation: You deserve to be debt free
Until next time,