Spontaneity is part of life; without those last minute decisions there wouldn’t be such amazing stories to tell later. Impromptu choices, when made safely, can be adventurous and exciting. On the other hand, spending money should not be a spontaneous decision, but rather, a thoughtful process.
It’s never a great idea to “splurge” even though it is completely understandable when it happens. Buyers aren’t always to blame; we are surrounded by advertisements with the “latest and greatest” product, each beckoning to our irrational spending mentalities that say, “Wow, I really need that.”
Here’s the cold hard truth: you probably don’t.
While growing up, spending habits are introduced to us by many people – family members, friends, or characters on TV and in movies. As we grow up, we start to take all of these examples into account as we create our own purchasing routines. Habits are hard to break, no matter how small or large they are. Here are some tips to break those habits that are breaking your wallet:
- Set up a budget. If you aren’t so great at keeping track of your money, an envelope budget works fantastic! Set aside how much you need for each category (i.e. $100 for eating out with friends) into envelopes, and only use what you have in each envelope for the month. If you end up with left over money, awesome! You can reward yourself (in a logical manner), add it to your savings account, or carry it over into the next month so you have a little extra!
- Think through your purchases before you buy them. My last Tips for Teens article, Island NeOrWa, established that not all items are necessary (even if they are super cool). While looking at what you’re considering buying, think about how likely you are to use it. If it’s an item of clothing, will it fit in with everything else you own, or will it stand out so much you’ll barely wear it? If it’s a new gadget, does your old one need to be replaced, or could your money be going somewhere better and more necessary?
- Pay attention to sales. Putting off a purchase for a few weeks could be worth it when you can save money. Saving on an item you’ve wanted for a while makes the purchase even sweeter and can make you feel like you’ve just scored a great deal (even if it’s only a small percentage).
The great thing about advice is that it can be taken in its entirety or in small amounts; use all or less of these steps to help you alter your spending habits into a pattern that works with your wallet.
If you need help with creating a budget or any other financial advice to curb your habits, Shelley Murphy, our Vice President of Lending, offers FREE Financial Advice and would be happy to help you! You may contact Shelley at (925) 335-3824.
Student Social Media Intern
1st Nor Cal Credit Union