Some of us experience an adrenaline rush and are somewhat addicted to spending money and buying new things.  This could be a habit that we picked up from our parents or friends.  This could also be a habit that was developed as a teenager when we “could” spend money every week because we had no real bills!  Are you (or do you know someone) that kind of person that look for “reasons” to go shopping and spend money?  Here’s a few reasons some of us spend unnecessary money:

  • Someone we know is getting married (we need a new outfit, accessories and shoes)
  • We are invited to a theme party (i.e., all-white affair or a 70s party)
  • We are going on vacation (we need a new bathing suit, shorts and sandals)
  • We are bored! (Let’s go to the mall)
  • It’s payday (I desire something new)
  • Going grocery shopping (impulsing buying)
  • Hanging out with co-workers (drinks for everyone!!)
  • Going to the movies ($10 movie ticket + $5 bucket of popcorn + $4 soda – YIKES!!!!)

If we are not careful, we can spend an extra $150 in just one weekend and blow our entire budget for the month!  Here are some ways to control our spending and reverse some of our bad habits:

  1. Go through your closet from time to time and take inventory (I guarantee you will find a few outfits that you forgot you had?!?).
  2. Take shorts, sandals and bathing suits you already own on vacation. (If your luggage gets lost or stolen, it won’t sting as much as if it were brand new clothes you just purchased – I learned this from experience.  Think about this – All of those strangers you are vacationing with would not know (neither do they care) if your maxi dress is brand new or if you had it for 5 years.  Also, it is wise to leave your precious valuables at home).
  3. Create a budget and stick to it (Try not to spend more money than you have set aside as disposal income – establish a level of self-discipline).
  4. Know the difference between Needs vs. Wants (Before you make that purchase – Ask yourself,  “Do I really need this new suit just to go to my friend’s wedding whom I haven’t seen in 3 years, or should I wear that suit in my closet that I’ve had for 2 years and only wore once?”).
  5. Rent vs. Buying (Some of us love buying movies and video games just to build our collection – But how many times do we go back and play that game or watch that movie? Question to self could be, “Should I rent that movie for $5, or buy it for $19.99 and never watch it again?”).
  6. Withdrawal your spending money (Consider using cash for your disposal spending, as opposed to using your debit card.  You can easily lose track of your spending that way).

Spending unnecessary money is definitely a habit that a lot of us have – IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY!! 😀  However, with a little discipline, self-reasoning, and determination, we can be better spenders and even better savers!

Good Luck!

Valerie Y. Waller, PhD