Spending money on dumb things is a terrible idea.
You work your butt off at work to create an income. You tell yourself that someday, you want to settle down in a nice home and go on long walks by the ocean. Or maybe you just want to provide a comfortable life for yourself and your family. All of that serves as motivation for showing up at your 9–5 and doing something that’s often pretty tedious.
Yet, you still money on unnecessary things. You purchase items that you can barely afford and then wonder why you’re still living paycheck to paycheck. In essence, you prioritize today’s pleasure over tomorrow’s fulfillment. And as a result, you’re never able to obtain your dream of living a better life.
For a lot of reasons, I think that personal finance should be taught in schools. Sure, 12-year-old kids don’t need to learn about Roth IRAs or 401(k)s. However, learning common financial mistakes at a young age could reduce the probability of people making errors in the future.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that your spending habits can make or break you. What you do today could set your future self up for incredible success, wealth, and prosperity. Alternatively, your financial choices could result in stress, anxiety, and heartbreak.
Honestly, the choice is yours. But if you want to avoid making terrible financial decisions, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Reducing Your Monthly Expenses Can Improve Your Mental Health.
Seriously, take a moment to think about it. If you knew that you could easily afford your lifestyle, would it be easier to sleep at night, knowing that you don’t have to worry about money? Chances are, the answer is yes.
This is something I learned a couple of years ago. I grew up on the poverty line in the United Kingdom. So once I started making a decent amount of money, I immediately purchased things that (in hindsight) weren’t necessary.
That was a big mistake. As a result of my terrible spending habits, I often found it difficult to afford my rent and groceries. Not knowing how I was going to afford my lifestyle made it pretty difficult to sleep at night.
That period of my life was like a kick in the butt. I didn’t want it to continue. I hated every moment. So, I decided to learn about money for several hours a day and began implementing strategies to improve my financial situation.
One of which was reducing my expenses. Because once I stopped spending money on things that weren’t necessary, it was much easier to afford the things that were. Heck, I even had some extra cash left over.
Why am I telling you all of this? If you’re struggling with paying rent or affording basic necessities, it’s a good idea to keep your expenses as low as possible.
Look at your bank statement. Identify everything that isn’t vital so you can afford the things that are. Try to do something every day to make it easier for your future self to sleep at night.
Sure, you won’t see massive amounts of progress overnight. I’d be lying to you if I said that would happen. But when you continually put one foot in front of the other, you’ll eventually reach your desired destination.
You Don’t Need To Spend $997 At The Mall Each Weekend To Have An Awesome Life
There’s a culture of broke people buying expensive items to make it seem like they’re rich. They’ll spend 97% of their net worth to buy designer clothing at the mall, as they want other people to think they’re living an extravagant lifestyle. As Dave Ramsey once said:
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
You just need to spend a few minutes on Instagram to know what I’m talking about it. Some people are spending 97% of their net worth to buy designer clothing. Heck, there’s a photo studio that will make it seem like you’re flying on a private jet.
These spending habits are genuinely ridiculous. Honestly, I’m not surprised there’s over $756 billion in outstanding credit card debt in the United States.
You don’t need to spend a thousand dollars every week on unnecessary items to enjoy yourself. Find other activities to do that are inexpensive (or free). For example, you could go to the beach, walk in the park, go for a coffee with friends, or do something else that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Your spending habits can make or break you. Don’t sabotage your financial future just because you want to “have a good time” today.
Living Within Your Means Is A Blessing
I used to pretty skeptical of this financial strategy. I thought it was a cliche and something that “boring people” said to justify their lack of an extravagant lifestyle. But once I read the following quote from Mark Cuban, my entire perspective changed:
“It doesn’t matter how you live. It doesn’t matter what car you drive. It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. The cheaper you can live, the greater your options.”
He’s right. When you stop spending money on dumb things, you can begin to make smarter choices and decisions that will benefit your financial future. It’ll become easier to sleep at night, as you won’t be worrying about bills all the time. Plus, you’ll have a lot more disposable income to spend on the things that you find meaningful. Quoting an articlepublished by Forbes:
“There is a difference between pleasure (immediate gratification with a dopamine high) and happiness (contentment and bliss). Understanding the difference between pleasure and happiness and spending your money where your happiness lies could be the key.”
When you think about it, that’s what truly matters: living a meaningful life. So try to reduce your expenses as much as you possibly can. Because living within your means is a genuine blessing.
Once you do it, your future self will be grateful.
Photo via Unsplash