Many people operate under the misconception that the more you buy, the more successful you are. To be honest, it’s really not all that hard to fall into that trap because we are all subjected to an incredible amount of advertising each day that equate money and products with success. Of course you’ll never see ads that promote saving, or ways to fend off the thought that you’ve got to keep up with the Joneses and buy every new and improved product on the market.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you’ve got to take a step back and rethink what is really important in life. Is it having that new boat that your buddy down the street got – even if it means you and your family will be faced with struggling to get by for the next 3 years while you try to pay it off? If so, it may be a good idea to get some new friends that aren’t so keyed in on trying to stay one step ahead of everyone else by buying more and more “stuff”.
Another circumstance you may find yourself in is that of spending your money based on emotional reasons. Are you the type that goes out and spends just for the sake of spending when you want to celebrate something? How about when you are down in the dumps? If you are quick to jump in the car and head to the mall, or start surfing the ‘net in these situations, you’re an emotional spender. Same goes for going out to eat at an expensive restaurant or taking a weekend getaway to celebrate when you can’t afford to do so. Emotional spending is like an addiction and needs to be treated as such because it’s a cause for real concern. Sure, it’s natural to want to reward yourself if you’ve had a success of some sort, but when it gets to the point where you’re doing this all the time, it’s time to take action to end this type of spending.
As with any addiction, professional help may be in your best interest. You can do this by visiting a mental health professional in your area, or you may want to locate a Debtors Anonymous chapter in your area. That group has some great methods they use – similar to Alcoholics Anonymous – to help you figure out why they are driven to spend and how you can regain control over your spending habits. Some will scoff at the notion that they need professional help when it comes to their spending habits. If that’s you, consider this – most folks with an addiction feel the same way. Things usually turn out badly for those who fail to realize and accept the fact they need help. Don’t think this situation can’t lead to significant health problems like other addictions because it can, with depression being a very real possibility down the road if you don’t deal with your addiction straight away.
Perhaps you have an issue with “Living for today” and simply don’t think about or care about how your actions will impact “tomorrow”. Living in the moment can be great, but not when it comes at the expense of your future. Four quick ways to determine that you have this type of attitude when it comes to money:
1. You use your credit card too much
2. You don’t attempt to pay off your credit card balances all at once
You reason that there is plenty of time to do this later and that you’ve still got plenty of money on your credit line.
3. You save very little, if anything
4. You never feel the need to monitor your financial situation
You never – or very seldom – balance your checkbook, monitor your credit report, know your credit score or bother making a budget.
All of these attitudes about money can end up sending you into a serious downward spiral – both financially as well as emotionally. These attitudes will – and may have already – catch up with you eventually.