The way you spend money is a habit that you’ve cultivated for years. This is best seen from teaching your own children how and why to spend money.
I remember I started teaching my daughter how to spend money when my daughter started her kindergarten. At the age of 5, she quickly knew that there was a canteen in the school and if she had money, she could buy things. We started by giving her $2 per week on Mondays and then we observed how she spent her pocket money. As expected, she didn’t think too much and often spent all by Tuesday.
I remember there was one hot Friday. When picking her up at the school bus stop, she was not happy.
So, I asked her: “what’s wrong?“
She replied: “It was hot and I wanted to buy a ice block at the canteen.“
I then said: “Didn’t you buy one?“
She said: “I’ve spent all my pocket money already, so no money to buy.” (oh, poor thing… >_<)
So, I asked her: “If you could repeat the week again and re-spend your $2, then what would you do?“
Hmm…, while strolling down the street home, it took her a little while to come up with a plan: “I would keep a little money in my pocket every week, so when I need an ice block next time, I have money to buy it.“
We buy things for different reasons. It’s either we want it or we need it. If we need it, then we have to spend money. For example, a student will need a computer to study and do homework. However, a student perhaps doesn’t need a computer to play video games, although the student would very much want one.
Personal finance has a lot to do with spending habit and self control. The less you spend, the more you save. The more you save, then the more you can earn by investing that money and grow your personal wealth. In order to spend less money, you will need to change your spending habits.
A few golden rules for you to follow:
- DO NOT spend your future money: those easy money like AfterPay and Zip make you “think” that you are entitled to buy anything now and pay later because you can. The fact is that you spend your future money and you will be busy paying your borrowed money month after month without breathing space in the near future. That’s how those businesses proper; unethical to an extent, I reckon.
- Ask yourself, “Do I need it or I just want it?”: Do you NEED to buy this item? Can you use an alternative or keep using the current one? Many people buy a new car using car loans. When you spread the cost of buying a $30,000 car over 5 years, then it’s actually only $500 per month (plus interests). Not much, right? Then, do you NEED a new car or do you WANT a new car? If you save that $500 per month without buying a new car, then in 5 year, you will have $30,000 in your bank account, while you still drive your 15 year-old car. That $30,000 can become your 10% deposit for buying your fist home in 5 years. Which one do you prefer? You certainly NEED a home, but may not need a new car, perhaps?
- Cut your credit card and pay off your credit card debt ASAP: if you don’t pay off the balance of your credit card bill every time, then DO NOT use a credit card! That’s the best advise you can get from a personal finance expert. The interest rates of most credit cards are high and the reason why credit card is a good business is simply because people can’t always pay off the balance. Then banks enjoy charging you high interests and that’s how those organisations make money out of credit cards. Sounds evil, doesn’t it?
- Use cash or a debit card, instead of a credit card: Yes, when you see yourself keep going to ATMs to get cash and you also see the number in your bank account dropping, then you will be cautious. You will start wondering how much cash you need for living expenses and ponder whether you should buy something or save it for next week. That’s the start of budgeting in personal finance.
Change your spending habits by these four simple rules. In no time, you will have more money and are happier, too. Money ($) turns out to be the biggest worry (and also driver) of most people. While enjoy spending your hard-earned money, be mindful and give yourself a favour: don’t spend future money and aim for achieving financial freedom as soon as possible in your life.
Life is a lot nicer with enough money and without debts! ^_<
Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com
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