Pride Keeps You In Debt Forever, Why It Doesn’t Have To

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What’s the most predictable action people take when they come into cash? A spending spree. You land your first real job with a nice salary, benefits, the works. You get that raise you’ve been working for. You score a big commission. Over a celebration dinner your friends ask you, “What are you gonna get?”

Excited You Start to Spend, Digging a Deep Hole For Yourself.

You’re excited about your success and you want to reward yourself. You tell yourself you need something so that you’ll “look the part” and “fit in” at work. Or, you could be caught up in some good old competition with your friends and coworkers (or both). It’s natural. We all have our pride.It’s natural to want to make good impressions. There is no argument that looking professional and dressing appropriately will help you in your career, but do you really need the latest designer clothing? Do you have to have that 2012 car or truck?

Beware of letting your emotions control you. Racking up debt to impress is a common but foolish move. You don’t have to give up on making a good impression. You need to be smart. You can make good impressions without sacrificing your financial security.

Clothing

Set your budget and stick to it. Make a list of what you need to get before you start shopping. You don’t have to sacrifice quality. Shop sales and clearances, shop at outlet malls, look for overstock, or shop online. You have enough options. The trick is going to be making careful choices and sticking to your list & budget.

Some things are really not worth sacrificing quality. You need at least 2 good suits. On the other hand, there is no reason to think that underwear from Target can’t do the job.

Vehicles

You don’t need a flashy car. You really don’t. I know you want it, and that’s okay. Be smart and work up to it. A decent used car that runs well will serve your needs just fine. There is nothing wrong with having a nice car, just don’t get it until you can truly afford it. Don’t forget it’s not just that monthly payment, you’re looking at insurance, repairs, maintenance & upkeep too! Another thing to consider: what kind of gas does your dream car take? Regular or Premium? That Porsche you want may not be able to take the cheap stuff. Buying a nice car before you can afford it could end up crippling you financially. Move carefully.

Food/Dining

Again, set a budget and stick to it. Set amounts for groceries and eating out. This is one of the easiest ways to overspend.

Helpful Tips:

  • Don’t buy food on credit. If you don’t have the cash to join your friends, politely turn them down or invite them to your place to eat in (assuming you’re a good cook).
  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.
  • Plan a selection of meals for the week. This is more flexible than a menu plan and you will have a variety of meal options on hand that you can choose from on a daily basis.
  • Make a shopping list and stick to it! It takes practice, but walking away from those impulse buys gets easier with time. If it’s something you really want, make a note to fit it into your shopping list for next week.

Impulse spending can easily get out of control, and if we’re not keeping careful track of what we’re spending we can easily lose track of how much is going into our food bill every month. It’s okay to splurge on yourself once in awhile, as long as you realize and plan for the impact it will have on your budget.

Housing

Again, don’t buy before you can afford it. What good is it to own a fancy condo or house and be unable to purchase furniture, keep up with property taxes, or do repairs? Having an address in a trendy neighborhood might make you feel good, but the stress of knowing you are drowning in debt far outweighs the boost in pride you get from that fancy address.

Renting an apartment is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Downtown or suburbs? What best meets your needs? What can you reasonably afford? Consider the pros and cons and choose something that works for you.

Furniture

Stay away from 0% financing furniture deals. While it may be tempting to get all your furniture on credit, just don’t do it. Work your way up. Shop craigslist, clearance outlets, IKEA, or CB2. Be patient and get creative. You can have a nice looking home without sacrificing your wallet!

Entertainment

Don’t expect that you won’t need an entertainment budget. Set aside part of your budget to enjoy yourself. Cable expenses should be in this category (or skip cable and get a Netflix subscription). If you want to go to a few games or concerts, set aside money for those. Let yourself have fun. Be smart and keep tabs on your fun money. Look for things to do in your area that are free or low cost. And most importantly, learn to say No when you really can’t afford something.

Vacations

Your coworker is going to Cancun and wants to know where you’re going. Realize this isn’t a competition. This is not about spending what your peers are spending. It’s your vacation and your financial future. You can have an equally or better time doing a weekend getaway in your area. Remember, the purpose of a vacation is to get away, relax, have some fun. You can do that anywhere just as well as you can in Cancun. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with an expensive vacation if you have the money set aside for that purpose. Save up for it and do it. Then you will be able to enjoy yourself even more because you know you did it debt free.

Jack Vincent teaches you how to avoid the 17 pitfalls that lead to financial slavery and how to use the 23 principles that lead to wealth and prosperity. His book, The Way to Wealth Special Edition, is an updated, easy-to-read, modern day version of Benjamin Franklin’s, The Way to Wealth, originally written in 1758. His book has the practical wisdom you need to build wealth and gain financial freedom!


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