It is always fascinating to have a closer look at our spending habits.
We often keep track of how we spend our money (having a budget or tracker to see where all the money goes) but how often do we take a closer look at WHY we spend money?
Spending money can often be used to fill some kind of void in your lives. This could be a void we’re not even aware of.
Here are some examples.
YOU SPEND MONEY TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF
This is the stuff sitcoms are made off. A compulsive shopper (who is usually entrenched in debt and borrowing money from everyone they know) desperately searching to find a credit card that they haven’t maxed out so that they can go shopping to buy something to make themselves feel better.
It might produce a laugh in movies but the reality is it’s not fun.
Constant calls from debt collectors, sleepless nights tossing and turning wondering how you are going to get out of debt, going bankrupt or losing your house is not a pleasant situation to be in.
If you have the money and want to spend it on nice things fair enough but if you are spending money you don’t have or someone else’s money (i.e. debt you will have to pay back) stop for a moment and weigh up whether going into more financial debt is really going to make you feel good about yourself.
The problem with buying things to feel good about ourselves is that it’s like a sugar hit – it doesn’t last and before long we are feeling crap again and need to buy something else. Basically, it’s a vicious cycle of low self-esteem and high credit card interest.
Whilst I think you should get a good feeling after making a purchase of something you definitely need or want, it should not be the reason you feel good about yourself.
YOU SPEND MONEY TO GIVE YOU A FEELING OF SUPERIORITY
You always have to have the best of everything because well…it makes you look damn good.
More to the point we sometimes think it makes us look better than other people if we buy the most expensive car, diamond ring or large screen television.
Honestly most of the time it simply makes us look petty and competitive if it’s glaringly obvious we are trying to compete with someone or make them feel bad with our new purchase.
If you are buying things to compete with other people, try to get to the root of your behavior.
Perhaps you grew up without any money and are now overcompensating? Perhaps secretly you feel inferior to other people and think spending money will reverse that feeling so that you feel better than them?
Another part of your life might be deteriorating (such as your relationship or career) so you spend money to show that everything is going well, when in fact that is hardly the case.
People often spend money to maintain a particular image.
We want to look successful and prosperous so that people will want to work with us. While this may influence some people, others will ultimately be more interested in seeing people walk the talk.
People don’t like feeling deceived, which is exactly how they might feel when they find out your financial success was, in fact, a big cover-up.
YOU SPEND MONEY TO FILL AN EMOTIONAL VOID
If you are spending money to fill an emotional void, I can tell you right now, no amount of money will ever be enough.
Emotional voids cannot be filled by credit cards, cash or gold bullion.
You might be glossing over the void with something shiny, new and expensive but believe me, it’s still there. It’s hiding in the dark, simmering away in the shadows.
Perhaps you have low self-esteem or you feel you don’t deserve to be happy, prosperous and loved? If you have low self-esteem – work on growing as a person and less on shopping.
YOU SPEND MONEY TO GET ATTENTION
Look at me! Look at me!
People enjoy compliments. Nothing wrong with that.
There is nothing wrong with buying a dress that looks wonderful on you – unless you are already drowning in debt and can’t honestly afford the dress.
You buy the dress because you NEED someone to tell you how great you look in it because inside you don’t feel great at all.
Secretly inside you feel like crap.
If you are buying something to provide you with outside validation of your worth – it’s not a good idea.
Sourcing your confidence and self-esteem needs to come from inside. It needs to come from the core of your being, not from a pair of expensive shoes.
YOU SPEND MONEY BECAUSE YOU’RE BORED
Sometimes it can be that simple. You’re bored so you buy a new toy to play with.
But is it really boredom or something else? Perhaps you are actually lonely? Perhaps you don’t have a goal to pursue? Perhaps your life is lacking direction or purpose? Perhaps you don’t have enough interests or people to share them with?
If you have money to buy nice things and you are not merely spending money to fill a void of some kind, that’s great – enjoy spending your money. However, if you are drowning in debt or struggling financially, it might be a wise idea to have a look at some of the reasons you are spending money.
Bad spending habits don’t go away by themselves. Say for instance you are trying to pay off your debt – that’s fantastic, keep up the good work! Imagine yourself completely out of debt and feeling great about your financial situation.
Unfortunately, your bad spending habits won’t go away because you are finally out of debt. More than likely you will continue on the same spending path as before which means that before you know it, you will be back in debt wondering what happened.
Look at the reasons you spend money and work on eradicating your bad spending habits for good.