I’ve always been of the belief that it is fine to spend your money in whatever and whichever way you want to, when it’s your money to spend.
I am the FIRST PERSON to tell you to splurge and enjoy it.
Want to go on vacation? Go ahead, book it.
Want to buy a new pair of shoes that you feel should replace the ratty ones you wear? Go ahead, buy them.
Enjoy your money. It is there to be spent and there to consumed because you just never know what will happen the next day.
But wait a minute…
Where it gets grey for me, is if you are spending that money but it is actually consumer debt that you’re racking up and not actual cash you’ve saved…. after taxes, no less!
For every dollar you earn, you might only be stacking 1/4th of that after expenses and taxes, depending on your lifestyle and tax rate.
If you are spending on a credit card or using student loans, or a loan of credit to pay for a vacation, new pair of shoes, a new laptop, or to buy a round of drinks for friends…
It is not your money.
It is the credit card company’s money.
It is the bank’s money.
It is money that you could (yes) technically get in the future from working, but you haven’t gotten it yet (key word to all of this)
Since lots of things can happen between today (the present) and the future, you’re just fooling yourself and living a life you can’t afford on your current budget.
So, what to do about it?
Well, if you don’t even know what you’re spending and if it is over or under (hello, denial!), I suggest you start budgeting and tracking your expenses to get a feel for what you are wasting, and where you can cut the fat.
This has been the #1 thing to help me eliminate $60,000 of debt (in 18 months no less) and to help me pull back on spending to see where I need to start conserving funds while still living comfortably.
If you know what you are spending but you know you need to dip into a credit card or line to credit to float you to the next month when your paycheque clears the credit card bill but then you end up racking up another bill to go with it….
Then it is even more imperative that you vow to stop using those cards as an expense stopgap solution, and start budgeting and tracking your expenses, ASAP!!!
The VERY NEXT THING YOU BUY should go into your budget.
Remember — if you are using debt to pay for your lifestyle, it is NOT YOUR MONEY.
At the very least, you’re stealing from your future self which is worse than what you can imagine.
Get a grip on your money.