Save. Spend. Splurge.

YOLO, FOMO and all the reasons why you and I overspend

You may have heard these acronyms floating around recently: YOLO and FOMO.

YOLO = You Only Live Once

FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out

YOLO is used by people who want to do what they believe are fairly irresponsible things.

In terms of money management, people use this when they want to:

  • Go on a big splashy vacation they can’t afford
  • Buy a house they can’t afford because they “NEED” it
  • Go on some shopping spree for electronics, clothes or just plain ol’ binge drinking

FOMO is used by people who want to go to everything and do everything because they’re scared they’ll miss out on something.

Β Please don’t mix this up with FML, which is means something completely different. πŸ˜›

FML basically means “my life sucks and I wish I didn’t do that stupid thing”.

Perhaps this particular acronym comes immediately after you YOLO a little too much.

I’d probably categorize these people extroverts because just hearing “go to everything”, makes me freeze and want to crawl back into bed with a Curb your Enthusiasm video playlist.

In terms of money management, people use this when they want to:

  • Go out to 3 clubs in a night, knowing they’ll spend about an hour and $100 in each club
  • Accept every single invitation to any outing they hear of
  • Never say ‘No’ to any kind of vacation (weekend, one week, a month) that someone else is doing



Of course, these acronyms themselves scream of a lack of moderation (YOLO! FOMO! YOLO!), but even I am inclined to feel similar emotions once in a while.

The whole point of life is to live in the Now, for Today, but not to take it to the extremes where it is a detriment to your future, as in your nest egg and savings for avoiding the ever-fearful situation of having to fight your cat for her tin of food when you’re 65.


Think: Quality over Quantity.

It is all right to think about going on vacation because really, when will you get the chance to go around France with your best friend again!? ….but it’s as long as you’ve saved enough for the vacation so you aren’t going into debt,Β and you have also saved enough so that you aren’t hamstringing your future.

Choose carefully, or else it’ll all seem like a normal thing to spend yet another $500 on going out to the bars, and then you’ll need to increase that by another $100 to make it even more amazing.


My weakness has always been in clothes and spending on my wardrobe.

I always have a whisper of FOMO on a great item before I make a decision whether or not to even step foot into a tempting store, and then when I (inevitably) find something I REALLY WANT, that’s when my emotions start screaming YOLO!, and before you know it, I have what I want in my greedy little paws.


The ways I’m currently combating the urge to spend on clothes is:

  • Reminding myself just how much I have in general
  • Waiting at least a week to see if I forget about it
  • Reminding myself that I live in a uniform sort of style, and I don’t need another white shirt
  • Avoiding going to stores completely so I don’t even see something to be tempted by
  • Reminding myself just how great the sales were on Boxing Day 2012
  • Telling myself to shop my closet and make outfits out of what I already have
  • Keeping track of my stellar clothes-shopping avoidance progress using: Don’t Break The Chain!

If none of this austerity interests you in the slightest, you can walk on over to one of my favourite YOLO and FOMO bloggers. πŸ˜‰


  • Gillian

    I used to have a bad shopping habit. Becoming very aware of my finances, plus another little trick has helped me to reign in the spending big time. I usually go to a store, try something on and if I am on the fence about whether I should buy it, I go walk around the mall and look and think about it. Then, if I truly want it and come back to the store and my size is still there, I get it. If my size is gone, I tell myself it wasn’t meant to be. But most of the time I don’t even go back to get it.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      That’s a good way to figure out if you want it. I’ve done that unconsciously a few times and it’s worked (I ended up losing lust for the piece). Other times, I circle back and get the piece, then it sits in my closet for 10 days before I return it after trying it on day after day after day…

  • Bridget

    I suffer from both, in excess πŸ˜‰

    Thankfully I’ve got the spending part under control now.

  • AdinaJ

    My weakness is clothes as well (and accessories), as you know πŸ˜‰ FOMO is only part of it, because I hate missing out on a good bargain, but the bigger thing is that I just like pretty things. I like having them around – kind of like people collecting art, or whatever. Obviously, clothes are more than functional for me. Other people just don’t understand, lol! But apart from clothes (and books), I don’t really experience any temptation to overspend. No YOLO for me – I’m too old for that πŸ˜‰

  • Tania

    Oh girl, I could write an entire book on why people buy. For me, YOLO and FOMO have nothing to do with my personal habits but yup I can totally see that in many people I know.

    Boredom, depression and lack of a creative outlet also can motivate someone to shop too much. The concept of YOLO or FOMO completely leaves out that shopping in excess is an unhealthy stress reliever (the same way some people booze it up, sleep around or eat too much goodies). We do it because it feels good at the time even though we may regret it later.I personally shop more when I’m not writing, practicing photography or am having problems in a relationship. Shopping can also be very social if you shop at small independant boutiques, it’s a very chatty familiar environment. Social media shopping sites/apps like Poshmark as well as numerous others also play on the social aspect of shopping.

    Great list of things to think about before buying anything. I feel like I need to have a checklist on my phone that I need to check everything off first! Perhaps I could make an app for that?

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Boredom was my big thing. “I’m just browsing”.. πŸ™‚ Then YOLO and FOMO come along…

      Shopping is very social for me as well, although I find that I buy the most when I shop on my own rather than with other girlfriends (I enable them).

  • cj

    Mochimac!!! I can understand YOLO/FOMO for teens and youngsters, but adults really have no excuse. These phenomenon are nothing more than a sure sign of immaturity. Have a brilliant one!

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    I spend because I am lazy. It is so much easier to dial a pizza or drive through for burgers than it is to cook something.

    I should say that I over-spend because I am lazy.

  • Dear Debt

    Great post! I always have a hard time of living in the moment, knowing I could die tomorrow, but also preparing to live till I’m 100! It’s hard. Luckily shopping is not my weakness (I hate it actually– I had to buy a rain jacket and pants today bc I bike to work and all the choices were driving me nuts.) My weakness is going out to eat and traveling, which I could easily justify with YOLO. Moderation is key!

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *