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Keeping up with the Joneses: Avoiding Bad Habits

Favourable economic conditions certainly lead to consumer confidence and substantially effect how much discretionary income is available. However, isn’t it also about our emotions? How often do you hear statements like, Be the envy of your friends… Don’t miss out…Today only…? We live in a world where we’re expected to keep up with the Joneses. Every time we turn on the television or Google something, we’re bombarded by sales and offers. Then there are social media marketers; given the lucrative advertising deals these Influencers achieve for themselves, plenty of us are making purchasing decisions around the accounts we follow. It probably seems that the modern world is pestering us with advertising; how easy to lose control and find ourselves in debt! Unlike Yacht-guy from the quote, our finances are generally limited, but there are ways to ensure we stay in control of our finances.

Budget

I have said it before and I will say it again Make a budget and stick to it!!. Sure, it’s not fun but it’s a time-proven technique for keeping spending under control. Be realistic though, and allow yourself some spending money, just make sure you don’t splurge beyond your affordable amount. If you don’t understand where your money is going, then how can you ever get your spending under control. Debit, not credit, use a debit card instead of a credit card. Debit cards can be linked to a bank account or loaded with cash, either way you’re using your own money not the bank’s, meaning you can’t spend what you don’t have – there’s also no interest! Additionally, it’s wise to avoid those Buy-Now-Pay-Later schemes. They’re so easy to arrange you can rack up quite a debt without realising it!

Avoid social media temptations

Ever noticed how after Googling, say, camping equipment, suddenly you’re seeing advertising for tents and camp-stoves? Algorithms embedded in the internet record our searches to help advertisers target us through social media. We get it – it’s tough to avoid social media, but if you’re susceptible to targeted online advertising, you may need to limit your exposure to it – at least for a while.

Pause

Avoid the temptation to impulse-buy. Advertising is designed to appeal to our need to fit in, to keep up with our friends, to show off. Things you want to buy, but don’t necessarily need, may simply be status symbols. Before you whip out the plastic, ask yourself if this purchase is worth months on a repayment plan or is necessary at all. If buying online, wait 24-48hrs before purchasing to really ask yourself if you need the purchase.

Of course, your adviser is best placed to provide both assistance and accountability when it comes to establishing and plan and keeping on-track, why not reach out and review your options?