Breaking the Spending Addiction

Published on 6th May 2008

Thousands of Americans continue to endure huge debt burdens that they cannot finance. The worst part is, they don’t even know how it is that bad. They  turn to specialists to help them sort out their financial mess and still have to pay them for their services.

While this seems to be happening in the land of so – called opportunities, this scenario is actually not far from home. Daily, we are being enticed to spend. More often than not, we are enticed to buy or engage in activities we could actually do without. Remember that any business that is set up is targeting your money. This is not meant to defame businesses but rather stimulate discerning expenditure amongst consumers. In light of the inevitability of spending, one essential tool that can guide our spending and lead to better sustainable spending habits is budgeting.

Learning how to budget your earnings whatever the size and form they come in, will go a long way to improve your spending, keep you on track by helping you spend primarily on what you need and help you better plan for other auxiliary items without your finances spiraling out of control.

Financial institutions are coming up with products that scream: SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! ATM machines are strategically placed at malls. Stores are fitted with point of sale machines. All kinds of loan products are made available to the public and let’s not forget the endless promotions also run by other companies in the non – financial sector in a bid to get you spending more and more.

While it is a company’s mandate to tailor products aimed at achieving customer satisfaction, it is not for them to manage our finances. You should never be deceived that a company is so concerned about your financial state. You therefore can’t afford to leave your financial wellbeing to chance but must deliberately command your financial future.

It helps to evaluate your spending, making out those items you regularly purchase. As they are customary, you can plan for those with a lot more precision. More importantly, seek to establish a financial pillar of saving and investment. Finally, factor in an emergency fund for those surprises. Make an effort to stick to your budget. It’s a painful journey that involves denying yourself all those cravings and luscious treats that we often like but in effect, what you are doing is building an invaluable capital base that you can use to finance various investments projects that will in turn bolster your income base to gradually make provision for those luxuries.

The premise here really is, save and invest NOW and then spend LATER. Being equipped with such an attitude will keep you away from a spending spree that is getting many into borrowing and debt culture which in the long run may lead to repossession of valuable assets, some of which are debt financed.

Keep you banker close and your investment manager/advisor even closer. Debt has its place and in many ways helps us exploit different opportunities in business, education, home ownership and other arenas but it is possible to live apart from burdensome debt that can be crippling.


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