Money management. It’s… vital. Yes, it’s vital. You have to have some idea of where your money is going, how much you’re bringing in. It’s definitely important. Sorry – vital, it’s definitely vital.
Oh but it’s so boring.
We live in a world of endless possibilities, glorious beauty, new things to try and experiences to be shared with the people we love. Apart from a select few in society, money management just isn’t ever going to be anything but: “that thing I do because I have to”. It’s not exciting; it’s not stimulating. Few of us will ever sit down to peruse a money magazine with the same excitement we reserve for a new post on our favourite beauty blog. Money management might be important, but it’s just so dull.
That’s why so many of us fall into bad habits when it comes to juggling our finances. But hey, at least we’re not alone! Those little habits help to get us through the day, and you might be surprised how many habits you thought only you did, that are actually rather universal…
The Unchecked Bank Account
Good money sense dictates that, prior to making a purchase, you should check your bank and ensure you have enough money for the purchase. You should also do a quick calculation to make sure you’ve got no bills coming out that you need money for in the short term.
… Well, that’s the idea anyway.
Sometimes, it’s just too tempting to see if your card will work. If it does, great – you can figure out the consequences at a later date. Checking your bank account and going through your finances is a thought that makes you break out in a cold sweat, so you close your eyes, operate a kind of Schrodinger’s bank account. If your card still works, everything is fine. Completely fine.
The Saving Paradox
In a fit of money management and budgeting hysteria, you put in a few hours and check through all your bills. You make calls, you haggle with customer services representatives, and you manage to slash your monthly outgoings. You sit back with a sense of pride in your chest, delighted by the amount of money you have managed to save.
You’ve done so well, you decide, that you deserve a treat. You should buy something nice for yourself! After all, you’re going to have more money than ever thanks to all those savings you’ve made – so you might as well put it to good use. And sure, you could put the money you’re saving into a savings account, but that’s not much of an incentive to continue saving is it? You’re only here once, might as well enjoy it!
Perhaps there’s a grain of truth in the above. Perhaps. However, how many times have you actually spent more than you’ve saved, all in an effort to treat yourself for making those savings.
Don’t worry, we’ve all done it.
If It’s On Sale, It’s A Steal
Something happens to your brain when you see an item is on sale. It doesn’t matter if it’s still expensive or you wouldn’t normally buy it – that’s pretty much irrelevant. The only thing you’re noticing is that it’s on sale. Buying it is effectively saving money, so you’d be mad not to!
This one is seen most often around the time of the big sales seasons, especially the fairly recent creation of Black Friday. People were interviewed by newspapers after their shopping trips and admitted they didn’t really care what they were buying, so long as they felt they had got a good discount on it. Naturally, savvy retailers have caught onto this mentality and are now finding ways to encourage you to keep doing the same, year after year.
A sale is only a good deal if you genuinely wanted the item. Anything else isn’t a good deal. Of course, the more you try to tell yourself to remember that, the more you’re unlikely to. The moment you see that red “on sale” sign, all logic vanishes from your mind.
Don’t worry if you fall into the trap of some of these behaviours. It happens. So long as you do occasionally manage to resist a bargain and check in with your bank account, you’ll do alright. Bury your head in the sand for too long and you’re going to have an issue, yes, but for the most part – do whatever you need to do to get yourself through the day!