Problem Behaviors That Suck Your Money Dry

by Stacey Doyle on 2011-06-043

Who’s sick and tired of their debt? Way too many people. In previous articles, I’ve talked about the importance of looking within ourselves to fix a problem. Too many of us who’ve just had enough of our debt may only have to look at the mirror to see why we’re in this position. If you want to release yourself from debt, it’s time to do a little reflection!

So if you’re not sure how you got in this position, the first thing to do is to step back and think about your past actions. You may not realize it, but you could have certain habits that are costing you. You may have mistakes that are nibbling away at your savings ever so subtly. These days, we are missing out on financial accountability. Swiping the credit cards seems so easy and carefree. Just flash the plastic and walk away with an overstuffed shopping bag. But what happens when your mailbox is overflowing with outstanding bills? Do you even remember what you buy? It’s time to personally analyze your debt problems so you can start digging your way out. So as I suggested, let’s sit back and reflect. Here are some specific habits and behaviors that can lead you down the road to debt hell.

4 Problem Behaviors That Can Suck Your Finances Dry

#1 You spend to impress.

So who are we kidding here? To be honest, I belong to a culture where people sure love to overspend to show off the trappings of their success. But it can all be an illusion, as some of the most flashy individuals who are quite vocal about their wealth are also the mo broke. So how does this behavior present itself?

You bring the biggest, fanciest wrapped box to birthday parties. When you send flowers, only the largest bouquet with a crystal vase will do. When an anniversary comes up, you visit your local jewelry store for glittering treasures, with no second thought. Do you overdo it during events and occasions?

Some suggestions to curb this habit: comb clearance racks, cash in any spare gift cards you have or get creative (if you can) and make something magnificent. The key is to keep your limits in mind and remind yourself that bigger is not always better. No really, it isn’t, especially when not everyone is impressed. Choose something you can afford that can still be appreciated by your gift recipient. Know if you’re spending way too much money.

#2 You have a sense of entitlement.

You work hard and so you feel like you deserve to play hard too. Or maybe you’ve just come off a rough work week, or a rough relationship. So you think: you need to pamper yourself, and a vacation at a fancy resort or spa sure sounds good. Designer clothing and shoes are a perfect fit for your lifestyle. Your home always features the latest décor. After all, you are entitled, aren’t you?

Not if you can’t afford to pay cash. Luxury items are exactly that –- not something you need to survive. Unfortunately, too many people find that a thrift store is beneath them. But I love thrift stores — you never know what gems are hiding that are of great value. It’s almost like winning a lottery (or yeah, finding hidden treasure)! You’ve scored if you pay for stuff only once.

#3 You can’t say NO.

You always seems to fall short on cash right before payday. Why? There’s peer pressure and the temptations are great. You don’t want to miss dinner out with your friends or a shopping trip to the mall during the big sale. You just don’t want to be left out! It won’t hurt to whip out your credit card to pay for things –- or will it?

If you can’t afford dinner out at the end of the week, then you won’t be able to afford it for the rest of the month. Learn how to say NO more often.

#4 You have expensive tastes.

How many of us think this way: how can I possibly live in a small house? I wouldn’t be caught dead in last year’s fashions. Well, the finer things in life are alluring but accessible only to those who can afford them. Maxing out your credit in order to live large means that you are just one step away from disaster.

What if you lose your job? What if you fall ill or become injured unexpectedly? We learned that the bottom can fall out of your plans very quickly. In less time than you can imagine, you can go from living on top of the world to wondering where you will live when the smoke of unpaid debts clears.

To avoid this problem, pay yourself first. Do this by setting aside and transferring at least 10% of your income each month into a bank account like those that are on this list.

Should You Get Help?

Once you realize you’re underwater and can’t float, it’s time to enlist the support of friends or family who are sympathetic to your situation. When it comes to money matters though, a lot of the people close to us may want to make themselves scarce, worried that you may request something more from them than they can give. If this is the case, then look for help elsewhere — seek assistance from a professional. But beware of debt counselors soliciting their services. Some are scammers looking for your personal information to exploit. Others may charge astronomical fees for something you can do yourself. Consult with a certified financial planner, accountant or attorney to find out your options.

Debt consolidation, counseling, debt settlement, refinancing and bankruptcy are potential solutions to your debt problem. Once you dig yourself out, don’t forget your experience. Learn from your mistakes so you don’t make them again.

Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

rian@Bowen Agency June 4, 2011 at 2:08 am

I have nothing against having a huge debt on my cards and supporting all the credit card companies as long as I can pay for it. I agree with all the things you have enumerated. If one can avoid all those behaviors, he/she is sure to have a good credit standing and would never have to worry about long term debt.

Cassie June 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Most people would agree our lives are happier, healthier and more productive when we act intentionally – rather than being possessed by consumer fever. This means we do our best every day to align our behaviors with our goals. We dream about and most importantly plan our futures.

Janett Brown June 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I think that the problem is not within us. It has to do with capitalism. It’s because of capitalism that we buy to impress others. It’s also because of capitalism that we cannot say no to things that we don’t even need. But we buy them. So, we are slaves of consumerism.

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