Personally, I’m not into New Year’s Resolutions.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t believe in self-improvement. Quite the contrary. I just think that anyone should have the incentive for it the whole year round, and not just at the beginning of another one. Whether you want to lose weight or learn a new skill, I find that the desire alone is reason enough to start, regardless of what month is reflected on the calendar.
One of the most popular resolutions is to be more financially stable, hence we have plenty of money-saving challenges designed to give its participants x amount of cash by the end of the year. I’ve tried the 52-week money challenge, and it really does make a difference in how much you save throughout the year, provided that you stick to it.
Want to give these challenges a go? If you want to increase your chances at succeeding, steer clear of these three scenarios that trick you into spending more money than you should:
1. Buying something on sale.
There’s something about this four-letter word that can make even the most conscientious person lose their sh*t.
Though to be fair, you really can save money buying things on sale IF you needed those things in the first place. For example, if your old trainers finally give out and can no longer be patched up with cellophane tape, buying a new pair at a Nike or Adidas factory sale is a money-savvy move.
It’s a different story if you end up buying something on a whim simply because you were thrilled by how much you were “saving.” Let’s put it this way: If you buy yet another pair of AU$100 jeans for AU$70 even when your existing pairs are still perfectly usable, you didn’t save AU$30. You spent AU$70.
2. Deferred payments.
“Do your Christmas shopping at *insert name of prominent and humongous Philippine mall* and enjoy 0% interest for 3 months!”
That phrase was all over the city during the lead-up to the holidays. I can understand taking out a loan for a car, a house, or for a business because these things can be turned into assets, but Christmas presents??? Why would you want to go into debt trying to impress people who ought to consider your presence on this Earth as a gift in itself?
Because that’s precisely what deferred payments are: debts in disguise. They might make you feel like you’re getting something for free, but they’re actually just delaying an inevitable payment down the line.
3. Patronizing cheaper alternatives of quality products.
Have you ever heard of the phrase “penny-wise, pound-foolish?” And no, it has nothing to do with that creepy clown from “It.”
Imagine this: you’re looking around in an urban bazaar and you see a vendor selling those wicked-expensive and ultra-trendy Kylie lip kits, but they’re only Php200 each! So, you buy one, thinking that you’ll save money by getting a cheap knock-off of the stuff.
Fast forward to three days later, and you’ve noticed that there are some itchy, red rashes and pustules forming around your mouth. You go to a dermatologist and it turns out that the fake lip kit had all sorts of nasty ingredients in it. So, you might have only paid Php200 for the cosmetic product, but now you’ll have to spend more on treatments and medication to get rid of its disastrous side effects.
Quality products are priced a certain way for a reason. You’re not just paying for the brand or the bragging rights, but also for the guarantee that 1.) the product will give you the results it promises, and 2.) its usage is perfectly safe.
Can’t afford it? Then don’t buy it until you’ve saved up enough. It’s that simple.
When it comes down to it, cultivating healthy financial habits are all about doing the boring things people don’t like doing: paying yourself first, living within or even below your means, and constantly looking for ways to increase your income streams.
Oh, and staying away from those payday sales, apparently.