Why discretionary spending with debt is a bad idea


Never use debt to fund discretionary spending.” ~Roy Sutton

When you’re young you really want to enjoy life, right? That’s perfectly reasonable, surely? You’re fit, you’re healthy, you’re full of energy and there will never be a better time than now to enjoy yourself. If you can’t enjoy yourself when you’re young, when can you enjoy yourself?

If you’re lucky enough to have lots of money then good luck to you. Live life like there’s no tomorrow. The problem is most people are not quite so lucky. Most people are constrained financially, at least to some degree.

Equally for most young people, earnings are quite low when they start out on the road to independence and there are bills that can’t be avoided.

Everyone needs somewhere to live. We all need food to eat. We all need heating and lighting as well. Then there are all those taxes and municipal charges that must be paid too. So for most people there’s probably not a lot left at the end of the month for discretionary spending.

The temptation then is to borrow money so you can have a good time. Going into debt to fund discretionary spending is a really bad idea. So don’t be tempted.

Spend money you don’t have on anything that is not absolutely essential and you will be on the road to the poor house.

Some things you cannot live without. For instance if you want somewhere to live then you’ll probably have the need to buy a house. Unless you’re a millionaire, buying a house will mean a mortgage which is a form of debt. However that is good debt in the sense that you’ll be buying a home which is also likely to be an appreciating asset. So on that chances are you won’t lose.

Interest rates on mortgages are low because the mortgage provider will secure the debt against the property. You fail to pay and they’ll take the property. In this case risk for them would be low, so that is reflected in the interest rates charged.

Debt for discretionary spending is quite different. That will be unsecured debt and so interest rates on that debt will be very high. If the debt is on a credit card then chances are you’ll be paying in excess of 30%. If the debt is in the form of a ‘payday loan’ then interests rates can be anything from 1,000% to as much as 4,000% or even more. Even a small loan can quickly become a massive debt due to the effect of compound interest.

If you’d like to take a holiday or buy a car or have a party or buy the latest electronic gizmo, then save up for it first. For items like these, you only buy once you have the money in the bank to cover the cost.

Debt when it is unsecured is always very expensive and once you get sucked into a large debt hole it can be a real struggle to get out again. Debt enslaves you; it is stressful; and it will keep you awake at night. The pleasure you might get from discretionary spending can quickly turn into a nightmare if it results in debt.

Getting into debt is easy; getting out again can be both difficult and painful. Don’t allow your better judgement to become clouded by your desire for a little pleasure. Everyone wants to have fun but don’t make the mistake of getting your kicks with money you don’t have.

However big the temptation; you will regret it later. Debt is a burden.

That of course is one opinion. What do you think? Your ideas and stories might help other people, so feel free to comment.

If you found this article useful then please share it on social media with your friends.

Other Articles:

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Dealing with debt and curbing your overspending

Do you struggle when dealing with debt? Perhaps you’re looking for ways to curb your overspending. Certainly the burden of debt can be stressful. Surely life would be easier if you could find a way to reduce your debt burden? The problem is where do you start?

If you’re serious about dealing with debt then a good start point is to take a close look at what you’re spending. There are things you must have like a roof over your head, heating and light, and food on the table. Then there are those things you buy that you really could live without. Even for things you must have you can often overspend on these items in you’re not careful.

It is a fact that overspending is one of the main reasons why people get themselves into debt. You’re in the shopping mall or on the internet and you see something that is so tempting and you can’t help yourself. Buying is so easy with your credit card and so you do without considering whether you really need it or whether you can truly afford it.

Well that’s a habit you must change if ever want to be in control of your money and your life. Yes, it is a hard habit to break if it’s been part of the way you live your life for so long. That’s understandable but it’s not impossible. It can be done and it’s an important step on the road to dealing with debt.

So here are a few simple steps to help you to stop spending, start saving and live a life geared toward achieving financial freedom.

1. Admit you have a problem

The first step to curb your overspending habit is to admit that you have a problem. You can’t eliminate a problem until you recognize you have one.

Once you admit to yourself that you have a problem then you need to understand where your money is going. Unless you make a point of identifying where your money is going then it will simply disappear without you knowing where it’s gone.

Keep a journal to record your spending on a daily basis to keep track of everything you spend. Write it down and at the end of each week review what you’ve spent and where your money has gone. You might find that this is a real eye–opener for you.

With this approach you will be able to see what you’re spending on stuff that may not be absolutely necessary. Then it will be easier to develop a clear and concise spending plan whereby you start living within our means. Having a plan can then be the basis by which you start developing the self-discipline to allow you to break your overspending habit.

2. Make financial goals

In developing your spending plan you must also set some realistic financial goals for you and, assuming you have one, your family.

One goal should be to ‘pay yourself first’. What does this mean? It means as soon as you get paid you set a small proportion of your income aside immediately. You could set aside say 10% of your income. That can be used to reduce your debt burden initially and later, when your situation has improved, for savings each month.

By setting money aside when you get paid, it’s a bit like taxes and other deductions against you pay. They all get taken off and you get used to living on what’s left. Putting something aside is an important part of any personal financial spending plan.

Keep your financial goals in mind each and every time you’re tempted to make an impulse purchase or overspend on something you can live without. This will encourage you to make better spending decisions.

And when you’ve reached one of your financial goals, don’t forget to give yourself a little reward. Don’t go overboard of course but achieving a goal will make the reward all the sweeter and it will encourage you in the development of good money habits.

3. Cut up your credit cards

Credit cards can be a convenient medium for making payments but they can also be weapons of mass wealth destruction. When you have a serious debt problem don’t take a credit card out shopping.

Yes, they are a big part of today’s culture and it is might seem hard to imagine life without one. However studies have shown that people spend a larger amount when using a credit card because it doesn’t register with them that they are spending real money. And that’s why they are dangerous.

Essentially using a credit card is simply postponing the inevitable. It is actually real money and eventually the bill for your purchases will have to be paid.

So take the impulse out of shopping and start planning for purchases ahead of time by saving up the cash. You will be surprised at how much you save by not using plastic.

4. Seek out support

When you’re trying to break a habit, it is important to surround yourself with good people who will encourage you and steer you in the right direction when you’re tempted.

That means when you’re going shopping make sure you take someone with you who’s not afraid to remind you that you don’t need whatever it is you’re thinking of buying. Someone you trust who will be your conscience, if you like. Someone who knows your aims and will help you achieve them.

If there is someone who will hold you accountable for your actions, who forces you to recognize your bad habits then this will make your financial goals much easier to accomplish.

5. Take up a hobby

Our shopping habits often stem from the fact that we are simply bored. This is particularly true with shopping online. You’re sitting at home bored so you pick up your iPad or similar tablet and start browsing. Sites like Amazon are very good at closing a sale once they’ve got you. It’s all so tempting. And we’re all guilty of impulse shopping on the internet, at least to some degree.

So next time you’re bored, find something else to do. You could take a walk, go to the gym for some exercise, watch a film, read a book, you could set up a blog and share your thoughts with the world or perhaps just volunteer to help a charity. There are plenty of other possibilities, so just do something other than shopping that appeals to you.

In short, take up a hobby or two and keep your money in the bank.

Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive list but these few tips should help you to curb your overspending and develop better habits with money. If you change your ways you can start winning with money.

Don’t try to ‘boil the ocean’ just take small steps on a daily basis and this will help you kick your impulsive shopping habits. You need to start thinking about where your money is going and where you’d like it to be.

Start today and you’ll be a smart shopper in no time. With a little self-discipline you can go from being a complete spendthrift to becoming a super-saver quicker than you ever thought possible. Become a super-saver and one day you will achieve financial freedom. Achieve that and your life will be a lot sweeter and a lot less stressful.

Other Articles:

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

How you develop a Millionaire Mindset: Self-Discipline and Money

Financial success and whether you can achieve it does depend on the way you think about money. How you think about money matters, including the way you look at the debt you incur. You need to develop a millionaire mindset if you want to enjoy financial freedom. Money is a precious resource and you should learn to use it wisely.

We are all brought up from an early age to view money in a certain way and the way we are conditioned by our upbringing tends to stay with us unless we choose to change our thinking. You may have been brought up with poor money habits but that doesn’t mean you can’t change them. You can but it takes some effort from you.

If you are to start winning at the game of money then it starts with getting rid of any false ideas you may have and which may be holding you back. Your mind is a powerful weapon and it can help or hinder you on the road to financial freedom.

So reflect honestly on the way you think about money. Figure out exactly what money means to you and how you want it to affect your future.

What are your financial goals? Can you visualize yourself as prosperous and wealthy? Alternatively do you focus more on the negative aspects of your life, perhaps thinking it will never change?

Negative thoughts beget negative thoughts:

Think negatively about money and you’re unlikely ever to have much of it. Essentially you think of yourself as lacking in value and therefore unworthy of having that pot of gold of your own.

Thinking negative thoughts about your future will result in a future for you that is unexciting at best. It doesn’t have to be but to achieve anything it all starts with positive thinking. No one ever got anywhere with negative thinking.

Money isn’t everything, of course. However it is up there with oxygen for a life worth living. It won’t solve every problem, of course, but it does make living a little more comfortable and agreeable. Money can cause more harm than good on occasions but it can also be a force for good too.

So what do you want for your financial future and what does money mean to you and your life? Figuring that out would be a good start.

You don’t have to be a financial whizz-kid:

Money might seem intimidating at times but it’s actually quite simple. It’s just the way we keep score. Money is the medium through which value is stored. It’s easier than a barter system. We do stuff for other people and we’re paid. We can then spend the money we receive at our own convenience to live our own lives.

Money comes into our lives and money goes out again. The trick is to ensure that money in always exceeds money out. In other words you live within your means. So pay attention to the numbers and check them regularly. This is not complicated mathematics. If you can master basic addition, subtraction and percentages that’s about as complicated as it gets. You don’t need to be a mathematics major.

Your success in managing your money and improving your financial skills will depend on you taking small daily steps to gain control and manage your finances carefully. You don’t need to be a city whizz-kid, you just need to care enough to want to improve your situation.

Just keep at it and don’t give up.

Financial discipline won’t necessarily happen overnight but slow and steady progress can be achieved which will improve your situation over time and help you progress down the road to wealth and financial freedom.

If you are consistent in improving your daily money habits then eventually good money habits will become a part of your routine.

Not allocating the time is certainly a crime:

Managing your money and planning for your financial future doesn’t require a lot of time but it does require some of your time and you must set some time aside regularly to ensure that you don’t lose sight of your second most important resource.

For the record; your most important resource is time. You can always get more money but you can never get more time.

Your financial success will be limited only by the amount of time, dedication, attention and hard work you put into to looking after your money and improving your financial education.

Many of the world’s wealthiest people will tell you they didn’t get rich overnight. Unless they were lucky enough to inherit serious money, wealthy people spent years giving it their all and managing their money wisely.

Achieving financial freedom is a worthy goal for everyone. However it you want to be wealthy you’re going to have to work hard to accomplish your goal and allocate time regularly to keeping track of what you earn, what you save, what you invest and the performance of your investments.

Even if you have more modest goals like becoming debt free or building a nest egg for your retirement, you can’t avoid allocating a little time to the process on a regular basis.

Fail to put in the time and you’ll experience very limited success, if any at all.

Everyone has a choice:

Never assume your situation cannot be improved. It can, albeit it will require effort and discipline from you.

Regardless of your situation now, you do have a choice. You can choose to say, enough is enough. Your life can be better if you choose to make it better.

It really doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past. Your past mindset in relation to money doesn’t matter either. The ability to create a better future for you remains in your hands. All it takes is firstly a vision that your future can be better than your past. Secondly you need the will to start making incremental changes and improving things slowly.

You don’t need to take giant strides and set the world on fire. Small incremental steps are fine as long as you keep heading in the direction of your financial goals.

Your mind is a powerful tool which can make or break your success. Wealthy people, particularly self-made rich people, use what is known as the millionaire mindset. This is simply a way of thinking in relation to money and the building of wealth.

Wealthy people don’t purchase items with unsecured and expensive debt. If they need something they usually save up for it first and then pay with cash for their purchases later.

Ironically they often give money regularly to people less fortunate than themselves too. Helping others can be a virtuous circle. Being kind to others can pay handsome dividends. Everyone really can be a winner.

Conclusion:

Develop a positive mindset in relation to money. You’re as entitled as the next person to create wealth from the value you add. Think positively and you will notice a huge change in your life and your finances. Work on developing a millionaire mindset.

Further Reading:

If you want to develop a millionaire mindset then three books you should read are as follows:-

The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J Stanley

This book explores the ideas, beliefs and behaviour that have enabled millionaires to build and maintain their fortunes. The author uncovers surprising answers, showing what it is that makes the wealthy prosper while others feel dejected and beaten by life. If you have an entrepreneurial mind you’ll find this book interesting. It will provide you with road maps on how millionaires found their niches.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley & William D Danko

According to this book, almost anyone with a steady job can amass a fortune. The authors suggest that most people have it wrong about how you become wealthy. They suggest that wealth is the result of hard work and living within your means. This book identifies seven traits which people with wealth tend to possess. These traits can be learned it says and if you copy what the wealthy do then you can be wealthy too.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker

In this book you will learn how your childhood influences have shaped your financial destiny. You will also learn how to identify your own money blueprint and revise it not only to create success but, more importantly, to keep and grow your personal wealth. Finally you’ll be introduced to 17 specific ways rich people think and act. These include specific action steps for you to practice in order to increase your income and accumulate wealth. The essential message of this book is that if you think like rich people think and do what rich people do then there’s a very good chance that you will get rich too.

If wealth and achieving financial freedom is your aim then you should read these books. If you’d like to take a closer look at them then click on each of the embedded links above. I strongly recommend that you buy your own copies. I did and they have all proved to be extremely useful to me.

And don’t forget; if you don’t have time to read these books then buy the audio versions from Amazon and listen to them when you’re driving or on public transport. Again, click in the link in this paragraph.

Other Articles:

Money-Making Tips from the 50 Smartest People

Don’t fall for an easy money scam

How to save money with Amazon Refurbished

Money and How to Get Rich

How to save money

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons