Bad Money Habits

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Today, I got totally called out on bad spending habits by a kid’s picture book.  Here’s how it happened:

We are working on creating a parent-child money program for the local Rec Department, so I was skimming through a book I ordered called “The Kids’ Money Book” by Jamie Kyle McGillian. Chapter 4 is all about “using your money smarts” and it includes a list of excuses kids give for their bad spending habits.  I realized as I read it that more than a few of them were things I’ve heard myself say.  Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • I bought it because I just felt like buying something.
  • I bought it to be cool.
  • I bought it because I’ve always wanted something like it for as long as I can remember.
  • I bought it because I saw a commercial for it on TV and I had to have it.
  • I bought it because everybody I know has one.
  • I bought it to make me better looking.
  • I bought it because I thought it would make me look smarter.
  • I bought it because it was on sale.
  • I bought it so people would like me better.
  • I bought it because I thought it would make my life easier.

Even though this list was made for kids, I’m willing to bet that shoppers of all ages have said one or two of these sentences recently. I know I’m guilty! I think on 99.9% of the shopping trips I have ever been on, I came back with at least one item I didn’t plan on buying and my explanation is always, “It was on SALE.”

We all make mistakes and there’s nothing wrong with occasionally treating yourself to something new; spending only becomes OVER-spending when you have to continually rationalize your money habits with excuses like these ones.  Buying one new shirt because your wardrobe needing pepping up or a new DVD once a month for movie night is okay, but constantly spending money on these sorts of trinkets can really eat into your budget and make it harder to pay for necessities.

The next time your out shopping and you pick up an item, ask yourself why you’re buying it.  If the answer can be found in the list above, it might be wise to reconsider the purchase.

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