As much as I’d like to think of myself as a careful spender, I do go into my excessive spending phases every now and then. Chances are many 20-something year olds out there face the same issue too.
Expenses, IMHO, are of two kinds – expenses you regret and expenses you don’t regret. For example, I never regret spending on good food and well-made cocktails. I appreciate the craft and imagination that goes into a solid meal and a drink, so I feel it’s worth every cent.
But there are expenses I regret– things I spend on that are not only detrimental to my bank balance but my emotional wellbeing. SO MUCH GUILT! Thing is, they can totally be avoided. Here are some of these painful examples:
Telling myself to "Treat Yo Self."
Parks and Recreation fans will know what I’m talking about. We millennials can be an entitled bunch. We counsel ourselves into thinking that we had a long week or our jobs are killing us softly or just that ‘life is becoming too boring.’ To reward ourselves, we decide to give ourselves a little treat – spending on things we never needed in the first place.
Solution: This one’s easy. Whenever I feel like treating myself, I just ask myself if the purchase will really compensate for a tough month at work. If there is a slightest doubt in my mind, I can the idea immediately.
Buying stuff we didn't need and then trashing it.
We all do this – buying discounted clothes that don’t really fit us in the first place. They end up smelling like the mothballs in our closet. This is just one example of buying stuff that we know we’re never going to use. Carousel and Gumtree are there for us to sell stuff, but how many of us actually actively use it?
Solution: Donate it! Did you know you can get charitable deductions on your taxes if you donate to selected organizations? If that’s too much for you, just give it to your maid or cleaning aunty in your block or office. You may not get tax returns, but you’ll definitely get some blessings.
Shopping to increase happiness.
I hate the idea that buying a bunch of stuff can be therapeutic. ‘Retail Therapy’ is a farce and just something marketers use repeatedly to appeal to the general weakness of consumers. Trust me… I know. I’m a marketer…
Solution: Instead of shopping, I search for other therapeutic activities. I go for a run, I walk around the city, I catch up with friends, or I just blog. None of those options cost you any money.
Even if I have to shop to increase my happiness, I do it with respect to travelling - flights, accommodation, budgeting, etc. Travelling is such an enriching experience, it makes expenses totally worth it. That said, I make specific saving goals for such plans and try to stick to them as much as I can. With FRANK, I can make several goals and keep to my plan neatly and wisely.
Buying rounds of shots
At the cost of alienating myself, I'll say this once and for all – I hate shots!I know people like it for the kick but clearly NO ONE loves the taste of tequila, which is evident from the disgusted face everyone makes when they’ve downed one. And buying rounds for everyone is just good money being wasted on a bad experience. More often than not, tequila is the last drink people have before they start throwing up. So basically you’re paying money just to see people throw up – think about that for a second.
Solution: Don't. Just don't. Shots are unnecessarily expensive. If you want to get rounds, get other sprits. Pace yourself. And don’t go crazy just because you’re in your 20s. #SpendWiselywithFRANK. Remember, the goal is to party longer, not harder.
Comparing myself with others.
Okay, time to own up. This is the easiest trap to fall into. We know the competition is huge out there and we tend to think that everyone is running one race. No, you are not running the race, you are running a race – your race. Run at your speed, take breaks, and don’t burn yourself out.
Let me break it down for you. Different industries pay you differently. Three friends starting out together will get completely different salaries if one is in Banking, the other in Marketing, and the third in Hospitality. Not everyone can have beach parties or 7-course meals every week. Internalise this and you’re good to go.
Solution: Think it’s pretty clear what the solution here is. Just don’t compare! Run your own race. Happiness is not pegged to the dollar.
One could argue that it’s easier said than done. To be honest, sometimes I find it hard to follow my own rules but as they say, identifying the problem is half the job done.
About Ritesh Sharma
The quintessential millennial, Ritesh is a Social Media Strategist at Isobar. He can’t live without his lattes, his Uber rides, his Spotify account, his single malts, and his Instagram (@ritsjoey). Kthanxbye.