As I write this article, ‘8 Bad Spending Habits You Should Break ASAP,’ I’m on a summer off, and since I don’t expect any April paycheck because of the dreaded ‘no work, no pay’ policy, I’ve got no choice but to stretch the budget and cut on those discretionary expenses. Haist! It’s a real dilemma among many private school teachers, isn’t it?
Good thing, I have a reasonable stash for this summer off. I can survive the whole April without taking a pinch of my emergency fund or the small investment I have been rolling over the market tides for at least two years now. Likewise, I do have enough time for all creative ideas and blog articles that I write and upload here.
So, here I go making a list of eight bad spending habits, most of which I totally tossed out soon I realized they’re badly hurting my personal finances. Until now, I still think I could have saved a lot should I have been more prudent and frugal then.
1| Not Investing in Quality Products
I had my first mobile phone, a China-made Nokia (I don’t remember the exact model, but it’s what many had back then) in 2008. Honestly, I was beguiled by its slim design along with fancy features like music, video, and camera.
Not long after, three months I guess, I had it disposed. It’s my first regret buying an imitation. I should have bought instead an original model with the basic call-and-text feature at the same price, or even the cheaper one.
2| Getting Hands on Tech Gadgets
I almost fell off my chair when I was told about how much my friend spent on his latest Samsung phone – a whooping PHP 53,000.00. Yayamanin! Well, I’m not bitter. I can afford it, too. It’s just that it’s a big fortune spent on something that rapidly depreciates over time. In a year or two, its value will diminish by half or a third of its acquisition price. That’s for sure!
While many shoppers justify splurging on tech gadgets for updated and superior specs that may improve their lives as many promotional ads say, I don’t confuse these purchases with investments. So instead of wasting money on these, I’d rather put it real investments that grow profits and beat inflation.
3| Impulse Buying
I don’t know, but I have this weakness being a little gullible. Whenever the product is at least good and the seller sounds serious with all the promotions, I always get convinced buying it. Occasionally, I end up a remorse thinking that it’s never a priority or I should have looked for something better or cheaper.
To curb this bad spending habit, I usually force myself to wait at least three days to make a conscious spending decision. In a matter of a few days, I can arrive at a wiser resolve whether to push through with the purchase or not. Nine times out of ten, it’s a ‘no.’
4| Shopping Without a List
I can survive a month or two without going to the grocery or to the mall. It’s my aunt who actually does the shopping. As she plans her trip to the mall, she prepares a long shopping list, or even years back when she still had a food business, she would hand me the list before I would go to Marikina Public Market.
Not only that having a prepared shopping list saves time, it also forces the shopper to stick to the budget and spend less on impulse purchases. Without it, there is a likelihood to overspend on less important items, and worst, forget buying the more important ones.
5| Eating Meals Out
I have been since recently cutting back on eating meals out. Yes, it’s easy and convenient, but expensive. It usually costs me around PHP 200.00 to get a full stomach at Mc Donald’s or Jollibee. If I eat a single meal out daily, that’s roughly PHP 6,000.00. That’s a big money! What if I would eat out twice a day? What if I would even try occasional fine dining at high-end restaurants?
Since I find no time preparing a packed lunch to work, I normally take lunch with my coworkers at the nearby carinderia. Lutong bahay as we all say, food is healthy, served fresh, and cheaper than fast food. With just PHP 50.00, I can satiate my hunger with a few cups of rice, meat and vegetable package, and a glass of iced tea.
6| Misspending on Vices
I have a few vices acquired in college and probably during those years when I had to work on a night shift at our canteen. I grew up with self-affirmation issues and tried to mingle around at the cost of learning vices. Trapped, soon I realize they’re hurting my budget terribly that I’ve been misspending around PHP 5,000.00 a month.
With the Philippine Sin Tax and TRAIN reform laws, retail prices of alcohol and tobacco products rocketed. One can buy a smoke at a price of PHP 6.00 (PHP 4.00 then), while a liter of Redhorse beer at PHP 87.00 (last year at PHP 75.00). Along with their monetary costs, these vices also pose health hazards that may further result in more serious financial issues. Let’s quit then!
7| Saving What’s Left After Spending
It’s all around the web, and it’s Warren Buffet who said, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” Saving works better if it’s done not as a bonus after making ends meet, rather as a priority. Yes, it can be difficult at the outset, but as soon as it becomes a disciplined practice, it really pays off.
Since the additional take-home pay brought by the tax reform program, I have always been excited about my paychecks, not because of the additional disposable income but the thought of making better savings.
8| Overspending on Experiences
Many young millennials have already shifted spending more on experiences, including entertainment, over material things. It’s good, but whenever night outs and travels hurt the budget or ruin the long-term savings goals, think again.
As I said, I’m on a summer off, and staying at home all day gives me a tickle pushing a month-long travel across the countryside. Whenever I start doing the math though, I feel that I’m gonna be spending a big fraction of my savings. After all, I’ll join the team for our April outreach program in Mindoro. That’s a countryside travel anyway!
There’s no shortcut to breaking these bad spending habits, I must say. Most of these habits are formulated at a very young age for most people, and breaking may require thorough recalibration of money mindset. With sacrifice and discipline though, breaking these eight bad spending habits can put one on the fast track to turning financial ‘what-ifs’ into reality.
How about you? Do you also have bad spending habits you should break ASAP?