Real Talk: How To Break Up With Your Spending Habits
by Inside Manila Contributor, September 13, 2019 3:08pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
We’ve all been there, whether your parents know it or not. You went overboard on your Treat Yo’ Self day and now you’re hiding it from the rest of the world. Your emotions took over, all reason was thrown out of the window, and you just weren’t thinking rationally. (But hey, we had fun!) And now you’ve entered a bad relationship with your wallet.
Real talk: It’s time to break up with your spending habits.
Let’s be honest, much like ending relationships, it’s not easy to just kick the habit. There’s a lot of feelings involved—what if I love milk tea but my savings hate the cost of extra sinkers? Here’s how you can keep those spending habits in check.
It’s Not You, It’s Me.
Identify Your Toxic Spending Habits
It’s time you opened your eyes to all the red flags. Where did all your money go? Let’s start by focusing on your bad spending habits.
Do you spend all your money in one go or in several small purchases that add up (which is just as bad)? Have you neglected to keep track of your expenses? How about these clinchers?
- Adding cheap but small items to your cart when you shop online.
- Cheating on your wallet because there’s a sale.
- Not compromising on alternative brands with cheaper prices.
- And the worst: shopping with your feelings.
How do you get over them? The first step is always recognizing and admitting what you’re doing. Next is to replace the habit with a better one.
Stop Being Clingy
Let Go of Purchases You Don’t Need
It’s so easy to get trigger happy when you get your pay. That’s the worst time to splurge, but it’s also the best time to save. Feelings make things so complicated, especially when it comes to tightening your budget. However, a simple way to get rational again is to keep asking yourself: Is this something I need or something I want? Keep asking yourself “Why?” until your reason points to a basic or credible need. How about these other tips?
- Physically write down a shopping list. Be strict. Do not buy anything that isn’t on the list.
- Stop eating out when you can bring baon or you have food at home.
- Alternatively, stop splurging on drinks all the time when water is literally free.
- Look over your subscriptions. Get cheaper plans. Delete what you don’t need.
- Research on products before you buy.
- Sleep on it. Wait a few days before buying something. Don’t be impulsive!
Fall out of Love With Your Credit Card
If you’re (un)fortunate enough to have a credit card, hide it at the back of your wallet. This is one relationship you do not want to entertain unless you’re sure of yourself. Only use it if you can pay the full outstanding balance, not even for emergencies—unless you can pay that amount in full once it’s due.
Seriously, stop paying just the minimum balance. You’ll never be able to pay what you owe in full. Worse, if you pay late there’s a charge for that, too. And say you do pay above minimum but less than full, that’s still going to hurt you. You get charged an interest rate of 3% which accumulates over time. Walang forever? Not if you’re in debt, honey.
Be Kind, but Firm
Create a Realistic Budget Plan
It’s time to set some boundaries. How much should you really be spending based on how much you get in a month? Start with your allowance and work your way backward. Break it down into fixed expenses, savings, and miscellaneous or non-essentials.
Ideally, the bulk of your budget goes to fixed costs. For example, your phone bill or load. Plus your needs: food, school stuff, transpo, other bills.
You Deserve Better—or More?
Start Building Your Reserves.
Set aside a minimum of 10% for savings. Make this a life-long habit. You’ll thank us later when you see your account grow. Hey, if you can afford to why not bring it up to 20%? Whenever you can, get into investing—more on that on our blog! Think of it like treating your future self.
Do Not Rebound.
Build Better Spending Habits Now
What about that untouched remainder from your budget? That’s for your miscellaneous expenses. Rejoice! Or rather, reserve it. Don’t go back to your old ways now that you know better. Since we’re building a better money mindset, it helps to re-evaluate your values and what you’re saving up for. Will you shop or will you save? The choice is yours.
Now take a deep breath and let go. It’s been a rough ride. Calendar a plan of action so it doesn’t get lost in your to-do list. Start budgeting and tracking your spending today so you can be better, not bitter, tomorrow. You got this.
*Minor edits have been made by Inside Manila Editors