Sometimes the thought of money can create a grim gray cloud of confusion in your mind. Trying to determine what to spend versus what to save will likely burst that little puff of gloom into a much anticipated downpour of uncertainties: a muddled money mess. To avoid said predicaments, I have had to learn it is a good idea to always set aside some time to think before making any major purchases.
Not always having been exemplary of the thinking-things-through model, I, personally, have done my fair share of overspending on goods over the years. I’ve always been a very “gung ho” person when it comes to trying new things. As most young people are, I am eager to take on new hobbies and interests in hopes of finding the latest and greatest thing to be passionate about.
Upon meeting someone new, be it acquaintance, friend, or significant other, you generally start out by taking the time to get to know one another. In the ever-looming world of making first impressions you have a few hopeful minutes to put your best foot forward. You state the basics- your name, age, where you’re from- then the question is always “what do you like to do?”. For me, the answer is “try everything at least once!”. With that, I take the opportunity to experience my new companions’ favorite hobbies- which it turns out is an expensive habit to be in. There have been multiple occasions for me to learn from in which I let my enthusiasm get the best of me… and, namely, my wallet. Here are a few examples:
1) I once had a very adventurous co-worker. Always talking about her grand treks as an avid mountaineer, I thought, “I would love to do that!” We planned our first excursion together, but I thought “I have to be prepared.” I went all-in. Buying all types of outdoor clothing, gear, first aid and so on, I was able to convince myself this was not going to be just a passing phase. As the story goes, this pastime was short-lived. Had I started out slow, I may have bought used (or less expensive) equipment, or even borrowed it from a friend. Thus, my costly hiking paraphernalia would not now sit lonely, collecting dust in the back of a closet somewhere.
2) One dreary day at work a regular customer came in bearing good news. She informed me a truckload of rescued puppies was soon to arrive at her nearby home- free for the taking. A TRUCKLOAD OF PUPPIES. Naturally, my feeling-grown-up self couldn’t resist the thought of owning a puppy. I went over after work, picked the friendliest pup from the bunch and took him home to be my own. My first own real pet. Unbeknownst to me at the time, having a dog was similar to having a child- you had to feed him, love and make time for him, give him toys, and be responsible for him. A few hundred dollars spent at the pet store later, I knew I was not yet ready for this kind of accountability for another life. Not only was money going out, but it wasn’t coming in! I had to give up several shifts at work in order to take care of the little guy. As heartbreaking as it was, I put logic first and found him a nice new home who was much more capable of taking in the new family member. Had I not let the splendor of “FREE PUPPIES” entice me, I may have sooner rationalized and realized I wasn’t ready for this particular adventure.
When you start to think about bills, spending and debts, the notion of money can seem scary. When approached with caution and a clearly made-up mind, it doesn’t need to be. I had to learn that some spending versus saving mishaps can be avoided by not making drastic decisions on the spot. My new routine involves… wait for it… waiting. As dreaded as the task of postponing your life-at-large may seem, it is a necessary evil. Taking a day or two to think before I buy things has helped me improve my finances greatly. I remind myself I can always go back and get something later. I am young, so it doesn’t need to be now or never!