The Costs of Investing in Yourself

Investing in yourself is important. We hear the buzzword of “self-care” almost everywhere we go. Whether it’s yoga or fitness, a regular visit for a massage or a spa, or indulging in your favourite food or coffee on a regular basis, we often justify treating ourselves as “self-care”. In a way, treating yourself does fall into this department, but how do you make sure that it isn’t getting out of hand? How do you ensure you’re not constantly using the excuse of self-care when you’re spending your savings on this and that

Most people are much better spenders than savers, especially when you’re using credit cards versus cash and not immediately seeing the impact of your spending. This is the hard impact of treating yourself. Your credit card bill will still continue to come each month, and those “treat yourself” purchases are going to add up quick. 

Treating yourself to things often can have the same effects as spending because usually those purchases have a lack of planning behind them. For example, getting take out when you know you have food in your fridge at home. Falling out of your budget and financial routine can be bad news in all departments so it’s important to think of purchases to treat yourself as less of an impulse purchases and more long-term. For example, want to go on vacation? Start saving now. Want to go out for dinner on Friday night? Eat in every night leading up to it.

You also have to think about how marketers are marketing to us. They make us believe we should treat ourselves, that we deserve it, that you need to buy something right then and there, when in reality it takes away from it being a treat when you are going into debt over it or not spending responsibly. 

Here are some things to think about before you start treating yourself to everything you think you “need”. 

Where’s your debt at? 

Thinking about investing in yourself, and where your money is going, it’s important to take a hard look at your debt. Debt can be accumulated in a variety of ways, some more obvious than not. You can acquire debt by simply overspending, investing too much money you don’t have on things you don’t need, or an unexpected expense comes up that needs to be paid right away. We’ve all been there, but how do we know when our spending is getting out of control? Or that our habits aren’t healthy ones? Here are some spending habits you need to be aware of to take control of your debt.

Knowing where your money is

Are you keeping track of your spending throughout the month? Do you know how much money you put onto your credit card each month? Off the top of your head, do you know your total monthly expenses? Instead of pushing it aside or worrying about it later, it’s important to keep your spending top of mind. Not everyone keeps track of what they’re charging to their cards, but by throwing purchases onto your credit card without keeping your budget in mind is what can get you into debt in the first place. By being aware you are in debt and that you have blown your budget will help you be more cautious when it comes to your spending. There shouldn’t be any extra expenditures when you’re already in a financial bind, and by understanding how you got yourself into this financial situation is what also needs to be addressed. Did you miss a bill payment and the interest is adding up? Is it a big month in terms of expenses? Has there been an emergency where financial assistance is required? No matter what the situation, understanding why you’re in the financial spot you are in is what will help you get out of that bind, but will also help you prepare for the future accordingly. 

Spending on convenience 

There are times where we pay for something we know is a premium, because it will result in making life easier or happiness. And that’s okay, but you have to have your budget in mind. Things like taking a cab instead of transit or walking, cleaning services, etc. It is no surprise that convenience has its price, and that’s no different in the food industry. Food and dining out is one place that people try and save money. Don’t want to cook, but there is food in the fridge? Whether it’s ordering in, taking out, going out or grabbing on the go, the convenience factor for the food industry is one of those bad spending habits we all fall victim to. Especially when you’re craving something specific, impulse food purchases are something we commonly forget to budget for. As take-out and drive-throughs are now a thing of the past, the latest is the boom in technology and how it is shaping food trends and consumer purchasing decisions. All done at the tips of your finger, your food is also now living in a digital world, and you can order through a number of apps and services all trying to master the digital food space making it easier than ever for you to spend after a long day. 

So how do you break these habits? Practice. It involves pre-prepping meals, organization and being creative when it comes to grocery shopping. Think of meals that will be easy to make and use as leftovers for those busy nights and lunches the next day. Pick a day to do all your grocery shopping and prep while you start to put everything away so you can use your fridge as a grab and go throughout the week. With food already prepped to go, you won’t have to worry about the time crunch and have the same convenience factor as eating out. And it’s not just food that people pay for the convenience factor, there are many things that people pay for but this is one spending habit that can make a big impact on your budget.

Stop making minimum payments & start saving

Are you one of those people that no matter how hard you try you’re unsuccessful at saving? Saving is one of those things that need to become a habit and is much easier said than done. Taking a step back and evaluating your spending is the first step because you can’t start saving when you don’t know what you’re spending. And this becomes as issue for things like making minimum payments.  When paying the minimum, you’re most likely paying interest from bill to bill and not actually tackling your debt, but accumulating more debt. This is why your savings matter. It is also what GoDay is here for. Our payday loans are not intended to provide a long-term financial solution – they are intended to solve urgent but temporary cash-flow needs, especially in those times where we can’t keep up financially or when you’re making the minimum payments and falling financially behind. Getting out of the habit of making minimum payments is one of the best ways you will start to see your debt disappear. So next time your credit card bill comes in, budget wisely to take that first step in managing your debt.

For tips and information on payday loans and how they can help you get out of debt temporarily, check out your options here

Wants versus needs

Do you know the difference between a want and need? Now take those wants and needs and think about how much they cost. Financial wants are the items and things we desire, compared to our financial needs which our financial obligations such as bills, debts and everything else life throws at us that we need to pay for. We’ve become accustomed to some of these things that we think we “need” them because we’ve had them for so long when really it’s more of a “want” and would be just fine without them. One of the most effective ways to reduce financial stress and make your money more meaningful is to change the way you spend. Ask yourself “why” when you’re spending. Is this truly a need, or a want? How will this item add value to your life? Asking yourself these types of questions forces you to engage with what you’re spending money on in a more meaningful way and can help lead to more changes in the way you are spending in the future.

Avoiding impulse purchases

As mentioned above about financial wants and financial needs and treating yourself, these expenditures are usually impulse or spur of the moment decisions. Are you one of those people that doesn’t read the price tag when purchasing an item? Have you ever purchased something on a whim or just because? When it comes to spending, staying within a budget is key for debt management, which doesn’t happen when you spend sporadically. As much as you can try justify your spending, this is how marketers and retailers make their money off of you. There are many tips on how to avoid impulse purchases including sticking to your list can help you avoid unplanned spending.

Knowing your financial means, and sticking to it 

Are you living within your financial means? It sounds easy enough to do, right? Well, would you be surprised if we told you that more people than you think are constantly overspending and falling behind financially. This is very common when it comes to materialistic goods, the ones we’re buying because we think it will make us happy. Living in a society where the latest gadget is a “must have” and brands create good marketing to make us feel we “need” these things is one of the ways people are constantly overspending and finding themselves in debt. Living within your means is not always easy, but it is the best way to avoid excessive debt. Canadians are burdened with historically high levels of household debt, according to Statistics Canada. Simply put, too many people are spending more than they earn.

These spending habits are all ones that can set you back when it comes to your debt, and saving money. Now we’re not saying that you can’t have any fun while saving, we know how important it is to treat yourself, and spend your money on things you want and not just need. However, we encourage it to be done responsibly aka not spending outside of what’s coming in so you wind up in debt. 

Here are some tips for treating yourself responsibly:

  • Justify your purchases – why are you making it? Does it make sense for you to spend that money right now? Can it wait?
  • Use treats as a way to reward yourself when you’ve accomplished something, and not just on a whim. For example, you stuck to your budget that month, you went to the gym everyday this month, etc. 
  • Determine what’s a “treat” for you. Does it have to be a luxurious spa getaway or can it be a tub of the expensive ice cream at the grocery store?
  • Prioritize experiences over things. Want to do something special for yourself? Take a bike ride by the waterfront, attend that free local event you never make time for, rent the book you’ve been meaning to read from the library. Treating yourself doesn’t always need to mean spending money.

What are your tips for treating yourself responsibly?

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