10 Money Wasters and More

Have you experienced getting short of money before the salary comes? Is saving hard for you? Is your income not enough for all your expenses?

Financial problem has many causes. It actually is a result of bad habits and poor mentality that have been happening over time. Besides that, there is one reason why one always end up breaking the bank – it’s wasting money. It’s one little thing but when always done, can lead to financial shortages, debts and being broke.

I want to share the 10 money wasters that we should be mindful of:

1. Buying things that are NOT needed

“I need a new plate for Christmas to match the festive curtains and the Christmas tree.”

“I need to buy throw pillows for my new sofa.”

“I need to go to the 1-10 or 99 shop to buy the cute organizers for my travel.”

Truth be told, this is easier said than done. But let me give instances about the said lines above. As an expat, our purchases should be thought about how long we plan to stay in the country. When we intent to stay for five years, buying an entire sofa set, home essentials and decorations is impractical. When you stay in a bed space, having lots of stuffs may also result to much trash or giveaways when you leave or shift. While these goodies are always on sale, divert your perspective into having what is only needed or purchase only some for a house that can be occupied for a long time. Stuffs like tin cans, cute little bottles, mugs, frames, colourful storage, and the like are scattered cheap yet at most times, they end up in the bin because in the first place, they are not really essential. People are sold at the rack price but fail to realize the entire hassle and cost these junks incur in the future. Buying cute cans for twenty dirhams may sound cheap but in a year, you just either burn the twenty or add up another thirty for labor of an extra lift.

2. Overbuying
There is a huge sale of milk in the supermarket and people rush to buy buckets of it not being mindful of whether such products can be consumed before they all expire. This also goes true with vegetables, fruits, food supplements which ended up in the trash bins and hence, wasted. 

I would like to point out some videos I see that promote storage boxes and rooms. These are all good. But in a feasible mindset, there is no need for storage when you only buy what you use. Silly how some preach minimalism when actions speak louder than words. Sometimes, the right purpose of storage is overlooked when people buy more to fill up empty nooks of the fridge or of the kitchen. Perhaps, a celebrity that hosts hundreds and thousands of people on a regular basis should need a whole pantry in his house. But what about a regular income earner who cannot make both ends meet? Why there is a need to purchase a double-door fridge and be entitled to buy more but waste them? Why there is a need to buy dozens of bread when there are only two people in the house? 

Pasalubongs, are also a thing. This is a thoughtful practice of giving and sharing something you have to your loved ones. It an extension of your blessing and letting your family or friends taste what you got. But sit and think about it. Are pasalubongs really needed? I used to drop every item monthly in an XL box and send it to my family back home. But what happens next? How about going home and feeding them? How about purchasing specific items for chosen people? What about simply being happy for your presence? What about starting a culture of a smart and independent way of living? A culture that is more empathized to the person and not to what that person can give? Pasalubongs are silent teachers of expectations, habit builders of receiving, a reflex of envy and disappointment when all these are unnecessary. Without Pasalubongs, families can bond more, can converse more, can share even deeper thoughts, ideas and experiences rather than satisfying self-desires by assuming someone else to provide it. Really ouch but true!

3. Buying with fees and charges

“There is a new phone model. I cannot afford it but I will check the Network provider and avail the 2-year subscription plan.”

“I used my credit card and it reached max. I can only pay the minimum next month.”

“I’m tired to walk to my bank’s ATM machine. I’d rather take money from another machine though it will have extra charge.”

The above lines are examples of poor money management. In some countries, many people got jailed due to failure of paying the credit card. Many people have not slept in peace because of being bugged by the bank agents and even by the legal department. The upfront prices are too tempting when even in reality, the need to purchase such are not urgent. Practice saving and waiting, delayed gratification is most of the time, free.

4. Two gives, Three gives, Four gives…

“I need that perfume. Can I pay in three months?”

“I work so hard that I deserve a bracelet. Is there any installment plan?”

“I need to travel because YOLO. I saw an ad about travel installments.”

Installment for investing a property or business is different. Installment for things that have less or no value is petty. Installment plans are now used without plans, leaving the people with monthly baggage of paying an unprofitable possession. Things like perfume, 18k jewelries, branded items, shoes, etc give delight for a day but injects tensions when paid out of the budget. These are liquid and they depreciate. Using installments to acquire these is just a sign of a needful money literacy and a risk of financial fracture. Literally and figuratively, if you struggle to buy a bottle of perfume, how can you manage to buy a house? Self check.

5. Buying Trends
Keeping up with the Kardashians is difficult. You just bought that new sneakers and a new one has just been released. You just borrowed your friend’s credit card for a Zero-interest installment of a new-released phone when such mobile loses half of its value the very moment you do the unboxing. Rather, buy good quality clothes and products, standard smartphone and gadgets that can be used for years. When something is broken, it can be repaired. When it is gone, it can wait until the next purchase. After all, it is not what you wear that defines you, it is you who is secure, confident and genuine that makes you stand out – authentic from the inside and cannot be copied.

6.  Eating Out
Basically, food is fuel. It is originally designed to nourish human bodies. With social media, food becomes a picture and a status symbol. One has to eat a buffet for Instagram likes or one has to hog for gluttony. For Math’s sake, eating out is expensive. It also leads someone to laziness as delivery becomes easier than cooking at home. Eating out is great but doing it often when your income does not allow, can make someone broke and incur unwanted fats and debts. Imagine spending a thousand bucks for eating out, added over your “food budget” for the month – it is a double food consumption expense that leaves you unhealthy and penniless. Even the sugared beverages that flood our feed – hallow, isn’t it? They are burning money, not a calorie. 

7. Childhood Deprivations
I know someone who earns below AED 3000, that’s approximate P31.000 who regularly buys shoes because she did not have much shoes when she was a child. I was once told to be mindful of the things I was deprived of because, at one point in my life, I will seek to have it. My father also grew up in a hut. When it was his time, he built a 2-storey house because it was something he never had before. Sometimes, if we don’t control such things, they will control us. These are not bad, yes. Acquiring stuffs are good but it becomes hard when they are acquired over what one actually earns. Like what I said in the beginning, one should not purchase a pair of shoes every month when its price is 20% of the total income. Without any savings, no emergency fund, no investments – it’s just impractical. 

In a clearer scenario, the same person was just “window-shopping” to ease stress when she saw the huge signboard of sale. It was something she never had before, something she thought she deserves to have. It was a psychological battle and an emotional defense to make it worthy. She bought it anyway. In the third week of the month, she projected self-pity to a friend by borrowing some cash for her food and transportation.

It is not about the lack, it is all about the impulsive purchase she made and God knows, a lot more that her deprivations had paid for. Cycle goes on. 

8. Unhealthy ambitions
Childhood deprivations can lead to healthy and unhealthy ambitions. For some, their past encourages them to strive, do the right Math and acquire things accordingly. But for some, deprivations are used as sentimental reasons to gain something. 

A friend had been wanting to have a car because she used to be on foot in the past. While her income could not sensibly afford it, she took a car loan from the bank. Thing is, she did not realize the huge chunk of money that went to its EMI (Equated Monthly Installment). Car loan is a good option but it can be looting your hard-earned income when not quantified properly. In addition, she chose a car by price and design and did not thoroughly search about the model’s economic sustainability, its reselling value, etc. When she thought it was low-cost, the monthly payment weighed down her edgy budget. Worse, she later figured the other costs and almost fainted when she paid thousands for an oil change and servicing when such amount is around half of her monthly wage. Common mistake lies in giving onto the “reasonable” monthly upfront, without assessing the entire financial condition and the possible costs post purchase. 

If that friend managed her money, saved up and waited for a couple of years, it was still good. Commuting can be tough but paying loads of debt is even tougher. Debts freeze up plans. They delay priorities, they weigh you down and withhold the flow of money. 

Ambitions are meant to be successful and not to be stressful. Reality is, the latter happens a lot.

9. Not searching or using discounts
There is a false notion that asking for discounts makes a person look less. Even when the wallet is empty, some people close their eyes and pay a huge amount that does not justify the product or services he receives. 

When paying full tuition or when paying in cash, ask if there is a discount. Before booking for a plane ticket, search for multiple carriers and apply codes whenever available. When ordering for food, seek promotions or bundle meals first. Compare with individual meals and decide which one is priced cheaper and which one is better for your needs. (Even when a bucket costs cheaper, you don’t buy it when people are less. It’s a Waster number 2!) Use your credit card wisely. Check if there is a cashback when purchased on a certain bill. There are a lot of offers that credit cards provide which can lessen your bill. Use it at Airport lounges for free when available! Use vouchers, coupons, and deals on hand. 

10. Not budgeting, not writing the daily expenses
The last is simple but often ignored. I know of people who have already built their assets but still sit on budget and expenses. Writing this enables you to know where your money is going. It allows you to see what your household is consuming. When one doesn’t know this, the tendency of throwing money on air is high and recurring. Let’s say when you have listed your expenses and knew you consume 5 kilos of rice per month, a sale of rice in the market is a green signal to buy and save. In contrary, when a watch with a big T falls under 50% off, run away and leave when it is not on the list. Sadly, when this happens, many find themselves queuing up in the counter swiping off the cold plastic card. 

It doesn’t take so much of your time to list and do the Math. It saves, it saves.

Have you experienced getting short of money before the salary comes? Is saving hard for you? Is your income not enough for all your expenses

I have committed all 10 in the past. Even more. But change is available and only you can start it. The year 2019 is nearly ending, may we always seek and find God’s wisdom on how to be a good steward of His blessings and may we carry His grace to say yes to breakthroughs and say NO to the things that weigh us down. It’s about time to abandon the old habits and embrace the abundance of life because in the first place, God wants us to succeed and not to struggle.

“Yes, I can travel to that country.”

“Yes, I can provide for my family.”

“Yes, I can save thousands, even millions.”

“Yes, I can live free from debts.”

“Yes, I am financially free!”

Published by MM in Dubai

MM in Dubai is a SPED teacher by profession. She is also a Content Writer and Blogger based in Dubai United Arab Emirates.

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