Let us understand why we value things more than we value money: because we care more about what money can buy than we care about having money itself. Read that statement again!
If we valued money more than we valued things we would not part with it so easily and carelessly and we would not pay with money we didn’t have to start off with so that we can buy things on credit to impress people we don’t even know.
We are actually violating the Law of money: People first, then money, then things. It is a law that is respectful of money, a law that if you practised often enough will keep what you have and what you spend(not spend) balanced and working in harmony in all areas of your life and will make you wealthy.
Our consumer culture (instant gratification) makes us want things now and easy access to credit enables us to have them, long before we have paid for them, even if we did not need them at the time. At the same time, we cannot escape the clever unassuming marketing campaign ploys that are unleashed to seduce and entice us to want to need things urgently that we did not plan for.
If we valued money over things over the items it can buy, then we would know exactly where the money went. We would change the money/thing ratio so that we would have more money than things. We would take great pleasure in seeing our money grow and work for us, avoid unnecessary stress, have no debt, and for that matter no doubt. We would always know when we could afford something we wanted and be more likely to be able to buy the things we truly wanted.
Let us explore how you are being conned out of your money on so many levels and what to do about it.
You’re possibly overspending at various stages and ages in your life and on a variety of things that you are not paying attention to, yet you keep falling into the same trap, caught up in a spider web over and over again.
1. Grocery shopping is a perfect pitfall for falling prey to overspending if you can manage to get in and out of a store with only what you had on your list initially. As if that is not enough, just as you are standing in the queue about to check out, big brands are placed right in front of you at eye level and boom, you are enticed by all kinds of items that you did not include in your budget, which are all tricks to “help” you part with more of your hard-earned money.
Have you also noticed how the prices suddenly jump up just before edging towards month-end as compared to during the course of the month? Be Ninja smart (pretend to have blinkers on) and always on the lookout for these sinister marketing ploys and save your money.
2. The most popular one is “buy one and get one free.” Are you actually saving or is it costing you well above the normal price? You quickly snap up the special or see a price drop because in your mind you are “afraid of missing out” on the special sale and then you end up overspending.
Retailers always create a buyer’s frenzy that makes you jump at a deal with excitement without checking the facts first. Unless you are sure of what the normal price is for that item and whether it is the lower of the two items, and secondly, you need the item; if that is not the case, then don’t fall for it.
3. Have you noticed that cleaning products always have improved packaging that claims to have specially formulated ingredients that add to the lavender fresh mix of scents that will enhance the aura of your home? Truth be told, you’re being deceived. Most of these ingredients are the same, and you will discover that it is probably either ammonia, furniture wax, or bleach. Ultimately, you’ll find that you’re overspending and complicating a simple process of keeping your house clean, and once you’re done figuring it out, you can go on to save yourself some moola.
4. Personal care products It was not too long ago when there were just two products that kept people clean from head to toe. The good old-fashioned face cloth and soap follow this up with a lather of any moisturizer and you’ll have most of your bases covered and wrinkle-free and you are good to go.
When did it get so complicated that every unique single part of your body requires every specialized product you can think of that has cluttered up your bathroom? Just think about it for a second. Do you really need all those specialized products in both your bathroom and your closet? And to what end and at what cost to you, the consumer?
6. Grabbing on-the-go bottled water and taking away coffees are the two most overpriced and elaborate lifestyle everyday spending habits of many young, trendy people these days. Yes, we agree that saving alone won’t make you wealthy overnight, yet over time those savings add up to large sums of thousands of rands or dollars over a year. If you could find a wealth-generating portfolio instead, that money will be put to good use. However, we suggest that you fill up a reusable water bottle and make coffee at home or at the office.
5. Good old Paracetamol was and is still cheap and still does a great job absolutely perfectly, so do not be made to believe that brand name medicines are far superior and get the job done far more efficiently than generic medications, i.e., they reduce the dis-ease. There is no quality difference between generic and brand names; they are all the same.
The reason why you are overpaying is that you are compensating the big marketing budgets of big-name pharmaceuticals that are NOT there for your benefit; so to save yourself money just ask your local pharmacist what generic medicine is available and find out about its side effects and ask for a recommendation to treat the symptom instead of asking for a well-known brand drug by name.
7. We all know that the requirement and use of life insurance is a grudge purchase but necessary if you have lots of debts or dependents. Buying just what you need at that stage and age of life is the work of a well-thought-out futuristic plan to avoid pitfalls. As you know, life happens.
If some of your policies can cover your home loans, funeral, car, and basic essentials then any other life insurance policy is unnecessary it is then wise that you lower your monthly life insurance if your family circumstances change, for instance, your children graduate or leave home or house or car is paid up, you should then reassess your needs at least once a year, shop around for affordable life insurance that will buy you some peace of mind.
8. Premium university education is another status symbol that is often used as a lie and is unnecessary because it is the best or an excellent way to a quick and guaranteed career ladder upward mobility option. Meanwhile, at the end of it all, it makes no difference, the curriculum that is offered at a premium does not differ much from that of a lesser-known college or university down the road from you.
We believe there are many routes to reaching the top of your career ladder, and that university is only one way to get the knowledge you need. In fact, there are plenty of useful and helpful online courses that are both paid and freely available online, such as Google, Udemy, Lurn.com, Youtube, and others that offer certification as well, just to mention a few.
9. Textbooks are another necessary choice expense, yet if we could learn to recycle them and pass them on to those who cannot afford them and desperately need them, we would save the trees and our environment. With the advent of technology, many textbooks are now distributed online for free or in digital format. Unless you’re a highlighter or sticky note addict, you don’t need a brand-new or paper version. Learn to sell your textbooks. If you bought the paper version, once you’ve done some of them, they might be needed for future reference.
10. Baby showers, weddings, gender reveals, social events such as horse racing and music festivals; all these elaborate events have now become Big Businesses, taking advantage of anyone who wants to show off who is in the social circles, flashing money to reveal these unnecessary spectacles.
Social media does also add fuel to the fire by also playing a critical role in hyping up these types of gatherings. Truth be told these are unnecessary time and money wasters that will neither serve nor secure any of your financial future and that of your loved ones.
11. Owning and driving a car. It’s been drilled into us since an early age that possessing a car is a status symbol of independence and a display of moving up the career success ladder, whatever that means, but what is certain is that most people do not even realize that, from the time you drive the car out of a dealership, it has lost 25%–30% of its value, and your car is costing you more than you care to know.
It is not only the installments that you need to worry about, there are other additional expenses such as car washes, insurance, tyre replacements, and the renewal of an annual certificate for car roadworthiness that you must keep in mind when you buy a car.
Make sure that when you finally make a decision to buy a car you have taken into account all the related expenses and you are ready to handle ALL of the installments.
12. Kindle eBooks are very expensive in the long run, but they don’t need to be, and you certainly do not need to own or have a kindle to read books designed for the device. Did you know that the Kindle app is available for download on your PC or phone? With it, you can do a simple search for FREE Kindle books and you’ll see how many there are at your disposal. With all this money-saving you’ll be doing, you can afford to relax and read a book without the guilt of overspending.
13. Do not get conned when you are being convinced to buy extended warranties for your electronic gadgets, appliances, or even cars. In most cases, there is a standard cover within the first 6 to 12 or more months under the usual standard warranty, if the appliance or device, or car breaks down.
Insurance is only recommended to protect the items that you can’t afford to replace after the warranty has fallen off or expired. You should always ask pertinent questions regarding standard warranty cover and how long it will last when buying such items. Of course, you could also check in with your credit card provider to see what warranties they have in store when you make purchases with your card.
14. Most people are convinced by Retailers to upgrade to their latest version of products, and that, my friend, is a fallacy and a great marketing campaign ploy. You need the latest product to fit in well with your upwardly mobile lifestyle and fear of missing out (FOMO).
Yet we all know that the launch prices are always inflated and they quickly drop the prices when the product has been well received in the market and guess what it costs less.
Real smart money people only upgrade when they have to, besides you find that the current product still works perfectly, nothing is wrong with it, so what is the hype all about? Why not adopt the wise mindset now?
15. Be on the lookout for free trial Apps that you sign up for a limited free trial, you never use the Apps, you forgot about it, you didn’t unsubscribe, and now you are paying for it monthly unwittingly. If you are using paid Apps have you done research to find out if there isn’t an already available Apps out there that performs the same functions at a fraction of the cost or for free?
16. Bonus Tip: bank charges. Always be on the lookout for out-of-the-ordinary or double bank charges on your items that you may consider insignificant or small. However, you do realize that the “small change” does add up and it comes out of your account, right, without you noticing it.
Pay close attention to your bank statement each month and raise queries if you do not understand how the charge came about (we call it reconciliation). The principle is not being paranoid or petty or pedantic, it is about managing YOUR hard-earned money and being in control of it at the end of the day.
We have explored many areas and the list is not exhaustive that you may have been overspending on and are not paying attention to it, If you have enjoyed reading this post, please let us know which of these areas in your life have affected you the most and you have fallen prey to and how did you handle it?
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