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If budgeting was easy, no one would be in debt and pay day loan companies would go out of business. So would credit counselling, my line of business. The fact is our wants and our needs are constantly competing to win the spending behaviour battle. We may know at an intellectual level what we should be using our money for, but our hearts yearn for that new car, sofa or all inclusive trip to Mexico.

 

To coin Dr. Phil, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.  This is the main reason why we don’t alter our spending habits readily to become frugal and practical consumers. Personally, I have struggled with being unwilling to spend unless absolutely necessary. Fears of living in a pup tent and eating cat food in my retirement  kept my spending habits at bay for many years-then I met my husband.  He is a fun-loving, live for the moment kind of guy.  He is fond of saying that we won’t have the energy or desire to spend money in our eighties.  I beg to differ.

 

As it turns out, I have learned the fine art of compromise in order to keep the peace. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I actually enjoyed spending. I can really get into this!  I am now comfortable treating myself to life’s little pleasures, but have a firm grip on the bottom line. It isn’t hard for me to imagine how easy it can be to slowly allow the debts to creep up until you wake up one morning and realize you can’t pay the mortgage.

 

It really is all about balance isn’t it? Optional spending is something that should be practiced with moderation and a definite plan to save for it beforehand or pay it off quickly if credit is used. The trick is to know your commitments, your priorities and your life goals before mindlessly embarking on a spending spree.