I don’t want to alienate you with my series – spending habits draining your net worth. I like to think I give both sides of the argument for each item, but for me and my lifestyle, the answer is obvious to avoid them. Here’s an incomplete list of the items I spend no money on or very little money on.
Spending Habits Draining Your Net Worth
- Interest on depreciating assets
- Books not from the library
- Music (CDs, DVDs, cassettes, records, etc.)
- Expensive cell phone plans and the latest phone
- Lottery tickets
- Late fees
Now, despite what you may think after reading this list, I absolutely do NOT advocate sitting in your house staring at the wall until you die, just to save money. I advocate knowing yourself and spending money on experiences that will enrich your life.
I ask you to consider the clutter in your home, the poison in your body, the harm to the environment. Minimize, not eliminate, the money you spend on depreciating assets and make sure you’re thoughtful about the process. I know you work hard. Put your money where your happiness lies.
And just so you don’t think that I live in a cave eating berries I pick from the bushes wearing nothing but a loincloth, I decided to confess to the habits that drain my net worth. Instead of spending money on the items listed above, here is where I throw my dollars.
I spend most of my cash traveling on airplanes and boats and trains and buses and occasionally a car that isn’t mine (e.g. cabs). In that budget bucket I also put in accommodations I use while visiting new places. My obsession with crossing stuff off lists extends to my “visited countries list.” I love seeing a new city. I love flying. Consequently, I spend a LOT of money on flights. Even with frequent flier miles and scouring the Internet for deals, this is still my largest expense by far.
And it most definitely adds up, draining my net worth. And I know that my habit is NOT great for mother earth, spewing fumes in the air.
One day, I’ll be a teetotaler and give up drinking. But right now, I quite enjoy the taste of alcohol. I love a good craft beer, red wine, mixed drink that is an unnatural blue color with a funky umbrella sticking out of it. I love drinking socially with friends. I love going to bars and closing them down. I love raising my glass and “cheersing” to something ludicrous. I love trying alcoholic beverages in different countries. I love lowering my inhibitions and making friends over booze. Even when I was trying to pay off my student loans, going out drinking with friends was never something I gave up. I participated less than I do now, but I still drank.
And I know this habit drains my net worth. And I know this habit is bad for my body.
I’m learning to cook whenever I visit my mom, but I eat out quite a bit and probably more than I “should.” I’m a single gal, so making big meals for myself doesn’t feel like the best use of my time. I also view eating out with friends and drinking as my major social activity.
And I know this habit puts a severe strain on my net worth.
Earrings are the only* depreciating assets I buy when I know I have too many as it is. I have three holes in my left ear and two holes in my right ear and I love picking out earrings to wear each morning. I may not always wear makeup or always do my hair, but I feel naked without my earrings. I easily have over 100 pairs and I buy new ones in each new country I visit. I love dangly earrings, studs, gold, silver, gems. It’s my favorite item to collect and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
And I know this habit drains my net worth.
This is a small thing, but so are many of the items I listed under my list of items draining your net worth. I get my eyebrows threaded by a professional every few weeks because I’m of Indian descent and a hairy monkey. I could, theoretically, pluck my eyebrows myself, but I can’t get the polished look of threading on my own. I could also learn to thread my own eyebrows. But I haven’t. And I have no plans to because I like burning money.
No, seriously. I tell you this because I know we all have our vices. We all spend our money on things that give us pleasure. All I’m asking is that you consider everything before you buy and make sure you really want the thing you want and that it’s not some clever advertising messing with your brain and your wallet. Nobody cares about your money as much as you do. Look at the item you want to buy and ask yourself if it brings you more joy than having more free time.
*Okay, I also buy postcards in every new city I visit as well. I like making things like this heart for decorating my wall.