What’s the cost of keeping up with appearances with your friends?
- lively outings with friends,
- a vacation you took because someone on Facebook did it,
- a new vehicle
- a home in a pricey neighborhood, etc
No one can blame you; it’s an issue that happens across regularly. It’s best voiced by stand-up comedian Kevin Hart who says in short;
hanging with certain friends will wreck you financially.
“I stay in my lane people, I stay in my financial lane
Now lemme explain what I mean when I say this, okay?
Here’s what I mean what I mean when I say financial lane, here’s what happens
You start to make money
When you make money, you meet other people that make money
When you meet other people that make money, you wanna hang out with these people
But naturally, you wanna spend money the way they spend money but then you realize that you don’t make the same type of money that these fuckin people make, okay?”
It’s natural for you to put on a good appearance, however just know when it can become excessive. Do you really need that new toy/hobby? Is there a less expensive way to meet/impress your friends? Here’s a brief list of what to consider..
What’s in it for You in the Future?
Ever have a favorite toy as a kid? How about your current most favorite toy? Likely not the same unless you’re a Lego fanatic like me. As per comedian Jerry Seinfeld,
“All things on earth only exist in different stages of becoming garbage. Your home is a garbage processing centre where you buy new things, bring them into your house and slowly crapify them over time.”
“You’re all excited when you get something, you bring it in, open it on the kitchen table; the place of honor for the new arrivals. You read the instructions, fill out the registration card. You may even join the club of other idiots who have this thing.”
What you love to have today is not likely going to have the same value in a year or two.
Can I Afford It?
Here’s a simple way of checking yourself before wrecking yourself. Look at the total of all of your credit card payments in a month. Then look backward for three – six months. If you’re already just paying the minimum then you’re likely in trouble.
If you’ve been making more than the minimum payment (I don’t mean a dollar more or even $50 more) then try looking at the average of your last 6 monthly payments to your cards & loans.
To create an average add all of your payments to your cards & loans for the last 6 months. Then divide this by 6 (that’s the number of months). That number is the average of your spending to your cards and everything for the last 6 months. It’s not exact but life isn’t exactly exact either. Write down the number.
Once you’ve checked this and compare it to your income & expenses you’ll be on track to seeing if the additional new toy/expense is worth it. Here’s an expense form
What If I Can’t Afford Anything?
Sometimes budgeting is a case of just a lack of focus.
There are other times however where the habit of creating debt problems for yourself requires counseling.
However, there are times where your debts are lost because of forces beyond your own control. This is when it’s helpful to contact someone who can see if you can qualify for debt relief options.