If you’re a twenty-something who tries to live life one paycheck at a time, you’ve probably been in a situation where your cash flow isn’t as attractive as you want it to be. Sometimes, you just want a visual
feast to the tune of an IMAX movie; but, you can’t afford to shell out extra cash out of fear that you won’t
have enough lunch money for the next few days leading to payday. At times, you find yourself hanging out in a café, perhaps trying to write poetry or working on a personal creative project, and you just can’t
help but drool over that blueberry muffin served at the next table because all you could afford that time was a cup of Americano, nothing more.
Chances are, you’re not taking charge of your finances the way you should, and chances are you belong
to the side of the spectrum that includes those young people always running low on funds. Here are some tell-tale signs that you belong to a broke generation – and how to get out of it.
You look forward to the next payday… two days after payday. You spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to budget your income and make it last until the 15th or 30th day of the month – mostly because you already spent half of your earnings on a VIP ticket for a concert that’s two months away. You couldn’t even buy a tube of toothpaste that will last for months since you always get the cheapest, smallest one on the shelves.
If this rings a bell, it’s time to stop. What you’re doing isn’t really “budgeting” since you’re basically scrimping on your basic needs to make way for your wants. Real budgeting involves coming up with an actual working budget of what you particularly need to spend money on.
You’re addicted to swiping. If you’re paying for all of your stuff with that magical plastic card issued by your bank, there’s a great possibility that you belong to the cash-strapped generation. If you do not intend to wipe out all your debts by paying for them regularly and religiously, you’re going to be poorer than a country mouse sooner or later.
Realize that credit cards will suck the life out of you. Don’t get buried in debt while you’re young, unless you want to stay in the phase of paying off the interest when you’re already old. Sure, those Blahniks may look real nice on your feet, but if you can’t pay for it today, there’s a big chance that you won’t be able to pay for it tomorrow. Practice patience and self-control when you’re issued with this tempting piece of plastic.
You have so much stuff you can’t even walk in your room without tripping on them. You’ve owned every product Apple has ever manufactured. You have a separate phone for business, another phone for your games and internet browsing, and a dummy phone for making calls. You have Le Pliage totes in every color and design imaginable, and you have enough pairs of Adidas to build a rainbow even if you’re not a sneaker-head.
Ask yourself why you bought these things in the first place. Are you just showing off? Are you using everything you have in your bedroom-slash-stockroom every single day? Try this exercise: whenever you walk into the department store to purchase something, ask yourself if you want to get caught up in the
tangled mess of hoarding again. If you’re absolutely sure about making the purchase, and if you have the money, go buy it; but just make sure that you’ll be fully satisfied when you’re done transacting at the cashier.
Don’t try to fill a void with things that only bring temporary happiness. Instead of finding things that appeal to your senses (major hint: they usually come with a price tag), why not try to find or do things that touch your soul and being without shelling out a single centavo? Cut out all the clutter in your life and replace them with memories, inspirations, and healthy, nurturing relationships with people that you love. Soon enough, you’ll give yourself a pat in the back for choosing to live this way.