If you have a hard time managing your finances and you realise that earning more doesn’t seem to make a difference, don’t fear.
I am not here to brow beat you or in anyway shame you. I’m going to explain to you why you may be stuck in this cycle.
Sold a fantasy.
We’re playing the ostrich game but that’s not entirely your fault.
At least in the West, overspending is deeply intrenched in our culture.
It’s all about regaining or maintaining trust in the economy by encouraging spending.
We supposedly can spend our way out of a recession.
But if spending is a panacea, if retail therapy is so good then the consequences should only be good, at least in the long run, right?
But that’s not the case. We get hooked to a certain lifestyle, go into debt for trivial things. We succumb to impulsive buying, chasing that elusive good feeling one unnecessary purchase at a time.
But when a crisis happens and we have to borrow more, do we get preferential treatment for having helped the economy with our big spender energy?
Nope. We are offered loans with higher interest if we’re in difficulty because we are deemed “risky”.Therefore we get into yet more difficulty.
You pay the minimum on your credit cards. The minimum payment soon snowballs into an impossible amount. You will end up paying all your life, multiple times what you actually borrowed.
Could you in theory consolidate your debts and pay all these on a 0% free interest card? Or with a bank loan? Yes. It would turn out more manageable, cost you less in interest and would be paid quicker. But that’s if the bank or credit card company deems you eligible. It will depend on your credit score. And typically the deal will not last long enough to clear the whole debt.
Their aim is to earn as much interest from you as legally possible.
A way round this is to transfer your balance(s) to a new credit card each time the deal finishes if you can.
Countries go into debts but borrow with no such consequences. This reality does not apply to us tax payers.
In fact we are part of how governments fund their spending (we pay taxes). They also use inflation, which in turn makes the value of the tax payers’ cash decrease each year.
Here’s a video that goes deeper into the issue.
Credit card debt seems to be a way to emulate what the powers that be have been happily doing for decades. But as illustrated in the previous example, it is the worse kind of debt for us mere mortals.
There is no telling how much better you can be if you don’t rely so much on a system that pretends to help only to swindle you in the long run.
I am being cynical. But tell me, why are terms and conditions so difficult to navigate? Why is it such a problem for banks and credit card companies to be 100% transparent? Because they profit from our ignorance.
Every now and then, they are called to account and fined for their unscrupulous tactics but also bailed out because they are “too big to fail“.
That tells me that we cannot trust the powers that be to protect us from everything. We need to stop being naive, do our own research, and take control of what we can.
Back to basics
We need money to spend on necessities. But spending in itself is no panacea. Money is finite. We must learn to spend less than we earn if we are to break the cycle.
It starts with having an honest look at your expenses.
You’ve heard of establishing a budget.
If the idea scares you, how about letting your budget show itself?
Most banks provide the possibility to find out what you spend over a 3 month period in food, rent, transportation, internet, etc. Mine does through their mobile app.
Find out what your number is. Is your income covering this? Acknowledging the issue is the first step in solving it.
Soon, you will realise you can reduce what you spend in some things and start saving.
The awareness will turn into discipline, which in turn will give you more freedom, when you have a crisis and need some cash. Because let’s face it, if this pandemic had taught us anything, it’s that we need rainy day savings.
Another thing to do is to figure out ways for your money to work for you. It could be by investing or a side hustle. Having multiple streams of income is a good idea nowadays.
If you are curious about investing in Bitcoin, I have written about it here.
We have been lulled to sleep with a fantasy. Credit isn’t our best friend. Money is finite. We have to treat it as such.
Have a budget.
Spend less than you earn.
Pay off then stay away from credit card debt!
Have you experienced getting rid of your debts? How did it make you feel? Share in the comments!
Reflect, redefine, rise!