The Seduction of Spending

I like that title, in fact that could be the entire post, I like that title that much, but I will elaborate on this provocative statement, about the seduction of spending.

Today’s consumers (myself included) love of things and what money can buy has turned into a full-blown obsession with money and it’s trappings.

Are you a victim of the seduction of spending ? Ask yourself these question:

  1. Does anyone really need to spend $8.00 on a cup of coffee? In my mind if the beans were picked my Marilyn Munro in the nude (and she delivered it to me in that same state), then I might think that coffee is worth the money I spent. Starbucks has seduced you to spend that money with its cache and marketing.
  2. Can you hear the difference of $10,000.00 speakers for your stereo over a cheaper set of speakers? I can’t, but I am also fairly deaf from younger days in printing plants and rock concerts. If you feel it is really important and you can tell the difference, you have been seduced into hearing something that may well not be there (except for your dog).
  3. Why would you pay $16,000.00 for a Toyota Corolla when you could pay $80,000 for a BMW or Mercedes-Benz? Do you live in your car? For that price, in some places you could get part of a house for the Benz. If you think people will be impressed by the Mercedes name you have been seduced into thinking people care what car you drive (I might care if you drove me to work).
the seduction of spending

Must You Spend This ?

These are pretty crass examples of the seduction of spending that we all fall for (I am not portraying myself as being lily white in this, I have bought things that afterward I have asked, “Why did I do that?”), but this is one of the hardest things to control, the urge to spend money.

We can stop ourselves from walking up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and introducing ourselves, simply by rationalizing the embarrassment we might feel and the fear of rejection in that situation, yet we can’t stop ourselves from spending money when we know we shouldn’t (and worse we know we can’t afford the thing we want to buy).

Should we all be taking Prozac or some other psychotropic drug to curb our spending urges? I don’t know, I don’t think they would stop us (they might make us so stoned that we might not do much of anything), so how can we stop ourselves?

No Credit Therefore No Buy

The idea I have is so simple but also very hard to do, for most of us, since we feel naked without a wallet full of credit.

If you go out with no credit cards and no money, you are going to be hard pressed to buy something, aren’t you? Yes, I know with instant credit it’s not impossible, but it will slow you down a fair amount. If you are going out to look at a high priced item or even just going “shopping” with friends, don’t take your credit cards, and maybe bring enough cash to buy a coffee (not a $6.00 one either).

If you are someone who can control your impulses to spend, I applaud you, and strongly suggest you should write a book about it, I’d buy it on the spot (anyone see the dichotomy of me impulse buying a book that is to stop me from impulse buying).


Use Your Calendar

Almost pulled a major blunder this month, by forgetting to pay my MasterCard Bill when it was due.

Let’s review, when you don’t pay your Credit Card Debt off monthly, you then incur exorbitant usury fees, that dig you a hole that you will have a very hard time to get out of, so paying your Credit Card debt off monthly and on time is of vital importance in any financial plan you put together.

Why did it take so long?
(Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot,at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

What I usually end up doing is putting the date of when the payment is due in Outlook, and then download from there into my Smart Phone so that there is a reminder there as well. I should really write it on the Calendar at home on the Fridge as well, and you may have other places where you put important dates, but that one is really important.

Pay that darn credit card off ASAP!

Carrying credit card debt will hurt you financially, make sure you get rid of it and pay it right away.

You Can Get Penalties Reversed

I was able to call and ask that the penalties be reversed, since I am a “good” customer (i.e. I spend a lot of money with the card and I pay it off every month), and MasterCard was nice enough to forego it for that month. Since I had paid the entire amount, I didn’t have to pay any more penalties as well.


When I was younger, I was a bit of a pyromaniac (OK, a lot of a pyromaniac), in that I really enjoyed burning things, and I indulged my love of burning things many times in my younger life.

Many a time, I would lock myself in the bathroom with a set of matches stolen from my Dad (who was a smoker), and I’d set things on fire. It started just with the matches, then I looked at the toilet paper roll and I thought, now that might burn nicely as well, and once or twice I indulged in this activity. Very satisfying and enjoyable (at least I thought at the time).

Then came the day, I used a little too much toilet paper, and a scene similar to this erupted:

That was a little too much toilet paper

Needless to say, I ran, my mother found the remnants of this foolish behavior (luckily, it ended up that only a toilet seat had to be replaced), and I got heck for that (and am on occasion reminded of that foolish behavior).

What does this have to do with Money? How many times did you do something foolish with money, knowing that you were being an idiot, but just kept going? Have you had the flash fire that finally breaks you of this bad habit, or do you keep doing this bad habit?

My toilet fire moment (financially) was buying High Tech Stocks, and hanging on to them for much too long.

Thanks to Snoop Lion for the fun reminder of my youth.


My Top 5 Investing Mistakes (Guest Post)

To give myself a little time off, today’s post is a Guest Post, and you know my Opinion of Guest Posts normally, however, this is a post by someone who I trust and also it is an honest explanation by an experienced finance person of the mistakes they have made in their personal finance lives, and those are the kind of Guest Posts I like (i.e. from the heart and personal). Who is TuskTrader? I’ll steal some copy from Preet’s web site as a point of introduction:

This is a guest post on trading from Tusk Trader (check out the newly launched site: www.TuskFund.com), an experienced Bay Street trader. Tusk had a front row seat to the twists, turns, and almost collapse of our capital market systems a few years ago and provides a unique perspective you won’t find anywhere else. For most people, financial literacy is the elephant in the room. Let Tusk Trader help change that. If you are on twitter, make sure to follow Tusk at @TuskTrader

Hello readers! I am very honored to be contributing a piece to one of the best personal finance blogs in Canada. I have been asked to share my own investing mistakes. I began this process by recounting my own investing history year by year, and compiling a list that grew shockingly long as the minutes ticked by. It was ego battery at it’s best. The selection process for the top 5 was not as hard as I thought it would be. My biggest mistakes are also the ones I learned the most from and are what guide many of my decisions I make now.

Being a trader, many readers might think the list I am about to reveal to you all will be a big list of trading disasters. If you fall into that category, you will be surprised. As with many people, it is not the actual investment or particular trade that causes the anguish and unfortunate outcome, it is the lack of knowledge, lack of discipline, and other activities surrounding the investment portfolio decisions that have caused most of my regrettable mistakes. The losses I have taken in my own trading account have rarely been due to out of control losing trades. I have been very good at setting appropriate stop losses and I have entry and exit parameters well-defined before I get into a position. Now that I have stuffed in at least one compliment about myself in this piece, I feel more secure about revealing to you all my biggest investing mistakes and regrets.

I do not have the longest investing history. I have actually been a trader longer than I have been an investor. If you are young yourself or if you have someone young in your life, please share these with them. I think the new investor might get the most from my errors.

The first two mistakes I want to discuss have a lot to do with personal money management but they dramatically affected my overall investing performance. They prevented me from investing anything at all and as we all know, the longer your time horizon, the more choices you have to be a successful investor.

Click here for the top 5 mistakes made

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Personal Finance Inspirational Quotes

Given that the whole Personal Finance scene is now becoming more and more like weight loss and other tasks that need inspirational support, here are some Personal Finance Inspirational Quotes.

No Savings, No Gain

A variant on the concept of “No Pain, No Gain”, but applied to Personal Finance. This is quite apropos as  most folks think saving is painful, so replacing pain with savings is actually quite accurate.  To be clear saving is earning more than  you spend and putting that money (saved) aside in a safe place.

Don’t dig your grave with your own Debit and Mastercard

This is a variant on “Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.”, which is an old English Proverb about weight loss. The two things most of us use every single day is a debit or credit card, and those are what lead to financial problems (if not managed correctly).

Success is not a race, be patient, but start now!

This is a generalized weight loss concept, about being patient with your weight loss plan, but it is also true for your financial plan, it will take time, however, you must start doing something NOW!

There is no “I” in Frugal

Again a spin on there is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in wIn! This version of the quote points out that if you are a couple, you must be frugal together, not as individuals, if you are single, you can Ignore the quote.

I think I just spent my willpower

A variant on “I think I just ate my willpower”, and if you keep spending your money you won’t need willpower any more to stop spending, because you won’t have any money left!


Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change. Don’t let it stop you from being who you can be. Exhaustion tells you when you ought to stop. You only reach your limit when you can go no further.

– Unknown

What a crock of horse manure! Pain is your body telling you, STOP DOING THAT! 

However in the case of your personal financial planning, Pain is important to make yourself feel pious and to know your plan is working, so endure the pain (financially), oh and you’ll know when you reach your limit, you’ll have enough money.

Use these personal finance inspirational quotes to motivate you to save!

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