When we’re young, our parents often lie to us. They mean well, but the wrong lies can often limit our preparation for the big, bad world out there.
- “You can be anything you want to be if you just put your mind to it”—TRANSLATION: If you’re 5′, SURE you COULD be an amazing basketball player, but it will take a LOT more of your mind to hone the extra skills needed to surpass your 6’6″ opponents than it would for them
- Or how about “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”—TRANSLATION: In our highly competitive world, there are certain rules to need to play by. And you’ll be loved by your parents regardless of how you perform in the world—but probably more so if you’re successful and not under your parents’ roof forever and a day consuming all of their resources
But there’s one that’s driven many of our actions for quite some time and won’t stop anytime soon:
This one’s just dangerous. This is the one that causes kids to grow up feeling entitled to the world and everything in it. Things that cost a LOT. Things they more often than not can’t even AFFORD.
And this is wherein the conundrum lies. We want the world to respect who we are and take us seriously. But regardless of who you are and where you are on this sphere, there are preconceived notions of what a successful adult is. How they look. What kind of car they drive. The choices they make and the travels they take. They are the ones who have their cake and eat it too. But in a world where capitalism and the consumerism resulting from it are king, this all takes a whole boatload of money to pull off.
But with that same pool of money that we’d need to fulfill these desires, there are plenty of other things clamouring for our attention: putting roofs over our heads, putting food in our bellies, putting clothes on our backs and making damn sure we can get to our jobs every day so we can make the money to keep doing these things.
So no, shoppin’ ain’t easy, and this isn’t something that can be changed easily. But there are things you CAN do to make it a little easier for yourself:
1: PAY YOURSELF FIRST
The sooner you do this, the easier it’ll be to afford all those things you want—this won’t always be easy (heck, it rarely is), but you need to pay yourself first. What this means is that with every paycheque, you should be putting some money away for a later day—10% or so. This has a two-fold benefit: the more obvious of accumulating savings, especially with a compound interest rate applied; but also the habit formed of putting money away until you actually need it. If you’re not always making impulse purchase and putting money away for larger purchases instead, you won’t feel so limited in what you can do as your purchasing power will increase exponentially.
2: KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES WILL ONLY WEAR YOU OUT
If you’re trying to get the latest fashions, gadgets or whatever to keep up with or outdo a rival of yours, YOU’LL be the one who ends up LOSING. You need to invest your time, efforts and money into things that provide a long-term return for YOU. Let’s take a look at some possible examples:
- A new suit might cost a lot, but it might be the same thing that sees you excel in interviews, make connections at dinner parties and earn respect from the right people
- A new top-of-the-line computer may be costly, but it can help you work faster and give you more time to do other things that you might not have gotten around to with a lagging machine
3: SHOP SMART, NOT HARD
The method I used to get some of my costlier devices is to make sure that I could afford them—for example, to afford my MacBook Pro, I saved up gift cards from birthday and Christmas gifts for 5 years while I waited for the perfect model and tried to decide on the right time to get one. I’m doing the same to get myself an SLR camera, and I find it’s a really good way to figure out what you really want and how long you’re willing to wait to get it.
Other ways to make things more affordable?
- Coupons/Groupons and other various discounting sites that you can use to save money
- Signing up for email lists for the stores you frequent in order to get notifications about when they have sales
- Visiting discount/coupon forum sites like redflagdeals.ca in Canada, where people discuss their methods for saving money
Patience is key. With this you’ll be able to get the things you want in life without breaking your bank. Of course, putting a little bit of money aside is only the first step to a prosperous future—but that’s a long blog post for another day.