Guest Contributor Lionel Shipman
Lionel Shipman is the owner of Shipman Consulting, a personal and business finance-consulting firm specializing in helping individuals and businesses improve their financial outlooks. The primary focus of the firm is facilitating seminars and classes to educate, motivate, and empower people to take charge of their financial lives. The firm also offers one-on-one consulting services.
Please visit the firm’s website for information at WWW.ShipmanConsulting.Com.
Email address: Contact@ShipmanConsulting.Com ; Twitter: @LShipmanSC
Know Your Money
Wednesday – September 17, 2014
Can You Live Without It?
By Guest Contributor – Lionel Shipman
Can you recall some old love songs that included the words “I can’t live without you”? The song talked about living everyday with that special person and the consequences of living without them. Well, you can live without that special person, even though you may not want to. It may be a huge adjustment but you can do it.
Can you recall a day when you were walking in your favorite department store desiring a certain pair of shoes? As you casually decided to try on the shoes and take a stroll in them, you noticed that the shoes felt wonderful to your feet and the price was not bad. With the biggest smile, you looked at everyone around you as well as the sales attendant and said “I’ve got to have these shoes. I cannot live without them”.
Well, that is the mentality that many people have regarding their spending. It is the “I cannot live without it” mentality. Instead of people working toward getting their financial houses in order, they are casually spending on things they cannot afford or even need. If there has ever been a time to spend carefully and manage your money, the time is now.
I am not trying to promote fear; rather, I am aiming to instill sound financial judgment into the hearts and minds of people, especially when it comes to spending. It reminds me of the biblical parable regarding the man who built his house on sand as opposed to rock. When the storms came, the house built on sand crumbled and washed away; whereas, the man who used rock as the foundation, his house withstood the effects of the storm and remained in tact. Well, many consumers’ financial outlooks are not only crumbling but are being washed away because of the “I can’t live without it” mentality.
Check this out. Without using any names, I recall a couple of years ago a person discussing with me that paying off debt was going to be their main goal for the year. However, every month this person was spending and making unnecessary purchases such as dining at expensive restaurants and buying sporting gear, at the same time trying to justify their spending spree. This person’s actions implied that they just could not live without it. Who cared that the charges were paid by credit card and were not paid off by the end of the month the charges were made?
Here is another example. My wife and I met a couple that ventured on a cruise vacation even though their home mortgage was in the beginning stages of foreclosure. Granted, I believe taking a vacation is important. However, when the mortgage or rent payment is due, a vacation can be postpone to a later date or one can consider taking a modified vacation by placing a beach towel on the floor, getting some snacks and a mixed drink, and enjoying a television marathon of vacation hotspots on the Travel Channel. I know that sounds humorous. But, what is the alternative? Keep spending because you deserve it (new shoes, clothes, car, expensive vacation, etc.)? Keep spending because everyone else is doing it? Keep spending because it makes you feel good? Keep spending because you have worked hard all year long? Can you live without it? Yes, you can live without it.
During my personal financial seminars, I always stress that everyone should enjoy life to the fullest. However, we must control our spending and remove the “I can’t live without it” mentality. Regardless of the discounts, rebates and percent-off offers, we (consumers) should not allow the “it” to control how we allocate and spend money. Consumers should remind themselves that the “it” will no doubt be there when they are in a better financial position to afford it. Don’t worry, the great sale in the department store will most likely happen again.
The “I can’t live without it” mentality reminds me of the cliché “keeping up with the Jones’. When a neighbor or friend decides to purchase a new house or car, why do we feel pressured or obligated to do the same or better? Why do we strive to live like our favorite entertainer or sports figure, knowing that our incomes are nowhere near theirs?
If consumers continue spending carelessly and allow the “I can’t live without it” mentality to lead their financial lives, they will be placed in a position where they will have no choice but to live without it.
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