Anna Gragert
June 22, 2016 6:15 pm
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My parents always dealt with financial worries, but things were especially bad when my dad lost his job for the first time. I was in elementary school and, up until that point, my mom and dad had done a great job shielding me from their money-related worries. However, there was no way they could hide the fact that we were no longer able to afford groceries after my dad lost his job. Ever since then, I’ve been dealing with what I like to call “financial anxiety.”

Financial anxiety causes me to constantly worry about money, even if I’m in the clear. It means that I deal with additional anxiety every time I purchase something. Plus, this form of tension also prompts me to reflect on all the past mistakes I’ve made when it comes to the money I’ve spent. While this isn’t exactly healthy, it has helped me learn some very important lessons in the realm of finance. Mostly, it’s taught me to stop spending money on the following…

1. Fast Fashion Clothes

Walt Disney Pictures / giphy.com

I’d like to say that this was just a phase, but I’d be lying if I did. At age 11, I began to care about the clothes I wore and, just like that, there went my savings. Rather than purchasing basics I’d wear for years to come, I instead chose to spend money on trendy pieces similar to the ones my friends were wearing. Then, once these trends ended (as trends do), I’d get tired of wearing certain clothes and would move on to the next fad.

Sadly, this cycle continued for many, many years and I don’t even want to think about all the hard-earned cash I’ve lost because of it.

2. Designer Goods

My styles have changed since then, but as a teen I was obsessed with designer labels. Rather than focusing on the quality of the clothes or how they made me feel, I was solely focused on the label I was wearing. With that being said, I spent way too much time scouring eBay for cheap deals on these labels and even then, I basically ended up throwing my money away on clothes I didn’t truly love.

3. Surplus Beauty Products

Warner Bros. / giphy.com

While I do not wear makeup, I do tend to collect these two beauty products: nail polish and lipstick. And yes, I used the word collect instead of wear for a reason. That’s because I rarely take the time to apply lipstick and I do not consistently paint my nails. Yet, I have SO MANY of these products, ones that just sit in a drawer in my closet most of the time.

Rather than buying beauty items I most likely won’t use, I wish that I only purchased a new product every time I finished another. That way I know I spent my money (somewhat) wisely in the makeup aisle.

4. Excess Groceries

There is no way I am going to finish all the fruit and veggies in my fridge before they start to go bad. I’m not even exaggerating here – it’s just not humanly possible. In other words, I wish I stopped spending so much money on groceries I realistically won’t use up, especially because I hate wasting food (it also causes me anxiety).

It’s about time I started planning out my meals ahead of time, right?

5. New Technology

New Line Cinema / giphy.com

If my devices work just fine exactly as they are, then there is no reason for me to covet the latest edition. Despite how high-tech it may be, it just doesn’t make sense. Yet… I have been guilty of this in the past and have unnecessarily spent money to upgrade phones that didn’t need to be upgraded in the first place.

6. Books

You wouldn’t buy a car before test-driving it, right? Well, I personally think the same should apply to books (especially when you judge books by their covers, like I do – sorry!). Before purchasing stacks upon stacks of books I didn’t truly enjoy, I wish I borrowed them from the library instead. Then, I could’ve purchased the book if I ended up falling in love with it. If not, at least I didn’t end up losing anything (like all the money in my wallet).

7. Take-Out

Paramount Pictures / giphy.com

Over the years, I’ve learned that if I have food in my fridge, I should create my own version of Chopped instead of having food delivered to me. Yes, I’m okay with treating myself every now and again, but not multiple times a week. Having food delivered often isn’t exactly in my budget, so I ultimately feel better when I use up what I have at home.

8. Pricey Underwear

It’s a vicious cycle. I buy expensive underwear, wear said underwear for a few weeks, and it ends up looking nothing like it did when I bought it. Sadly, in my experience, that’s because expensive underwear rips, tears, and wears just as much as non-expensive underwear.

Moral of the story: I should probably stick to affordable options for my day-to-day life.

9. Water Bottles

Unicef / giphy.com

Why, oh why, did I buy water bottles instead of investing in one that I can re-fill whenever I need to? The answer: I honestly don’t know and I’m disappointed in my past self because of it.

Now, I have two refillable bottles – one I keep at home and one I bring to work with me – that have helped me to save so much on my need to drink water. It’s been great (and has even reminded me to stay hydrated).

I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to my bank account. I’m still learning, okay?

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