Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.
Being loyal, generous and spontaneous are all positive human traits. But if you’re spending more than you need to because you can’t say no, then it could be time to own up to being a money pushover. Get tips on how to stop compromising on your finances and start standing up for yourself.
If you’re shy about coming forward to collect money you’re owed and always the one picking up the tab after a night out with friends, chances are your finances aren’t all they could be. Here are seven ways that generosity and guilt could be sabotaging you and what you can do about it.
Splitting bills isn’t a big deal
When you’re having a great time with friends in a bar, café or restaurant, getting calculators out to decide who owes what can really kill the mood. But putting your hand in your pocket to foot the whole bill isn’t what anyone wants or expects. These days many restaurants have point-of-sale systems to make bill-splitting simple and if they don’t, you can use your own tech to do the heavy lifting. Beemit and Finch are just two of the latest bill-splitting apps aiming to make it easier to share the cost of socialising.
Speak up when plans get expensive
There’s nothing like the fear of missing out on a special event to tempt you to spend more than you can comfortably afford. If the price of plans for a weekend away, night out or family gathering start to mount up, the whole experience can become stressful instead of something you’ll look forward to and enjoy. If you’re finding yourself worried about costs going beyond what you can afford, do everyone a favour by suggesting a reasonable budget and planning your fun within this agreed limit.
Get comfortable with negotiating
When it comes to agreeing on a price for a product or service, don’t be afraid to haggle or shop around. Whether its talking with trades for your home renovations or asking your mobile phone provider for a loyalty discount, there’s no shame in getting the best deal you can instead of settling for the first price you’re offered.
Don’t let loyalty cost you
Sticking with the same mechanic who’s been fixing your car for years could work for you because they offer amazing value and a service that’s second to none. But sometimes it pays to check out the competition for regular services you might be using like hairdressing and beauty or fitness and health. You might find a better provider at a cheaper price, or satisfy yourself that you’ve already found the best of the bunch and should stick with them.
Celebrate on a budget
It’s very easy to go overboard on spending for things like Christmas and weddings. And yet these are the times when family is really the most important thing. Putting yourself, and perhaps other people, under financial pressure by trying to make everything perfect can end up costing you dearly, especially if it means borrowing to boost your budget. Remember that celebrations don’t have to be expensive to feel special and you shouldn’t be the one to bank-roll the whole thing, particularly if it’s going to put your health at risk from the effects of financial stress.
Say no to loans
If you’re someone that’s known for loaning money to family or friends there’s a good chance you’ll be top of the list when someone is looking for extra cash at short notice. This may not be so bad for your finances, unless you find it challenging to ask for the money back. Some of us can’t help but feel confronted or uncomfortable about situations like these. If this sounds like you, aim to get used to saying a friendly but firm ‘no’ to loans in the first place.
Teach kids to be dollar-wise
As a parent, you have a strong instinct to provide for your kids and their needs. When that means saying yes to pretty much everything they ask for, you’re not doing them – or yourself – any favours. Helping your kids recognise that having money means making smart choices about how to spend it is a very important part of their financial education. By being open about your own spending choices, including the ones that involve them you’ll have positive impact on how your kids feel about money and their money behaviours as they start to take responsibility for their own finances.