Once you’ve landed your first “real” job, it’s naturally tempting to spend your hard earned money. Maybe you have your eye on that pair of Brunello Cucinelli leather sneakers or want to upgrade your liquor cabinet with some high-end scotch and bourbon. While a few “luxury” purchases never hurt any guy with a good paying job, it’s really easy to get out of hand and adopt some bad spending habits.
Are You a Bad Spender?
Just because you have a weakness for a pair of finely crafted footwear, doesn’t automatically make you a “bad spender”. There are men who are good with money and those who aren’t. Here are some signs that you may be less-than-responsible with your money:
- You Always Pick Up the Tab
If you always pick up the tab, you’re either a really nice guy or you’re trying to be noticed or impress others.
- You Love a Good Bargain
Maybe you base your spending on a good bargain (and really, who doesn’t love a good deal?), but if you’re filling your apartment with a bunch of stuff you don’t really need, simply because it was a “good deal”, you’re probably not being good with your money.
- You Spend All Your Money (Quickly)
It’s Friday, your paycheck is in the bank. Maybe you go out for sushi and drinks with friends, head to a Saturday game, grab some groceries at Whole Foods, and buy yourself some new threads. After paying rent and some other bills, you’re back to using your credit card until the next check comes rolling in.
If any of these spending habits describe you and your relationship with money, it may be a good time to re-evaluate, think about your financial future, and give your wallet a break.
Figure Out a Monthly Budget
If you are in the dark about your monthly expenses, it’s time to sit down and figure it out. Take a night off, pour yourself a drink, and write down all of your expenses, such as student loans, rent, car payments, clothing, food, and all the “extras”. Once you get the grand total, it’s time to start making cuts and see what you can ditch (at least temporarily) until you get your finances in order and even stash some away in savings.
When you’ve got a good thing going, it’s hard to make some major changes. While cutting back on some of your favorite things may feel like a punch to you-know-where, you’ll be on the road to becoming more financially responsible. You know what’s great about being good with your money? Many women think it’s hot. Research suggests that 3 in 4 women rate being good with money is more attractive than appearance, education, or background. So throw away everything you thought was true about being a “Big Spender” and start making cuts.
Don’t know where to start making cuts? Here are some ideas:
- Stop Dining Out
Grabbing a burger with the guys every now and then is fine, but if your fridge and cupboards are bare, it means you dine out or do take out way too often. If you don’t know how to cook or don’t like to, learn how (and learn to like it). Bonus: Knowing your way around the kitchen can make you quite the “catch”.
- Give Your Credit Card a Break
Credit cards come in handy and are more convenient than cash, but using a credit card too often is also a quick way to build up your debt. Use your card for emergencies and try to pay it off before you use it again. If you’re in a relationship and are thinking about making it serious, get rid of your credit card debt.
Credit card debt is more prevalent than other types (such as medical or loans) brought into a relationship. When it comes to credit card debt, 42% of adult men bring said debt into a relationship compared with 29% of women.
- Cancel the Unnecessary Expenses
Do you still have cable tv or pay for numerous streaming or gaming subscriptions? It’s time to take a hard look at these unnecessary expenses and see what you can part with. For example, let’s say you have Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, Sirius XM, EA Now, or Playstation Plus.
You’ve got a lot of entertainment options, but you’re spending way more than you need to. If you’re into gaming with friends maybe you can keep one service and your other friends can keep some others (kind of like service sharing). Decide which other streaming services you use more and ditch the rest. You can always get together with friends and watch the game or the latest series online.
- Rethink the Gym & Car
If you have a gym membership, how often do you use it? If you’re not using it, lose it. Get back to running at the park or finding creative ways to get fit. Same goes for your car. If you rarely drive it because public transportation is more convenient, you’re probably throwing hundreds of dollars away on parking.
- Stick to the Wardrobe Basics
Your workplace may or may not have a dress code. Even if they expect you to dress professionally, you can cut back on your clothing spending without sacrificing your style. Invest in some wardrobe pieces that are sure to be “timeless” and can be worn in the office and on the weekends.
What To Do When You Can’t Spend
If you feel like spending money passes the time or “defines you”, it’s a good thing you made some budget cuts before your spending gets too out of control. So, what do you do, now that you’ve put restrictions on your spending?
- Host a Party
Heading to the bars every weekend can be expensive, but if you host a party every now and then, you can still have a good time without dropping a ton of cash. Better yet? Make it a BYOB party and you can share a little bit of everything.
- Stay Home More
Since you’re already paying rent on a place to live, you may as well enjoy it. Invite the new girl from down the hall over for dinner and a movie or spend an evening cleaning or working on a work project. Not only is financial responsibility attractive, but a man who reads is likely to catch the eye of a smart woman. Get reading.
Volunteering is a perfect way to meet people and do “good” without spending money. Consider volunteering as a dog walker at the local pet shelter or help cook meals at the food center (remember, you’ve got those new culinary skills to use). While volunteerism is impressive, don’t volunteer to merely impress the girl of your dreams; do it because you care about others (not just yourself). You never know, the girl might be won over by your unselfish heart anyway.