Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Are your finances suffering because you can’t resist spending on the latest trends? Here are some tips to help you switch your focus to long-term money goals instead.

According to recent research from Mortgage Choice and Core Data, 35% of Australians give in to the temptation to spend money to keep up appearances. It seems that more than a third of us can’t help but follow the urge to upgrade our current lifestyle, even if that means missing out on important future goals like buying a home. “Although it’s very tempting to keep up with trends, it can be a dangerous strategy to live for today and not have a strategic plan for your longer term financial security,” said Susan Mitchell, Mortgage Choice CEO.” “Worryingly, the research also revealed that 38% of Australians are choosing to forgo buying their own home in order to keep up appearances.”

Break the FOMO habit

When following spending trends has become a habit, it can be a tough one to break. Being so focussed on what you’re missing out on, here and now, often means losing sight of what’s best for you in the longer term. To give yourself a reset, try to get clear on what brings you joy in life right now and what you most look forward to. The buzz you get from a new purchase is likely to be relatively short-lived. Saving for bigger goals, like a holiday, or even your first home, can bring you memories and positive feelings that will last far longer.

Make stress part of the solution

You can also get motivated to change your ways by acknowledging any stress you’re experiencing as a result of your spending habits. Getting spending under control takes time and practice and won’t make all your money worries disappear overnight. But getting to grips with a basic budget, and a plan for clearing debts, will help you feel more in control of your current money situation and bring you greater peace of mind about your financial future.

Get goal-savvy

Getting clear on what your most important financial priorities actually are is just the beginning of working towards achieving them. There are a whole host of techniques you can use to help you set clear, compelling goals and boost your chances of achieving them. From writing goals down to setting frequent milestones for measuring progress, you can use these goal guidelines to set yourself up for success.

Make it a team effort

Recruiting friends to your cause can be one of the best ways to remove the urge to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ in how you spend. If you and your friends are united in taking a more rewarding, long-term approach to spending and saving, this can remove the whole FOMO factor from the equation. And if your circle of friends simply can’t bring themselves to join you on your journey to money wellbeing, there are plenty of online support groups available for sharing budgeting and saving tips and keeping you accountable.  

Ask an expert

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional can be another important ally in your campaign to get more strategic with your spending. Talking about your money concerns and future goals with an expert in supporting people to get their finances on track can really shift your mindset. They can also offer suggestions on simplifying and automating money management to make it easier for you to monitor your spending and only follow the latest trends when you can afford to.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.