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Are you a spending rebel?

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The adolescent or teenage years in human life are marked by rebellious behaviour and a me-against-them mentality.

They are also marked by mood swings which significantly affect behaviour.

Are you behaving like a teenager where the spending of your income is concerned?

Perhaps, like you did with your parents, you have listened to all the good advice about budgeting and how one should save for a rainy day.

However, now that you are living alone with no one to drill you on penny-pinching or rainy-day philosophy, you now spend a disproportionate amount of your funds on the most trendy hang-out spots, and the clothes to go with that lifestyle.

You cannot control the urge to spend your money just the way you 'feel like', notwithstanding that this behaviour is driving you further and further away from your financial goals.

Our word to you today is if you find yourself going through this stage, then you must gracefully accept the truth that you are far from mature when it comes to the matter of spending money.

The mature spender, unlike the 'teen rebel', is able to delay gratification. It is not every pleasure that must be experienced now.

He or she is able to decide to have a once-a-week supper for friends instead of going out every other evening of the week.

Among yourselves as friends, someone could be chosen to do the cooking on a once-per-week basis. Someone else would be assigned to plan the evening's entertainment, which could be Scrabble or a movie that you all could watch.

Mature spending behaviour recognises that you cannot have all the things you want all at once, unless you are truly wealthy.

And, unlike the teen rebel who believes that when everything goes wrong the parents will arrive to rescue him or her, the mature spender takes full responsibility for all spending decisions and their consequences.

The mature spender is also less likely to be affected by peer influences. Just because your best friend has just bought a new car is not a good enough reason to get a new car of your own.

The money experts say that other signs of mature behaviour are:

Putting off purchases until you have money to pay for them; less spending on non-essentials.

Saving money because you don't see a reason to spend it.

Seeking out sales rather than paying full price on clothes, etc; using coupons, and doing chores instead of paying, say, to wash the car or mow the lawn.

Avoiding borrowing to buy goods which are not assets.

The mature spender is also more likely to use cash instead of high-cost credit cards when you will not be able to pay off full balances before interest charges kick in.

Have you decided in which category you fall?