Don’t spend the money you don’t have, to buy the thing you don’t need, to please the people you don’t like!


Do you find yourself spending more than you earn? Yet when you look back, you find that you actually spent that money on something that you could have done without. Worse still, you spent that money on someone you did not necessarily have to please.

How can you avoid spending the money that you do not have, thus reducing incidences of overspending? Read on to find out.

Photo by gwen

10 Examples how you can overspend unnecessarily

A fresh graduate decides to buy an imported Japanese car. As a result, he uses up 50% of his salary for the monthly installments, car maintenance and petrol. He is then left with another 50% for his other commitments and expenses.

1. A fresh graduate decides to buy an imported Japanese car. As a result, he uses up 50% of his salary for the monthly installments, car maintenance and petrol. He is then left with another 50% for his other commitments and expenses.

2. You impulsively swipe your credit card to pay for the latest Apple laptop you always had an eye on. At the end of the month, you find that you are unable to pay the amount due.

3. Your colleague just moved into a semi-detached house. You sold your entire investment portfolio and existing apartment, took up a bigger mortgage to buy the house next to his.

4. An office lady uses her entire month’s salary to buy the Louis Vuitton hand bag, just because her colleague shows off one to her.

5. You want your boy friend to propose only if he presents you with a Tiffany’s ring.

6. A father took up a personal loan of RM10,000 so that he can take his family for a vacation to Australia. Although he did not need to take this holiday given his financial situation, he did so because his neighbour just came back from New Zealand.

7. Have a breast implant to impress the man you are interested in although he is not interested.

8. You bought an expensive set of home theatre system. However, you rarely watch any DVD at home since you are too busy at work. It is just to impress your friends who visit your house.

9. Bought a Rolex watch during your trip to Switzerland just because your boss said that it was a great investment.

10. You spent lots of money on your wedding ceremony and serve the best food, although all your wife wanted was a honeymoon in Europe.

What is the money you don’t have?

  • Credit card – If you can’t afford to pay it in full when the charges is due, it is the “future money”, not “current money” that you already have
  • Mortgage – you use the bank’s money to buy a house and stay in it, as long as you are able to pay it back to the financier.
  • Personal debt – getting a personal loan to spend on something is the stupidest thing to do.
  • Loan shark – those who don’t have credit card, without proper documents to borrow from banks will look for “favours” from loan shark.
  • Easy installment plan to purchase consumer product

What are the things that you don’t necessarily need?

Car, a plush house, gadgets and other things that do not fall within your budget. The rule of thumb is to spend less than one third of your income on these items.

Who are the people you don’t like?

  • Friends, colleagues and relatives who like to show off,
  • those who look down on you,
  • those who slap you on the back.

You can have a thousand reasons to hate and dislike somebody, but you don’t have to hurt your wallet.

Have you ever done something like that?

We sometimes, unknowingly, spend money on instant gratification, only to regret much later. We sometimes also give in to our temptations to buy things that we don’t have much use for or things that are impractical.

The next time, before you decide to blow your cash on something, try to think about how many hours of toiling at work that money equates to. This does not mean you need to stinge on everything that you wish to buy. Only buy something if you really need it.

Although this may sound like easy advice, we always end up faltering. We spend more than that we can earn and in the end, find ourselves struggling to make ends meet.

Have a comment on how you can save money and resist the temptation to overspend? Do share your views with us.

About The Author


personal finance author and trainer



    Reply Reply February 12, 2008

    The longest title that I like the most!

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply February 12, 2008

      yeah.. I heard this phrase from my senior. It is a great title indeed.

  • UrbanFrugal

    Reply Reply February 12, 2008

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to splurge and buy something nice for yourself or your family but you need to make sure you can afford it.

    If you can’t pay for the bill when it comes then you can’t afford it. Although if you save up for it, it will be sweeter and you will enjoy your purchase more.

    When you have a good relationship with money and think about things before you buy them you will make fewer mistakes and buy less. The things that you do buy will be of greater importance to you because you didn’t buy them on impulse.

  • Tabuxander

    Reply Reply February 14, 2008

    woww. I really agree with you.I got friends who buy expensive sport rims for his car just because other friends make fun of his old rims.

    Don’t ever fall into debt just to please everyone else.

    Thanks. nice article.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply October 12, 2008

    This was the kick in the pants I needed. Thanks. I don't need that $2000 dollar computer I don't have the money to buy.

  • Chloe

    Reply Reply August 25, 2009

    I had a dilemma on this. I like travelling and I can afford to go. But it is not a necessecity. So, am I spending money on the unnecessary things??? ??

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply August 26, 2009

      Hi Chloe,

      We all have different priorities in life. If you think traveling is something enjoyable and beneficial to you, it is definitely not a waste.

  • Richard

    Reply Reply July 17, 2010

    The People Next Door

    It seems easy to understand why the people next door drive a car that must be 14 years old, dress quite plainly and don’t much if anything on landscaping. He is a sell-employed carpenter and she is an assistant in a doctor’s office. Neither has a college education. But, each of their three children went to an Ivy League undergraduate college and then on to an Ivy League business, medical and law school. One of the children mentioned to you how grateful they were to have left school without a cent of debt. When you’ve spoken with either of the parents over the years, they’ve never complained about their children’s educational expenses or indeed about anything to do with money. How can this be? Their combined incomes can’t be over $100,000, yet it seems they may have paid over a half million dollars in educational expense for their children. Your annual household income is $250,000 but you live paycheck to paycheck.

    The main difference between you and your neighbors is that they are sitting on a stock portfolio worth $4 million, throwing off more than $120,000 per year in dividend income. You couldn’t raise $10,000 if you had a month to do it. How in God’s name did this come to be? Neither of the neighbors inherited anything.

    Here’s what happened. In the early 1970’s, when your neighbors and you were in the early 20’s, they realized they would probably not make great incomes so they decided to live beneath their means, utterly to ignore advertising, to buy used cars, stay out of bar rooms, restaurants and malls, and to invest what little they could spare in the stocks of companies that sold things to other people, such as you.

    They bought shares in what was then Philip Morris, and of Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, GE, Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, William Wrigley, and Abbott Laboratories. They got into Microsoft in the late 1980’s at 10 cents per share. They had the broker deliver the shares to them so that they could reinvest the dividends and buy more shares without paying brokerage commissions. Over a period of some 35 years, your neighbors invested maybe $200,000 of their own savings plus all the dividend income. While you were going through your considerable income buying new cars, running up big credit card balances shopping at Burberry’s, Barney’s and Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomindales, eating out 5 times a week, ordering drinks made with premium priced liquor and leaving money on the tables of Indian-run casinos, your neighbors were reserving against their future obligations and for a time when they might not want or indeed be able to work. While you were unable to separate your wants from your needs, your less well educated neighbors had no trouble doing that for themselves. The result is that capitalism turned your income into your neighbors’ principal. One not so small consequence was that their children could apply to Stanford, Princeton and the University of Chicago without requesting a cent of financial aid. If you don’t think that sways the minds of top college admission committee members, think again.

    Now, your neighbors love their jobs, in large part because they know they don’t need them and could cease working on any given day. You and your spouse hate your jobs because you know you have to keep them and maybe to work until you are 70 or older. You might want to continue to be most cordial to your neighbors’ children. When you end up looking for a job, one of them might give you a reference.

    Oh, wait…you suddenly awaken from the horror of this wretched scenario and discover it was but a dream and a nightmare at that. You are still only 28 and what has been written above is but one possible outcome. Fortune has favored you and given you a second chance. If you are comfortable with the future outlined above, keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get it. Keep spending all your income on consumer junk and trying to live as if you were a person with money and be sure to plan to work for a high school kid when you are 70, maybe parking cars.

    If, on the other hand, you want to be able to live more or less without financial worry, curb your spending now and begin investing. Sure, driving a flashy car, having $50 lunches and $100 dinners, drinking martinis made with Grey Goose vodka and buying $500 Jimmy Chu shoes seems stunningly enjoyable now, but, I assure you, it won’t come up to having $4 million when you are 60.

  • Keith

    Reply Reply July 18, 2012

    Sometimes you have to know when to spend the money and when not to spend the money! You can’t buy everything all the time just because you see it and that everyone else has it! And times are hard and tough! Save a little sometimes!

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