Staying in control of your spending especially when temptation beckons entails spending money wisely. Spending wisely has never been more difficult than during the holiday season or when a celebration is coming up like Christmas, Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. There are temptations everywhere and keeping a clear head is tough. Children expect treats, presents, pocket money and family outings which all involve money.

Do not blame the children for being enthusiastic as adults also have problems controlling themselves. Thoughts of having fun, spending time with family and friends are foremost in the mind. There are also thoughts of buying treats for oneself as a well-deserve reward or present for putting in a whole year of hard work.

When faced with such a situation, a lot of people can’t help throwing caution to the wind and end up spending more than they plan. So, how do you spend money reasonably? How do you set an example for your children to curb spending? After all, it is the time to enjoy and indulge. Seeing other friends having fun without a care in the world makes you want to do the same.

How do you stay on top?

Different people will have different strategies of coping in this kind of situation. Personally, my conscience will keep me in check every time. I have always looked at the bigger picture or in other words, considered the long term consequences. Another way of looking at it is thinking “begin with the end in mind.” Visualize what exactly will make you happy (long term happiness, not temporary happiness) when it comes to your finances.

I am sure you have spent money on something and feeling happy about it but only to regret it later on. I have gone through this many times and relieving the experiences helps to prevent the same bad experience again. I will go ahead and spend money if it does not bother my conscience, knowing I can well afford it.

Spending threshold of pain

If you spend RM100 on a night out, do you feel pain? What about RM200 or even RM300? I am not referring to physical pain but the discomfort you feel when your conscience bothers you.

If you spend RM200 on clothing every month, do you feel pain? What about RM500 or RM1000?

Again, different people will have different reaction. Those who can afford to spend a big amount on a single night out may feel no pain. For those who can ill afford it will need to justify the amount that was spent. If your “spending threshold of pain” is low, then it is easier to avoid the same experience again. If you have conditioned your spending threshold of pain on high, you will most probably not think twice about spending the same big amount of money again and again. You do not feel any regret or maybe just a tiny prick on your conscience.

You may have conditioned yourself to spend various amount of money for example, RM4 for breakfast and RM7 for lunch daily and think nothing of it. Then there is the weekly night out with friends, spending RM100 each time. What about your weekly car fuel expenditure? What about visits to your beauty saloon or hairdresser? Check yourself and see at what level is your “spending threshold of pain.” My level is generally low, which is a good deterrent and prevents me from spending unnecessarily. What about you?

Read other articles by Jacquelyn at on parenting matters and on solving marriage problems.

    7 replies to "Staying in Control of Your Spending"

    • lb1897

      If you don’t know how to spend, you won’t know the value of money.

      So, if you are spending RM100, how are you going to earn back Rm100 or even more? tats wat i always ask myself.

    • Anne

      Hi Dina,

      I would like to know if you are referring to gold bars or gold investment accounts? I understand that the returns for these investment accounts are rather slow and you would need to wait quite a number of years for the price to go up. And also that the investment only provides capital returns but not dividend/interest return.

    • Dina

      Thanks Jacquelyn. I wish I had known the avenues to purchase gold bars & silver bars earlier. But, it is better late than never.

    • jacquelyn

      Two thumbs up for you Dina!

    • Dina

      I am saving in gold bars & silver bars now. Good way not to spend unwisely.

    • Anne

      This is very true and I coming to realise this now. Like everything else, the small things matter most. We do not think much about daily expenditure whcih is relatively small. However these small expenses ultimately snowball into large amounts and we end up scratching our heads at the middle of the month wondering whre the money went to. Personally I have tried budgeting but it does not seem to work at all. Although the budgeting looks controllable on the spreadsheet, when it comes to execution, all rules tend to be broken in the end.

      • jacquelyn

        Hi Anne,

        Budgeting takes some practice. Nobody gets it exactly right all the time. Just don’t give up!

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