Important financial tips confessions of a shopaholic gave us

Last Updated 29 January 2018, 11:00 IST
Remember Rebecca Bloomwood? Yes, the unforgettable character essayed by Isla Fisher in the hilarious movie Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Becky, as she is fondly called in the movie, saunters from one fashion counter to another filling her shopping cart like a maniac on clothes and shoes. It's all rosy until it comes to paying because all of Becky's credit cards are maxed out. So, as one can see, the lady doesn't possess any idea about financial management. She finds herself in so much credit card debt that is out-of-control. This not only affected her job but her relationships as well. Soon she finds herself in a hypocritical position giving financial advice as “The Girl in the Green Scarf” while she follows none of it.
Though the movie is funny, it is daunting in so many ways. It imparts some important lessons on financial management for the young and old alike. So, here are a few takeaways for you from the movie on financial management:

* Don’t give in to your temptations: When you walk into a shopping mall, you are bound to get surrounded with salespersons who would lure you to buy anything and everything under the sun. It is easy to give in to temptations but don’t! Wait for a minute and think if you really need another red scarf or a second of pair of black shoes. Be honest while weighing your options and don’t buy it if you don’t need it. Let better sense prevail.
* Respect your credit card: Yes, one should really respect the financial freedom that comes with a credit card. Keep an account of where and how you are using your credit card. Try not to max it out. Also, make sure that you pay more than the minimum balance due every month. Timely payments towards your credit card will ensure that your credit score remains in good health.
* If you have more than one credit card, keep separate tabs: Keeping accounts is important. If you have more than one credit card, maintain separate tabs to keep the expenditure in check. If you tend to put all of them under a single tab, you might end up getting confused about the amount of money you owe to different banks. Use a diary to draw up separate accounts and maintain them accordingly.
Apply for a credit card that has less credit limit: Compare credit cards before getting one. Spendthrifts are often advised to get credit cards with a lower credit limit. That way, they won’t end up spending more than what they can afford to pay back. It will also help you in keeping mindless spending at bay. In fact, you can also use this credit card to build your credit score.
* Credit cards aren’t magic cards: Most people fall in a debt trap because they don’t use their credit cards as a means of emergency funding. While using a credit card, you must keep it in your mind that you will eventually have to pay what you are spending. Although while using a credit card it feels like someone else is paying off for your luxuries, reality hits when the monthly statement lands in your email. So, don’t part ways with reality while you are swiping your credit card at the counter. Remember, you will eventually have to pay for it.
* Learn to differentiate between cost and worth: Yes, there is a world of difference between these two terms. While buying a particular product, pause and contemplate if the cost of the product is actually worth it. Chalk out your finances before settling with the thought of buying some extremely expensive. If you can’t afford to buy a watch worth Rs.35,000, don’t buy it even if there are four credit cards waiting in your wallet to be swiped for the same.
* Limit your trips to the shopping centres: If you frequent shopping malls and that is landing you in financial hot water, then it’s time you cut down on those trips. Turn your frequent visits into a luxury. In fact, you can treat yourself with a shopping experience each time you reach a personal milestone. For example, if you are trying to get fit, make a trip to the shopping mall as a gift to yourself once you lose 10 kilos.
* Get a new hobby: Honestly, shopping can be a dangerous hobby. Especially, if you aren’t in control of your spending urges. So, find a new hobby that is less expensive but can be equally if not more satisfying. This will not only help you in shifting your focus but will also lead you in saving much more than you can imagine. Try out hobbies like gardening, learning a new instrument or even painting. You will be amazed to see how a new hobby can change your life.
* Try not to stick to be brand-conscious: Unlike Becky, who ‘speaks Prada’, try to find out flea markets in your city. Find out about cheaper shopping options from friends and family. You can also turn to social media or even local newspapers to find out the best flea markets in your city. Take a walk through these markets and you will be in for surprises. Some flea markets offer the best in fashion without burning a hole in your pocket. Check out exhibitions and trunk sales in your area. You never know, you might just end up with some unexpected fashion treasure trove.
While Becky learnt financial management the hard way, she has left important lessons for you to learn. Take a clue!  
(Published 29 January 2018, 06:46 IST)

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