Top 15 Blog Challenge: Dan Olsen

Editors note: We asked each of our Top 15 to tell us a story about a money-related blunder that they've made.

I Think I Blew it…

There is nothing like getting a check from your place of employment and having it be more than what you expected. Some of you may be responsible and save that money in a bank account or set it aside for later, but if you are anything like how I used to be you probably said “Yay, extra money!” I can recall one time last year where I picked up a ton of extra hours and ended up getting a fat check of $400, and what was the first thing I did? You guessed it, I blew it. I spent it on new shoes, new clothes, and going out to eat; I spent it on things I wanted but didn’t really need. I guess you could call me an impulse shopper, but don’t worry I’ve gotten better about that since my days as a freshman in college. Here are some key things to watch out for when you get that next fat check, they may help you reduce the urge to splurge so you don’t end up like me after getting the check, broke and borrowing money from mommy and daddy.

1.) Ignore Sales Signs
These signs are one of the first things consumers see when walking buy a store, and quite frankly it is a great promotional tactic. This is how they pull the impulse buyer (you) in, you see that sign and marked down prices and think you are getting a deal so you’re going to spend your disposable income.

2.) Wants Vs. Needs
Know your necessities, do you need those new jeans or do you just want them to make an outfit so you can go out and look good with your friends tonight? It’s OK to buy a few extra things but make sure you have your needs down first. Buy your essentials like food for your living space, bathroom necessities, etc. then set aside a certain amount for each check that you want to have as splurge money. After that put the rest of your money into your savings account!

3.) Keep Your Emotion in Check
Yes, I know this sounds weird but a lot of 18-25 year olds state that they buy because they are depressed or stressed or just because they are bored. Make sure you take a look at what emotional state you are in before you decide to go for a stroll to the mall or down a local street that the stores just magically call out your name.

I look back now on that experience and think “how stupid am I,” all of that money that I made could have banked for something I actually needed, like gas or a new computer, or even saved for when I leave Michigan State. This financial muddle has to be the worst thus far in my life, and hopefully from sharing this experience with you, I will help you keep your finances in check and think before you splurge.

Until Next Time Guys!
Dan