• Harry N. Stout

188- Watch Out for Your Stimulus Spending High


We have all experienced it one time or another in our lives. The joy of eating six Oreos or a quart of ice cream in one sitting. The sugar high is the feeling we get after gorging ourselves on a tasty treat. Unfortunately, that feeling passes a short time later and we are back to reality. The same thing is about to come about in our financial lives. With many of us getting stimulus payments and many of the pandemic restrictions being lifted, we can now feast on the spending we have been unable to do the last year. We need to refresh wardrobes, make up for all the dining and entertainment we have missed or travel to the location we had planned before the pandemic impacted us all. Well, in this post I am writing to warn you against the upcoming spending sugar high we could experience. We need to learn about spending from what we have just experienced and make careful, mindful decisions about how to spend our money.


Mindful Spending

Just like you, I have this need to go out and spend on what I have missed this last year. This past week I did just that. I bought some new clothes, looked at upgrading my sports equipment and booked a long delayed vacation with my youngest daughter for later in the year when we are all vaccinated. As I made these decisions, however, a new reality hit me. I was very mindful to only spend on items I really needed, wanted and would enjoy. I put items back on the shelves and pulled some out of my online shopping cart. I think you might want to do the same.


Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one's attention to the present moment, a skill one develops through experience, careful thought and training. Mindfulness came to our culture from Buddhist traditions. When it comes to money mindfulness, you need to make present-day decisions understanding your financial situation and with your financial goals in mind. It would be easy to simply spend your stimulus check on fun, but that fun does not reduce the over 15% you are spending each month on interest on your credit card balance nor does it increase the amount in your emergency fund for the next round of unexpected life events that will inevitably happen.


We did not plan for the pandemic to happen nor are we planning for a new virus variant to develop that is resistant to the recently developed vaccines. You have to spend with your end goals and long term in mind.


I have written in my posts on the need for a personal financial safety net, which includes having a fully funded emergency fund. Please go to Moneysavers Post 129 to see the elements that you should consider.


Summary

We all have been spending restricted for the last year. For many of us this has seen us pay down our credit card balances, increase the amount in our emergency funds or add to our investments for the long term. Most of us will be benefiting from the recently enacted American Rescue Act of 2021, with its payments for a variety of family and employment-related matters.


Given the uncertainty we have all experienced relating to the pandemic, it would be a great idea to carefully monitor and control your household’s spending and not let it get out of control. Continuing to add to your emergency funds, accelerating debt repayments or adding to investments will improve your financial security. Don’t let the stimulus sugar high get you.

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