The Opposite Of Irresponsible Spending Is Responsible (and wise) Spending

I covered about irresponsible spending in this article, where I shared about how irresponsible spending leads to a very vicious cycle of debt and financial pain.

I laid out the fundamentals of responsible spending in assets pay for liabilities, luxuries and lifestyle expenses.

Let's dive a bit deeper.

Responsible spending, in my opinion, is about:

being prudent about incomes and expenses, and applying wisdom to investing and managing expenses over time

Put into action, responsible spending includes:

  1. saving as much as humanly possible by aggressively cutting unnecessary expenses
  2. investing as much as possible into very stable and defensive dividend stocks or indices
  3. offsetting costs by researching and planning medium-large ticket purchases in advance
  4. budgeting "stupid money"

#1 saving as much as humanly possible by aggressively cutting unnecessary expenses

Human beings can be very interesting. The phrase that I refer to is how:

"we can try to impress others by spending money on things we don't care about/short term...for people who don't care anyway."

or "we need to spend X money on food/holiday/Y items cos we earned it/we worked so hard/we need to forget out pains"

I've seen this play out so many times, I want to say it's cliche.

But it's human nature, especially when one is stuck in a specific mindset and behavioral pattern.

If you are there, this is what which needs to be done:

  • ruthless and aggressive decision making to cull unnecessary expenses especially on things that one don't care about
  • sell off all the stuff that you don't use and use that to pay back all/any debts
  • start paying back as much as possible
  • move closer to work places and where you frequent, so that you don't have to take so much time and money to travel (cutting the need to buy cars or taking long commutes). Best is to walk to work and back - you get good exercise too.

On top of that, set aside 5-15% of income aside for #2 below.

#2 investing as much as possible into very stable and defensive dividend stocks or indices

Regardless of how much you make and how much debt you have...I highly recommend that you set aside 5-15% of your income to put into highly stable and defensive dividend stocks.

The reasons why I say this is because:

  1. I want you to make it a habit to regularly stash 5-15% and invest this amount
  2. I want you to have the joy of seeing and receiving passive income from dividends
  3. I want you to have the joy of being ABLE TO CHOOSE if you'd want to use the dividends to pay down debt, reinvest them or put some of that to #4

It will be hard especially if you have debts, because debts are URGENT, with some elements of importance.

But building streams of passive dividend incomes IS IMPORTANT.

#3 offsetting costs by researching and planning medium-large ticket purchases in advance

This is smart and wise spending.

If you have to spend, might as well spend it wisely. Other than spending money on #2, you can also choose to spend money on medium to large ticket purchases, and when you research and spend time to understand - this is where you can save BIG.

This is more of a "working model", and applicable to instances such as

  • planning your trips at least 3-6 months in advance, so that you can take leaves to travel during low peak where travels and accommodations tend to be cheaper
  • if you're planning to buy a larger item such as phone, personal computer/laptop, household appliance - first ensure that the old one is not usable/fixable first, then only consider buying a new one. But even then, you research to find the best-value ones within a budget

And so on. Basically, plan your spending.

#4 budgeting "stupid money"

I have a small budget of 5% or $2000, which I allow for fun, and stupid experiments. This is where it's guilt-free, and tends to be taken from my passive income.

I realize I need to have creative avenues to test stupid ideas, make some silly choices and just to have fun (I do not want to purposely waste money, but I realize sometimes my curiousity really piques me, so I budget for such events in advance).

An example of this is carving out this budget so that:

  • I can "play" with high-risk low-cap cryptocurrency and penny stocks that I'm interested and intrigued with
  • I can buy a $600 DNA test kit to find out a little bit more bout myself (share more in another post)
  • I can buy a book, a game, whatever that is within the allocated "stupid money" budget - without guilt

(Note: I say "guilt-free" but sometimes, there ARE some guilt, because...it's fun).

This is part of my personality and characteristics, so I factored that into my budget.

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