Not Like it Sounds
The components of the word spendthrift (spend & thrift) would seem to imply someone who is thrifty. However the meaning of spendthrift is almost the exact opposite.
A spendthrift is someone who spends their money carelessly – frequently spending well beyond their means with a reckless disregard for their financial situation.
Are You Or Someone You Know A Spendthrift?
As is so often the case, whether or not you view yourself or someone else as a spendthrift can greatly depend on your own spending habits. The more frugal you are – the more likely you are to view someone else’s less-than-frugal ways as signs of a spendthrift. And conversely, the more carefree you are about your own spending, the less likely you are to view someone else as a spendthrift.
Here are some of the behavioural signs that might indicate a tendency to be a spendthrift:
- Can’t/won’t save first and then buy non-essentials
- Finds it very hard/impossible to leave money sitting in a savings account
- Spends on impulse even if the money needs to be spent on necessities like food, rent, payments, etc.
- Resents others for pointing out over spending
- Views spending freely as a ‘right’
Is There a Cure?
You cannot plan on changing someone else’s habits and thinking. Many people’s relationship with money is based on things you and they may never fully understand. People only change when they want to change.
However, if you have identified yourself in any of the above behaviours, and you want to change – then you can take steps to improve your own spending habits.
- At the risk of sounding too 7-steppy – the first step is to admit that you have a problem with spending – and then commit yourself to changing.
- Get a better understanding of your spending habits by keeping a detailed and complete spending journal for at least one month.
- Get a clear idea of where your finances are by going through the budget process. This will help you to detail your money situation, identify areas that need to be improved, and show you a way out of debt.
- Commit yourself to your budget and getting out of debt.
- Stop spending money you do not have.
- Stick with it.
Clearly, if your spending habits are too much for you to handle on your own, get professional help. Speak with your doctor to get a referral to a behavioural specialist.
And of course, if you are too far in debt to ever pay it off on your own, it may be time to speak to a trustee for a complete evaluation of your finances and a review of all your options for getting out of debt. If you live in the Toronto area, you are welcome to call David Sklar & Associates at 416-498-9200 to book a free consultation with one of our licensed, caring professionals.