Life is full of sudden changes, slow changes, and ups and downs. Anytime we get off-balance, sometimes that's when our spending gets out of control, or maybe our thought process isn't the most rational.
So today I wanted to tell you of a few times when you might want to avoid making big purchases.
1. Graduating from college
Now I don't know about you, but when I graduated from college and got my first adult job, I felt like the richest woman in America.
Here's the thing: When you graduate from college and you get your first real job, you're not going to be making a whole lot of money. I know a lot of you can attest to that. But in my situation, I had gone from being a super broke college student with $1.27 in her checking account to making $30,000 a year -- which is not a lot of money, but to me, it felt like so much. I hear that from a lot of people, that when they graduated from college, they felt so rich, finally, when they got their first paycheck.
Now is not the time to buy a new car. It is not the time to buy a house. It is not the time to buy all new furniture for your apartment.
It's the time to learn how to budget (if you haven't already), to live very simply, and to start paying off those student loans. You have the rest of your life to buy a West Elm sofa; you don't need one right now. Just continue to use your parents' old crappy couch and save up your money.
2. When moving to a new city
There's something so exciting and almost magical about moving to a new place and experiencing all the sights and sounds and restaurants and the nightlife and all the different things that that city has to offer. That's great. But this is not a vacation. This is your life.
Don't suffer from FOMO when you move to a new city. Those things that you want to see are still going to be there. So ease into it, take your time, maybe pick one thing a month that you're going to do. Don't go crazy..
3. During a breakup or divorce
The temptation is high to self-soothe, to come up with ways to make yourself feel better, to get back out there.
This is also a very emotional time, and a time where you maybe need to focus on self-care and healing. You can definitely do those things on a budget, so just keep that in mind. Are you spending money to make yourself feel better or to prove a point? Are you buying something that you really need?
4. When grieving
I will be honest about this. When I had my miscarriage two years ago, not only did I miscarry, but almost as soon as it happened, a few days later, my husband had to leave town for five weeks. I was going through this really emotional, horrible experience, and I was going through it alone while caring for a two-year old and a four-year old.
I sought comfort at Target. A lot.
We did not go back into debt. We did not rack up a bunch of credit cards. But I did spend way outside of our budget. And we had to get back on track. Unfortunately, it took us a little while to get back on track because it was, like, I flipped the spending switch and I couldn't flip it off.
We have gone through so much grief together, my husband and I. We have lost a good friend, we have lost a parent, we have lost a baby through miscarriage. I can tell you that if you're not careful and you don't stay on top of your feelings, that grief can be a real spending trigger.
So when you're going through an emotional time, when you're processing a loss, when you're saying goodbye to a person that was there and now suddenly isn't -- that's not the time to be making big financial choices.
5. Losing your job
Okay, so you lost your job. You probably don't have an income stream to replace it. Hopefully, you have that 3-6 month emergency fund in place. But if you don't, now is the time where you really have to get -- as my friend Budget Girl says -- "scorched earth" on your budget. You can't continue spending the way that you did before you lost your job.
Obviously, a job loss is not the time to go car shopping or even shoe shopping. Don't self-soothe by spending money.
6. After you have had a baby
This last one may seem a bit silly, but I am speaking from experience three times.
Now I don't know about y'all, but after I have a baby, my brain turns into foggy, jello mush. I cannot form coherent thoughts and sentences for days after I've had a baby. My logical skills are not at their sharpest. I am a smart and educated woman, but something happens to my brain in the two months after I've had a baby.
Unfortunately, that's also paired with the time where I am up in the middle of the night, nursing a baby, looking at my phone, looking at Amazon on my phone. Yes, I had to turn off the Wi-Fi on my phone at night just so I wouldn't be perusing the internet.
The temptation to spend after you've had a baby is really high. There are cute clothes and there's that really great blanket that you saw in a Facebook ad that is targeting you.
Also, I've had three babies at two separate hospitals. Let me tell you what makes me mad: when they send those photographers to your room to take your baby's pictures and then ask you to pay them $165. I thought they're taking advantage of people -- you're in a very emotional state plus you're sore because you just pushed a human out of your body.