Fast food or secure finances – the choice is yours!

It’s easy to waste your time and money on the latest fads and trends, but don’t buy into the latest hype, invest in financial freedom instead.

Fast food – by its very definition it’s supposed to be fast and cheap. Not that the hundreds of people who queued for two hours to buy an In-N-Out burger in Auckland recently seemed aware of the fact. If you value their wait time at the minimum wage ($17.70), the burger fans spent $35.40 in the queue, even before they paid for their Double-Double junk-food fix.

Of course, for most who spent the morning waiting on the sidewalks of Auckland’s trendy Kingsland, it wasn’t just about lunch: it was also about enjoying the buzz created by the pop-up burger restaurant. It’s the same type of marketing hype that has people spending nights sleeping rough for the latest Yeezy sneakers or iPhone.

But when it comes to money, it pays to remember that buying into the hype comes with heavy costs. Financial freedom means taking control of your money and not allowing others to sway your spending.

So, with a tongue pressed slightly into cheek, Canstar offers advice on how to liberate yourself from the bonds of hype and embrace financial freedom.

Draw the line at queuing

Sometimes you have to wait in line: for a bus, at the airport, at the supermarket, bank or post shop. But limit queuing to life’s essentials. Don’t waste life’s precious moments on the chance to purchase non-essentials. You’ll save yourself both time and money.

Remain Grounded

Marketing and advertising are aspirational. Whether you long for beauty, sexiness or social standing, there’s a product that promises to make your dream a reality … but at a cost. It’s good to stare at the stars, but keep your feet grounded in fiscal reality. Long-term financial planning, for example getting your saving accounts in order, will bring you far more happiness than short-term splurges.

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Don’t be a walking advert

Prime advertising space is expensive – whether it’s on a billboard, TV, radio or online. Celebs and influencers are paid a fortune to promote products. Meanwhile most of us are happy to pay extra to wear clothes covered in brand names and logos. Go figure!

Beware of ongoing contracts

Gym memberships, Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services, gaming subscriptions, phone plans, broadband, insurance. Check your bank account – how many standing payments are going out each month? To slow the steady drip, drip, drip of funds, review and revise on a regular basis.

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Your time = your money

Work out the value of your time. Divide your weekly income by the number of hours you work. If there’s work or jobs around your home that it would be more cost efficient to pay somebody else to perform, then pay them.

Embrace FOMO

There’s nothing wrong with missing out on something if you can’t afford it. It’s easy to feel left out and pressured to emulate the glamour portrayed in advertising and social media, but debt isn’t the answer. Personal loans and credit card debt should be limited for use on essentials, not luxuries, and only after thorough homework into the best products to suit your needs.

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Marie Kondo your finances

Ms Kondo has made a lot of money by teaching others how to declutter their homes and lives. Work towards making your own fortune by culling messy superfluous spending from your budget. A full bank balance brings more joy than a cupboard full of junk.

If it ain’t broke …

… don’t feel the need to rush out to buy the latest phone, headphones, laptop, TV, etc. At least let built-in obsolescence do its thing. As the technological advances between each new phone release has narrowed, people are holding on to them longer. Resist the push to continually upgrade your tech and join the moneysaving trend.

Make the most of your money

Even if there’s no cash in your wallet and your bank account is running on the fumes of your last pay cheque, if you’re in KiwiSaver then you’re still a monied investor. Take time to research which scheme you’re in and whether it’s right for you. The decisions you make today will have a big impact on your future financial wellbeing, leaving you set to enjoy steak, rather than burgers, during retirement.

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