You’ve been eyeing up a certain something online for a while now – maybe it’s a nice pair of shoes or phone. It’s just more than you can sensibly afford and you know you don’t strictly need it, so you’ve been good and held off. But then you check on it again and see “Only one left in stock!” and the next thing you know, your credit card is in your hand and you’re punching those digits into the checkout screen.
If you’re struggling with an apprehension that others are having more rewarding experiences than you, you’re not alone. In fact, almost a quarter of Australian adults experience FOMO, according to the Australian Psychological Society’s Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015. This negative emotion can affect mental health and influence our spending judgements. In truth, giving in to FOMO is a kind of self-sabotage, because it causes us to impulse buy when we simply don’t stand to benefit from it in the long-run.
So, how can you determine if the fear of missing out is really affecting your spending?
Work room into your budget for your FOMO-driven purchases.
Once you’ve identified how the fear of missing out is holding you back from achieving your financial goals, what are you going to do to change your habits?
Sympathising with your future-self is one strategy. You’re trying to save money for a reason – and that likely comes back to the desire for financial freedom. Rather than enjoying momentary happiness from your FOMO purchase, think about the security and stability you’ll have in the future if you save your money instead.
That said, is it ever really reasonable to suggest that you should be miserable at the moment in the name of chasing a brighter future? Find the middle ground. Workroom into your budget for your FOMO-driven purchases, and then stick to that allowance. This way, you’re letting yourself enjoy the “now” without sacrificing the future.
What you need to know
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