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If Modest Money is about living modestly with your money, what is the exact opposite?
The exact place every reader of financial advice doesn’t want to be: living a life of Immodest Money.
I’m not speaking of the politician or big boss spending money on personal “improprieties.” (Although that person certainly could use some help). What we’re talking about here is personal integrity to ourselves.
What leads to a person living an immodest live? Lack of integrity, consistency, and values to the core.
What leads to a person spending immodest money? Exactly the same thing.
What is Immodest Money? Spending above your means. Spending in ways that aren’t true to yourself. Spending that isn’t going to get you to the modest goals you’re aiming for.
Here are the signs that you may be living immodestly with your money, and what you can do to get better:
1. Living on impulse
What filled your mind’s eye when I mentioned the improprietous politician? You may have pictured a lusty balding white guy hanging out with younger women on a street corner. That archetype is based on people portrayed in the news that have the power and money to live on impulse.
Do you live on impulse? Maybe you’re not buying the “bad” stuff and living a seedy life in an alleyway. But are you sowing bad seeds with your money? Or are you making it grow?
Living and spending on impulse turns into a person spending immodest money. Rather than being reserved and thoughtful with what and how we spend, we pull the trigger quickly on stuff we don’t need, or spending beyond our means.
2. Lack of Plans
An immodest person doesn’t have an aim or vision for themselves. Neither does a person spending immodestly.
If you have money, you can spend it modestly or immodestly. But you’ll rarely live a life of frugality on accident. It happens on purpose-when you have goals.
3. Turning a blind eye to the bills (or the budget)
Do you have a budget?
Do you have open eyes that aren’t afraid to look at bills?
Immodest money is spent because we’re too fearful to really see what our current situation is. If you’re growing further in debt, or at the least not advancing towards a bigger and brighter financial future, it’s probably not because you don’t have smarts. It may be because you don’t allow yourself to take a good hard look and recognize where you’re at.
4. Trying to fill a void
Sometimes people spend immodestly because they’re lacking in some other area in life. Maybe it’s too much spending going out on the weekends. Is it to impress people? Or fill a hole with comfort food or liquid confidence?
Maybe bigger and better possessions foster a greater feeling of identity. A person can spend immodestly (that is, overspend) if they’re stuck in the rat race and feel like they must beat the Joneses.
How Now Shall I Live??
If you want to move from spending immodestly to Modest Money, it’s time to:
A. Check the inventory
What motivates your spending impulses and desires?
B. Take a look at your map
You have some sort of financial map. Maybe it’s tucked away covered in dust and coffee stains. Maybe the map has nearly zero detail. But you’ve got one. Pull it out and fill in the blanks one step at a time.
C. Drop Some Visine In Those Eyes
Eyes sore from looking at gouging bills? Don’t turn away. Look at what’s going out, and know what’s coming in (income!). Match up those numbers and look at your excess each month. What’s the wisest thing to do with excess? That’s where the principles of Modest Money come into play.
What about you? How do you suggest people make the translation from Immodest to Modest Money?