FINANCIAL VICES

by Matt B


Look, we all have vices. Many of these vices can tear deeply into one’s finances. I, myself am a smoker. I completely realize the magnitude of how bad this is for both my health and my finances and am SLOWLY trying to beat this vice. Some people gamble, some drink. I actually do both, but not at a detriment to my finances. (Another way of saying that I’m not addicted to either). Some people shop. They always have to buy the newest “thing” or the latest clothes

I used to shop. A lot. I had a collection of DVDs that dwarfed most every other I had seen. I also owned many books. Between DVDs and books alone, I estimate that over the period of 4 years (1998-2002) I spent roughly $6,000.00 (may be an underestimation) on these two items alone. Every Tuesday (the day DVDs are released) I would go to the store after work and purchase the new releases. I bought pretty indiscriminately too, if I thought there was a chance I would like the movie, or had heard good things about it, I would buy it. Books were different. Although I purchased plenty of books, I did not usually just grab any old thing off the shelf.

I did not realize it at the time, but the relatively small purchases I made so regularly were crippling me financially. Man, if I could have that money back right now, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to happily relinquish every DVD and book I’ve ever bought. It is very agonizing to notice or learn things like this in hindsight, but those are the trials and tribulations of being young and stupid. Living in the moment is not always the smartest way to live. The road you are traveling will get very rough if you continue to live this way without considering the future.

There are hundreds of financial vices that people fall victim to. Some give them up altogether and live frugally. Many, like myself, have to control and constantly monitor these expenses to not allow them to get the better of us.

I do not buy DVDs anymore. I actually do not watch movies NEARLY as much as I used to.

I still buy books. Often times I’ll get them used from amazon and save a bunch. Book purchases are not something I consider a “vice” any longer.
-I usually know what I am going to buy if I’m going to a bookstore.
-I no longer go to the bookstore just to browse and find something to read.
-I buy books that will help me. (Whether it is a finance related book, or something educational).
-I now buy only 1 novel a year. I have nothing against novels, but the only author I will not miss a new release from is Chuck Palahniuk. He is a sick man.

Last year, shortly after the purchase of my laptop, I decided to gather all of the DVDs I own, and choose all that I was willing to part with. There were hundreds. I sold a few of them to one of those websites that buys used DVDs. They drastically underpaid me for what I gave them. I also sold a few at a yard sale that we had here at home. Since there wasn’t much traffic at our sale, I didn’t unload the quantity that I had originally hoped. Most of my DVD’s were unloaded at Amazon. Even though I sacrificed some profit due to their commission, Amazon seller accounts are very easy to set up and adjust prices on. They do most of the hard work for you and pay quickly directly into your checking account. I highly recommend selling through them if you are looking for ease of use.

I still have a portly DVD collection, but now that most of the fat has been cut out of it and I’ve made a small percentage of my money back, I don’t miss even 1 disc that I have sold. It is assuredly no longer a vice. Once I get past the smoking, I’ll be out of crutches and further on my way to health and prosperity!!

So, what are your financial vices?

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