What One Teenager Thinks About Your Spending Habits

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” In the spirit of Proustian self-discovery, Head of Marketing Dora asked her 13-year-old son, Jordan, to pen some observations about common ways he thinks adults waste money. What she received was surprisingly pragmatic insight with a few truth bombs thrown in! Read on to see what he had to say.

Buying unnecessary items of food and drink

Buying unnecessary food and drink can consume your money without your knowledge. Whether it is a drink from Starbucks or unfinished dinner going in the bin, all of that can add up. It may not seem like much, but if you spend an extra $20 a week, that’s $80 a month or $960 a year. That’s probably something that you don’t want to pay for. 

New Zealanders waste around 8.6% of their food, and New Zealand households throw away over 150,000 tons of food a year, which amounts to $1.17 billion a year. That money could go to many good causes, but instead, it’s spent on excess food that’s headed for the landfill. Now that’s only one of the many ways people are wasting their money.

Buying expensive clothes and accessories

Buying expensive clothes and accessories is something else that sucks up your money. Essentially, you are just paying for a word on your clothes, to let others know that you are rich. 

There may be something that you think will suit you, and I think it’s fine to buy new clothes once in a while, but spending thousands of dollars on clothes every month isn’t sustainable. One solution to not spending so much money on clothes if you still want them is to buy clothes secondhand, as you could sometimes save hundreds of dollars on a piece of clothing. 

Buying things at full price

Though you may be handling your money well, two things that could save a surprising amount of money are discounts and sales. You might only save 10% on an item, but over time, that adds up. 

Discounts could come in the form of coupons, codes, or being friendly with the store owner, just to name a few examples. Sales usually occur during special events or when a store needs to clear stuff up. For example, I got a new phone on Black Friday (because my current one is about to implode), where there were decent discounts on almost everything I needed. 

Over time, you could save hundreds, even thousands of dollars. One thing you shouldn’t let discounts do is let them encourage you to buy stuff you don’t need, but more on that later.

Buying things you will never use

The final thing that I will tell you about is how buying unnecessary things can suck up a bunch of money. It might be a book that you will never read, or a jigsaw puzzle you like the look of, or even gardening tools that you will keep in storage forever. These are just some of the things that could dramatically increase the money you spend each year.

One technique that many businesses use to get you to buy things is to make it seem like there is a large discount on them, therefore drawing you into buying it as a good deal. If you are thinking about buying something, ask yourself whether you would bring it in your backpack up a mountain, or whether you will use it very often. If the answer is no, then there might not be much point in buying it. 

I think that there are many ways that people waste money, but these are, in my opinion, four of the most common ways people waste money. Hopefully this has helped you realize if you are spending money where you think you could save it.

Jordan is a high school student in Dunedin, New Zealand. He loves writing across a range of genres, from zombie fiction to articles about financial literacy. Outside of school, Jordan is happiest on a cricket field, in a forest photographing fungi or playing video games with his friends and younger brother.  

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