Yolo. It’s the annoying phrase created by today’s pop culture and youth. For all of you lucky folk who haven’t been tormented by the phrase it means ‘you only live once’. Which although true, had created a very sinister and dangerous financial lifestyle for many young people including myself.
I’m going to be talking about my past ‘Yolo’ purchases and how this lifestyle can become extremely dangerous very quickly so much I landed in £7k debt at the age of 20. Although I do make the odd few ‘Yolo’ purchases even now I have massively improved to how I was 3 years ago. Around five million unplanned purchases now take place on an average day, justified with the phrase ‘You Only Live Once’, amounting to more than £167 million spent daily on impulsive buys. It is estimated that 15 million Brits have made a YOLO purchase in 2015 – a figure that has increased by 158% since 2012!
So how did I fall into this trap? Well the only way to explain my thought process during these careless purchases is to explain my situation at the time. I was 18 when I met my ex and we moved in within 6 months, I had just got my full time job at the bank and my life had changed significantly. I felt like I had a purpose in life people were finally proud of me, but more importantly I had never had so much money before. Although the phrase ‘Yolo’ hadn’t been created back 4 years ago, I believe I did follow this lifestyle on many occasions. The first being sofa’s we had some horrible old leather one’s and I wanted brand new grand sofa’s to impress people (god know’s who but I think we all secretly want to impress people with our homes). I didn’t have the cash to pay for the sofa’s at a whopping £2k (this was half price in the DFS sale!), so I made my first credit purchase. £50 a month that’s nothing I said and within half an hour I had taken on £2k worth of debt just to have a fancy living room. I think this resulted as my depression had started to evolve, looking back I believe I did this to prove a point. I felt so crap in my own life with a depressing job and life, I wanted to feel special and treat myself to something extravagant.
Other examples have been takeaway’s god I am awful! I think some of it comes from laziness and the fact I can’t be bothered sometimes to cook after a busy day at work. But again it’s always when I feel down, worthless or just been paid I just think f*** it and order. For me it’s something new, something exciting out of the ordinary. I think because we all live such routined, mundane working lives we need that release, that sense of thrill when making a ‘Yolo’ purchase.
But are the thrills worth it? In my opinion, no. Mine have probably cost me thousands over my youth, even now being a money saving blogger I still do it but I justify it with a big discount or voucher code! I don’t think we can ever stop ourselves or say we don’t deserve these treats but we do need to look at the way in which we spend our money. For me I now never use credit, I have a credit card but it has £100 limit and I don’t know the pin so it is for real emergencies. This means if I do feel in the ‘Yolo’ mood I have to turn to actual money in my bank, I then ask myself do I really need this? I’m sure we are ALL guilty of buying things time and time again we don’t need and this just adds to the problem. I would much rather save up for a big purchase and work my arse off so I can feel proud when I do finally purchase it, rather than putting it on credit, being all happy when it arrives then crying all month because I can’t afford to pay the bills or do anything. We need to break the routine and think of our future finances rather than buying on a whim and feeling awful and regretful afterwards.
While YOLO spending can be a lot of fun – the fun soon wears off for 4 million Brits. One in eight (13%) felt regret and around one in five (17%) later promised themselves never to do it again. Among all YOLO purchases one in six (15%) were not needed or wanted. As a result, one in three (32%) YOLO spenders have had to cut back on other spending after their spur of the moment purchase.
Some scary facts:
- More than five million YOLO purchases made every day
- £167 million spent daily on impulsive ‘You Only Live Once’ items
- One in four (28%) YOLO purchases are bought on credit
This post has been kindly sponsored by The Money Advice Service if you would like to visit them to learn more information and for impartial financial advice you can do so here. Also let me know in the comments below if you make ‘Yolo’ purchases and your thoughts on the matter!