broken-piggy-bankI pulled up to the drive-through window of my favorite fast food restaurant and ordered the meal that I always get. When I drove around to pay, the cashier said hi and mentioned that she hadn’t seen me there in a while. I obviously go there too often.

I also find myself getting a little upset when people oust me on Foursquare as a mayor of any one of my favorite restaurants. It irks me. I’m mayor of several, and I feel a sense of competition when someone steals the title.

There is a telling pattern in this that may mean I have a spending problem. There are other clues, of course. Here are some signs that we may not even recognize as clues that we are potentially overspending.

Real Life Feels Like A “Cheers” Episode

It is a bad sign when a sales clerk knows your name. I used to think that it was cool that my local bartender knew my name. Like Norm on “Cheers,” it feels great when people know you.

The problem is that you have to go to a bar or a store a long time for someone to know you. It’s a clear warning sign and a clue that you may be spending too much time and money in an establishment.

Even though the cashier didn’t know my name at the fast food restaurant, that she recognized me meant I had been going there too much. My wallet and my midsection were taking the brunt of ordering the same meal, week in and week out.
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The bank of mom and dadIf you are in your teens or early twenties, you know that Mom and Dad won’t be there to provide for you forever. You may be just starting to earn your own money from odd jobs and be a long way off from achieving a full financial independence from your parents, but you can start with not asking them for money every time you want to go out with your friends. If you want to go for a drive around town, fill up the car with your own money, or walk instead. It’s time to start standing up on your own, beginning with closing your account at the Bank of Mom and Dad.

Financial dependence and today’s generation

More and more young adults are having difficulty becoming financially independent from their parents, not because of the lack of motivation but because of a number of factors such as poor job prospects and the escalating costs of education. Some young people also have a poor understanding of basic finance and lack budgeting skills, as they have become used to their parents handing them money for every need or want.

And while parents may have taught their children the value of money and the basics of budgeting, young adults may still have a difficult time going out on their own into the “real world,” considering the state of the economy and rising prices of rent and utilities.

Hand-outs from parents

Parents, caring as they are, would still insist on handing their young ones a little bit of extra cash, especially when they see their children struggling with the independent life. Ideally young adults should be responsible for all their personal expenses on their own and not receive monthly stipends from parents, but in real life that seldom happens.

For instance, you may already have a decent job but your income does not seem to cover the monthly rent, your food, and other things you spend on. Is your income really the problem, or your spending?
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