I 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.
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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.
Businesses Are Emailing You More Often Than Friends
I probably get more than 100 emails every day. And more than half are from stores or online retailers, bombarding me with deals and coupons.
A daily email from our favorite retail stores is a temptation. A great way to control your spending and beat them at their own game is to get rid of as many temptations as possible. Delete the emails. Unsubscribe from the lists. Purge your newsletter subscriptions.
Will you miss great deals from these companies? Of course. But do you really need these coupons and the temptation to buy something at every turn? You would do far better at looking for online coupons from websites like RetailMeNot and CouponPal when you need to buy something instead of being solicited every day.
Stores Send You Birthday Gifts
I didn’t even know that stores sent birthday and Christmas gifts to their best customers until my wife received a $50 gift card in the mail from Tory Burch. She also told me her best friend received a cashmere blanket last Christmas from Banana Republic. How much do you have to spend in a given year at a store to receive a “free” cashmere blanket?
Stores are doing more than simply tracking purchases and trends with their email lists and loyalty programs. Is this the middle class equivalent to the comps that casinos give to “whale” gamblers?
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Do you have a spending problem? Have you been ignoring the warning signs? Did I miss any?
Want to see other tips on how to recognize if you have a spending problem? Be sure to check out the complete article on AOL Daily Finance.
Note: This article has been reprinted with permission.