What Are Your Financial Vices?

financial vices

Since we’re placing a strong emphasis on financial literacy this month, I think it’s good to do a little self-checking and talk about financial vices.

You know what I mean: What’s the bad stuff you do that breaks your budget? Is it buying designer shoes? Chugging specialty beer? Playing online poker?

It’s okay; you can share your financial vices with us. We won’t judge you, because you know what? We all have vices.

My Financial Vices

1. Manicures. I have a swanky kit to do my own gel nails (the women will know what this is) but often times I like to go and have them done by someone else solely for the ease of it. It’s a small luxury.

2. Nice bags. I carry around enormous purses. The reason is that I bring a lot of stuff around with me, including my laptop. All my purses are big enough to fit my computer comfortably as well as an entire small country. These bags are all name brands, but that’s because I don’t buy cheap purses. I have some that have lasted 5+ years without any issues. It’s quality over quantity!

3. International travel. I truly love getting out and seeing the world. I’ve been fortunate to see many places through various opportunities, and I hope to continue to seek out new experiences as the years go by.

So, maybe it’s ignorant of me to say, but I feel like it’s okay to have a few financial vices. No one is perfect, and we all have things that we like to splurge on from time to time.

I think the problem comes in when financial vices take over your life or when you fall out of balance in terms of your budget to accommodate them. Also, things like gambling, drinking, and shopping can quickly transform from “a little here and a little there” to full blown addictions that can set your finances and your health back for decades.

Here are some ways to make sure you stay financially savvy all while maintaining a balance.

1. Put the vice in your budget. By having a fun money account, a shopping budget, or a wine budget, you are acknowledging the splurge but setting a limit on it. (Editor’s note – I could not agree more with this. Make it part of your budget so you know how much you’re spending on it and still have fun!)

2. Try not to let others influence you. If you have a friend who loves to shop ’till she drops, try to limit your time spent with her at the mall. Once you hit your max for your shopping budget, you should stop swiping the credit card, no matter how much fun a Saturday afternoon stroll through the mall sounds.

3. Give yourself a break. No one is perfect all the time. If you slip up, forgive yourself, but make sure you don’t make the mistake two months in a row. Financially literacy is all about learning along the way and the concept of “try, try again” applies. No one gets it right the first time, and even some of the most experienced personal finance experts slip up from time to time.


So, now that I’ve shared all of my secret splurges, I want to hear from you. What are your financial vices, and how much do you spend on them each month?

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Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer and blogger. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,

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