Recently I've been doing some research for an upcoming speech and came across a great book: Bright-Sided. It is a book by an author I admire very much, Barbara Ehrinreich. She wrote Nickel and Dimed, a piece where she took on the persona of a laborer in different parts of the country doing different types of menial jobs. Nickel and Dimed is a fascinating read as the author attempts to match income from menial work to her housing expense, nothing else, and realized how difficult it is to even cover just that one expense.

In Bright-Sided her premise is how we Americans are overly optimistic and how ironically this is crippling our well-being. Everywhere we go we're bombarded by how well things are going to turn out. Remember the song from the eighties, Don't Worry, Be Happy? Oh yeah, my best friend just got njured in a car wreck, my dog died and my electricity bill just came and it's double what it normally is. But...don't worry, be happy. Yeah, right!

I think the same can be said for some of our "friends." Let's say you're at the mall with your friend and you see that watch you've always wanted. You're with your best friend, the eternal optimist, and they say, "I know you don't have the money, but you deserve it, you should buy it. Everything will be okay." That's the same friend that will tell you not to worry about driving 20 miles over the speed a school zone.

Don't succumb. This will be detrimental to your finances, not only at the time your friend is with you, but also in the future; you'll think, the next time you test drive a new BMW, well, John gave me permission to buy that watch, he'd probably give me permission to buy this BMW. Turn the table around; tell your friend you would like them to be your conscious and to help you from overindulging.

Do you really need permission to buy something you know you really cannot afford? 

CategoriesCredit & Debt