FOMO. It looks like a dirty word, right? It’s not; well, it is but not in the vulgar manner I thought it probably meant when I first saw it. To be quite honest, the first time I saw the abbreviation FOMO, I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I was entirely certain I did not want to know what it meant! I know, I know. However, I later learned that it means “Fear of missing out,” and that it’s not dirty at all in terms of what I thought it might mean. The fear of missing out is real, even if you didn’t know it until someone came up with the cool ‘text’ lingo for it.
Fear of missing out plagues us all from time to time. I hate when I’m invited to do something that sounds amazing and have to miss out due to other commitments, but I get it. I mean, it’s no fun in the least, but it’s understandable. I cannot possibly go on every single vacation, to every single event, to every single birthday party or to every single movie or dinner or lunch that ever was. I still have to do things like sleep and take care of my kids since apparently they don’t take care of themselves (we should really work on that!).
While I really don’t like missing out on fun things, I have realized that as I get older, sometimes missing out is more fun than actually attending. Yes, that dinner sounds like fun but it begins at 8 pm and we like to be in bed by 10, so it won’t work for us. I’ve realized that I need my sleep, I need rest, and with our kids’ hectic schedules, we sometimes need to just say NO and spend time at home where we can rest. I guess this means the actual fear of missing out does not plague me so much as just the general desire to want to have fun with all our friends and family while somehow doing it from home, on the couch, in my pajamas with a glass of wine and an early bedtime. Priorities, right?
Back to the point; the FOMO is real and it’s causing people to ruin themselves financially. You might not realize it because it’s not the same thing as Keeping Up with the Jones’, but its close. Read on to find out how it’s ruining your life financially. Maybe that will help you understand you have to stop the FOMO cycle.
You buy things you don’t need
Here’s where the Jones’ come into play. You might not buy a boat so that you can keep up with everyone else who has one in your life, but do you really need one? Do you really want a boat and can you really afford a boat, or are you just afraid of missing out on boat days and fun because you don’t have one? Do you just want one because everyone else has one and you feel as if you are missing out? That’s not a good reason to buy something you don’t need.
Let me provide you with an example. My husband and I have a pretty sweet golf cart. All our friends have gotten rid of theirs and bought really sweet Rangers. They hunt. We don’t. We can afford one, but we haven’t purchased one because we have no need for one. We don’t feel that we are missing out on anything since they hunt and it’s not for us, but we also don’t feel the need to buy something just because everyone else has it. Try to apply that to your own personal life.
You go places you shouldn’t go
Every year we plan a super amazing vacation within our group of friends that includes all the kids, and one that does not include the kids. We just returned from the one without the kids, and it was amazing. However, some of our friends declined to go on the principal that spending $5,000 on a long weekend away was a bit too much for their comfort when they have a few weekend getaways planned already and they want to buy a new house in the near future.
They did the responsible thing. The FOMO was ignored and they made a wise choice with their level of financial comfort. Had they gone with us, they would have had a blast. However, they would also have had to cancel some of their other plans, stretch their finances or even worry; all so that they didn’t have to miss out.
You become stressed
When you fear missing out on things in your life, you tend to become more stressed out than ever before. The fear of missing out causes you to stress about things out of your control, such as your financial situation and your inability to turn down going places, buying things or missing out because of your finances. When you make poor financial decisions, you stress. When you stress, you make poor decisions. When you are stressed by your poor decisions, you probably make it a point to find a way to relax. Perhaps you go to the spa. Perhaps you are an emotional shopper. Whatever it is, you probably provide yourself with more financial stress doing this. It’s a never-ending cycle.
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