In my most recent Get Rich Slowly column, I offer five tactics to keep from spending money — but I also offer permission to spend.
“Got the urge to splurge? Use these strategies to fight it (or not)” notes that after months (or years) of budget restriction it’s natural to want to spend money on something that isn’t food or utilities: “Welcome to the cult of the completely human. We’re hunter-gatherers by nature, so it’s natural to be distracted by bright shiny objects.”
What you don’t want? To incur unnecessary debt. However, sometimes it’s really OK to spend. Just do it mindfully, within your budget and using a frugal hack whenever possible.
Meanwhile, over at my day job: I turned my recent encounter with a trio of muggers into an MSN Money column. “The worst part about being robbed” tells you how to do a “wallet audit” and take steps to prevent serious hassles such as fraud and identity theft.
The column includes interviews with financial experts and also with other folks whose wallets were stolen. Some are in potentially a whole lot more trouble than I am, i.e., they had things like Social Security cards and birth certificates on them when they were robbed.
Note: If you carry your Social Security card in your wallet, please take it out and lock it away. Right now. I thought everyone knew this, but on a recent trip I found that a close relative has been carrying his Social in his wallet his whole working life. Yikes.
The article also offers a way to deal with the fact that a Medicare card includes your Social Security number on it. If anyone in your life is on Medicare, please share this information. Seriously: a Social Security number is manna from heaven for an identity thief.
Oh, and there’s a pretty funny coda to the mugging incident. It has something to do with a stolen check. Normally that’s no laughing matter but this time it is. Trust me.