SINGAPORE: “Girl math” is a term used to justify extravagant or unnecessary expenses in a seemingly intricate and often ridiculous way. And doom spending is not just your typical retail therapy; it’s spending money despite economic concerns to deal with stress.
So if “Girl Math” is a light-hearted comedy, “Doom Spending” is a horror film, opined Sarah Green Carmichael on Channel News Asia.
According to a recent Intuit Credit Karma survey, about 27% of Americans admit indulging in Doom Spending.
Interestingly, men seem more inclined towards doom spending, with 33% owning up to it compared to 21% of women, according to the same survey.
But it’s the impact on women that raises concern. Women already face financial challenges, earning less, saving less, and investing less than men on average.
The survey reveals that younger women are more likely to engage in doom spending compared to older generations.
This is particularly worrying given the financial struggles millennials and Gen Z face, highlighted by a rise in credit card and auto loan delinquencies among younger borrowers.
Some argue that with the current state of the economy, global issues like climate change, and ongoing political and social unrest, indulging in a “little luxury” provides immediate fulfilment in an otherwise uncertain world.
However, while it’s true that the cost of living has risen, it’s essential to differentiate between a small indulgence and overspending on items beyond our means.
Consumer economies thrive on the fear of missing out, convincing us that we need the latest products to fit in or feel good about ourselves.
Luxury goods, in particular, play into our need for social acceptance and self-worth, especially when resources feel scarce.
Does self-care justify doom spending?
Marketing tactics target women, who often control household spending, with messages of self-care and empowerment, albeit sometimes leading to overspending.
Doom spending sends a different message, one of despair and resignation. It’s a dangerous cycle that can lead to financial hardship, particularly for young women already facing debt and financial instability.
A 2022 report found that a significant percentage of young women have delayed major life milestones due to debt, indicating a need for better financial management and planning.
Real self-care isn’t about splurging recklessly; it’s about creating and sticking to a budget, even if the traditional rules don’t always apply.
While housing, food, and transportation expenses may consume a significant portion of income, saving should still be a priority, even if it’s a small percentage.
It’s about finding a balance between enjoying life’s pleasures and securing our financial future.
There’s nothing wrong with a little “girl math” spending here and there, but if it eventually leads to doom spending, then it becomes a serious problem.
Take good care of your spending habits and prioritise financial stability to avoid the pitfalls of doom spending and build a brighter future for yourself. /TISG