WHO MOVED MY MONEY?
The biggest consumer holiday in the world, known as Black Friday, is coming soon. Just 13 years ago, people used to say that people, who spend the night waiting in a line for a store to open are crazily prudent, while now people say they are just crazy. The chaos on Black Friday has already caused 12 deaths and 117 injuries by 2018. Shoppers get jammed into stores and trampled in stampede, crash due to sleep-driving after spending day and night waiting for a mart to open and a number of mall shootings. The indulgence of shopping on Black Friday and in subsequent weeks, causes many buyers to overspend, a common aspect of our present-day society.
Sure, overspending does not seem such a problem to a stably employed ordinary consumer. “I earn money, I can spend it,” they say. It sounds reasonable, but spending over-budget has become a common problem among students. Not knowing where the money goes combined with long-awaited freedom, makes students go off the rails, making crazy and sometimes unreasonable, irresponsible spending decisions.
“One time when I was a student living on a budget in the Philippines, I spent all my money on going out and partying and my parents refused to send any more money. I had nothing but beer in my fridge and so I starved for 3 days. I learned a big lesson that time,” tells Joris Speelberg, a student of JBNU’s Jimmy Carter School of International Studies.
Nights out, eating out to avoid school cafeteria food, and buying the newest model phone as soon as it comes out; the list goes on, turning overspending into not just a daily habit, but a new kind of not-withinbudget-lifestyle.
“Globally the environmental problem of overspending is serious. At a personal level, overspending beyond your financial capacity leads to bankruptcy. From a social perspective, it makes society excessively materialistic,” shares Professor Kang Jun-man, in the Department of Journalism and Communications.
Encouraged by YOLO-type thinking, a careless person ends up in debt, owing money. This debt gets covered up by another "loan," creating yet another debt, and so begins a vicious cycle of financial debt. It is worth noting that the situation does not differ much whether a student lives on an allowance or on income from a part-time job. Sometimes, the idea of having a job and earned money gives the person a false sense of having money to spend, financial stability. This can then cause more careless and dangerous purchasing habits to form. Let’s change the subject. Why do people overspend anyway? If we purchased only cheap things that we need or are absolutely necessarily, we wouldn’t have to worry about overspending at all! What leads us to overspending? The reason is ‘FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect’. Before the development of SNS, it meant a marketing strategy which used consumers’ fear. The human mind tends to easily understand phrases such as ‘about to be sold out!’ or ‘limited edition!’ and gets highly excited about any kinds of discounts. Nowadays however, this phenomenon also contains an obsession which makes modern people constantly observe others’ behavior. It also can be explained by the socalled ‘Neighbor Effect’. Just as literary critic H.L. Mencken once said: “A wealthy man is one who earns $100 a year more than his wife’s sister’s husband,” people tend to compare themselves not by absolute but by relative standards. This makes people more and more compulsive to others’ living standards and lifestyles.
Furthermore, overspending by ordinary people is not the same in comparison to overspending of university students. According to research carried out by ‘20s Lab’, which is a research establishment of 20’s marketing and solution company ‘Daehaknaeil’, young adults in their 20’s spend a monthly average 9.8 times as impulsive spending to refection. They tend to buy things depending on their emotions and put pretty or heady things first. Also, the 20-something generation spend a monthly average of 5.8 times based on SNS. Buying things on Instagram or Facebook is not a strange thing because things on SNS are sometimes easy on the wallet and more unique.
Meanwhile, impulsive spending doesn’t always have to have a negative effect. It can also be positive, depending on how people use their money. After a hard day at a part-time job, impulsive shopping for charming and appealing, inexpensive items can relieve stress from everyday anxiety and be a refreshing therapy to reduce melancholy. People in their twenties spend on average 78,000₩ every month on impulsive spending. It may seem small depending on one’s viewpoint and personal income. However, the important fact is that they are likely to turn to self-justification after overspending. It sometimes can lead people to use their money over credit card limit, suffer from small debts piled up monthly. Impulsive spending sometimes leads people to spend over their credit card limit, creating unnecessary debt piled up over several months.
Working a part-time job almost every day of the week, tired of serving picky customers, many students have no time for such things as selfdevelopment or self-reflection of their spending habits. Many parttime workers feel this kind of suffering once in a while. It does not mean you have to save everything you have in your bank account or that spending money on things you like is wrong. However, you do not want to regret or deeply sigh after inquiring about your account balance following a purchase. Now is a good time to reconsider your overspending and start writing down how much you spend and on what.