FOMO, or the fear of missing out, shows up in a lot of our lives. We are human, after all. And marketers, the media, our friends and family, and basically anything else in our lives has the ability to put this fear of missing out in our minds, whether we are really going to miss out on something or not.
But our subconscious also plays a part in this FOMO feeling as well.
At the end of the day, what are you really missing out on?
Or do you just believe that you are missing out on something because someone else is saying how much they enjoy having this or that?
Have you cancelled your cable and now only have Hulu and/or Netflix? And then you hear that you missed this show or that show on TV and it won't be on Netflix for another 6 months. Are you really missing out? Or can you do without watching that show?
What about when your best friend buys a new car? You get to go for a ride in that car and it rides so much smoother than your 10 year old car. Everything works in it. It has more bells and whistles than your car has. It's basically a computer on wheels now. Are you really missing out on having the newest car on the market? Or is your car sufficient enough to get you to where you need to go?
And what about when your brother buys himself a house and you're still renting an apartment? Do you feel the need to go out and buy a house too? What is buying a house versus being a renter really going to get you? Are you going to spend more money in the end by buying or by renting?
I could keep going on and on with examples of how we feel that we are missing out. I see them every single day, both online and in person and I even notice them in myself sometimes too. Someone always has a fear of missing out because someone else bought something that they are a tad bit jealous of in the moment. But it's when you learn to catch yourself being caught up in the game of someone else having something better than you, that you have to just stop for a few minutes.
Because that's exactly what it is - in the moment. Once that moment is over about 20-30 minutes from now, you won't really feel that fear of missing out anymore. You won't feel the need to buy the latest and greatest thing. Most of the time it really does last only 20-30 minutes, in my experience at least. But as humans, most of the things we buy, we buy on impulse and don't let those 20-30 minutes elapse.
Because we like to buy on impulse or have that instant gratification, this fear of missing out can actually be hurting and sabotaging our finances. We spend money that we don't need to be spending. It is meant for something else. It should be saved instead. At the end of the day, we don't actually need the things we are spending money on, it's simply a want, not a necessity.
So when you sit down and think about it, where are you spending money on the fear of missing out? Where are you spending money because you are afraid that you really will miss out by not having the latest and greatest gadgets on the market? If what you want to buy isn't actually available tomorrow, is it going to hurt your business or your home if you don't have it?
Do we really need to have our homes be completely run by our phones? Do we really need to buy a new computer or smart phone every year, just because the tech companies have launched a new version of their equipment?
I used to think that I always had to have the latest cell phone and other electronics to come out. I spent money that I didn't have to buy these things. And then because I didn't have the extra money, I would sneak the things I bought into my home and only use them in my room where no one would really see me using them. I had the fear of missing out that someone else would have something newer than I did, but yet I also hid my stuff so no one even knew I had it but me.
But then when I realized the hole I was digging myself into by spending this money that I didn't have. I realized that I didn't actually need to have the latest and greatest gadgets. What I had worked just fine. And this started my love affair with seeing how long I can make my computers and cell phones and tablets actually last. And I'll be honest, things actually last for me. I take care of my belongings. I use things until I can no longer use them. And this has treated me very well. That new computer works just as well as mine and I don't have to recreate my desktop on a new computer every year.
I had an iPhone 4 that I only upgraded because the home button actually stopped working on it. This iPhone was over 4 years old. I like making my gadgets and belongings last for me. The store rep even said my phone looked brand new, if only it still worked like new. I finally learned I don't need to always have the best of everything. I did let my FOMO sabotage my finances in the past, but not anymore. I'd rather save my money and keep the things I already have that are serving me just fine. I also learned that I don't like clutter and moving with tons of stuff is not fun.
And the same goes for online programs. I used to buy all the programs that were out there. Then I went on a program "diet" and only used the programs I had. I didn't end up missing anything by not investing in new programs. I had everything I needed at that moment already. Yes there are always going to be programs and services available that I think I'm going to need in the moment. But if I can take the time to save up the money and then come back to it when I'm actually ready, it will be so much more beneficial to me. And if it's not available for me to purchase when I do have the money, then I really didn't need it in the first place. And now I have all this saved money that will benefit me even more down the road later.
So tell me, do you have FOMO that is sabotaging your finances? What are you really missing by not spending the money? Is this purchase going to change your life? What about that purchase? Where else can your money be put to better use?
What can you do to realize this FOMO in your life and how it really affects your finances?
Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online educator who holds two master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting. Also creative and spiritual, she is an intuitive empath and introvert. Clarissa is the host of The Prosper + Profit Podcast, where money conversations occur on a daily basis -- as she believes that money shouldn’t be a taboo subject. After growing up on a dairy farmand learning to work hard for money, Clarissa awakened to a path that allowed wealth to flow easily to her. Clarissa currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two cats.