Later this month a law will come in place that you will no longer be able to be charged on overdraft fees by your bank unless you opt in to their program. This means the banks are going crazy trying to market this new overdraft service and their main way of trying to get us helpless consumers to sign up is by pulling the “we can save you embarrassment” card!

By this I mean. If you are in a store and you try to buy something on debit and you don’t have the cash in your account, without protection your card could get declined and you will have to face the embarrassment of walking out of the store without the items.

Photo: KatB Photography

My article is not specifically about the banks but about the emotion they are targeting. Much of the economic crisis could have been averted if people didn’t pretend to be rich. Every time you take a loan you are being given the ability to afford and live a lifestyle that you just can not afford. I think it is time to stop.

Stop pretending to be rich today!

Now is the time, no more use of overdrafts, no more using credit card to go out with your friends a week before pay day. You need to start acting like you can afford what you can genuinely afford.

I understand that you probably have a mortgage, a credit card debt, maybe some loans and an overdraft. Isn’t that all a drag?

The aim to stop pretending is to stop adding to these and start paying them off. It is hard that you have to refuse some social events and in some ways change your social life as well as your day to day spending habits but trust me the weight it relieves to start acting like what you really are is well worthwhile.

Much of the key to getting on the right track lies in simply simplifying your life. Here are a few easy tips to start.

Start cooking gourmet at home – Gourmet cooking at home takes a lot of work but it’s a fun journey and although even home cooking can be expensive you can create superb meals (especially Italian food) on a reasonable budget if you choose your recipes wisely. If you eat out a lot to socialize you will find you can regain the same feeling by having people over. Ask everyone to bring a separate part of the meal such as wine, desert and snacks.

Stop buying new clothes and start buying used – It’s so easy to spend $100’s on clothing every month and this could well be where the pretending rich spend the most on their credit cards. Clothing can be a quick addiction but it’s easy to break. Firstly you should assess and see how much of your clothing you actually wear. Just look at the amount of cash in your wardrobe gathering dust! If clothing really is your passion then you can still get a monthly fix by visiting Goodwill or Salvation Army stores.

Talk about it – Tell all your friends what you are doing. This will help them stop pressuring you to live their overspending life but you may also find a few team mates to help you along.

Start volunteering – It’s easy to spend because you are bored. So why not volunteer on a Saturday afternoon or a week evening. Doing something you care about is a great way to feel good without spending cash and you may meet some great new friend.

These are just a few random tips. Cutting your expenses is more than just planning it takes a change in mind set too. You have to face up to how much money you actually have and accept the lifestyle you can lead.