Have You Ever Been Guilty of YOLO Living?


Today I have a test for you, have you ever heard of YOLO Living? I hadn’t until recently, but it stands for ‘You Only Live Once’ Living, and apparently a growing number of Brits are using the YOLO Living idea to justify making financial decisions that might not necessarily be all that wise. Some are living this way by buying things on impulse just to cheer themselves up, whereas others feel that they should be allowed to have the things that they ‘deserve’, even though they can’t really afford it.

Whatever the reason, YOLO Living is on the rise, with recent research from the Money Advice Service showing that more than 5 million YOLO purchases are being made each and every day, often leading to financial complications for the purchaser somewhere down the line.

Although it goes completely against my nature to buy things on impulse, I can’t say that I’ve always been completely free of guilt in this area myself. When I was younger and my wife and I were kitting out our first home, we had some big decisions to make when it came to how much we spent on certain appliances. We had the option to go for the things that we could afford, or we could go for the shinier, better looking – but more expensive – versions. With most things we made good decisions, but we did succumb to buying an expensive fridge-freezer on a 12 month ‘buy now pay later’ plan.

This was great for a while as we enjoyed unwrapping our new appliance and it stood proudly in our kitchen. The plan was to pay it off gradually each month, but then of course, each month brought its own new expenses. Before we knew it, 12 months had passed and we were faced with the prospect of finding the full amount of money needed to pay off the fridge or face being hit with the full 12 months of accumulated interest being added to the balance. Fortunately, we managed to get the money together at the time, but it was a close call and it taught me a big lesson about maintaining your financial discipline and avoiding the YOLO Living trap.

My experience is way in the past now, but I can totally understand how people still fall into these traps. Unless you are a very disciplined person financially, my advice would be to just stick to buying only what you can afford. A wise old person once told me that you should get the best that you can afford and I think that this is good advice, as it makes sense in the long run to go for quality where you can afford it. If you can’t afford it though, then you will relieve yourself of a lot of financial stress and pressure in the long run if you avoid the YOLO mentality. Or, perhaps you could reshape the meaning of the phrase to mean ‘You Only Live Once’, so you might as well make it a life lived free from unnecessary financial pressure.

Have you ever succumbed to desire and made a YOLO purchase?

2 Responses to Have You Ever Been Guilty of YOLO Living?

  1. Chuck says:

    Yep! I think this may have been the biggest contributor to how we got into the hole that I’m currently digging out. While it wasn’t necessarily purchase of things with us (though there was a dining room set at Macy’s that worked out pretty much just like your fridge), it was always experiences. Ooh, let’s get away to a cabin in the mountains this weekend…

  2. YOLO is definitely a trap for the unwary. I’ve told all the 20-somethings in my life enough times that they’re sick of hearing of it. Perhaps it will stick. Time will tell.

    There are times to splurge. But too many times, YOLO is used as an excuse not to plan, not to choose, not to optimize, but to just do it.

    That is, until you’re $30K in the hole, someone’s started garnisheeing your wages, and you’re considering bankruptcy.

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