“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
(Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina)
Even though Lev Tolstoy claimed the opposite, we can find similarities in unhappiness of financially broken families—both of which share a common starting point.
After analyzing 17 Seasons of the popular Swedish TV Show LyxFällan (Luxury Trap in English), I did draw some conclusions about common money spending habits, lifestyles, and attitudes towards money.
If you can relate to at least three of the following economical letdowns, consider yourself warned…
Here is a list of the most popular issues that landed people in LyxFällan.
- No savings – The most common feature that everybody shared was having zero savings. This included people with an income of $2000-$6000 per month. No matter how small or large your income is, save at least 10%.
- No concept of expenses and loans – Knowing how to budget and control your economy is one ability that most people from LyxFällan did not have. Here you will find The Top 5 Swedish Apps that will help you to save money and control your budget.
- Cigarettes and snus – Spending about $8 a day, or $250 a month on tobacco products is absurd!
- Car – having a car in the city is a huge expense which is not adding value to your bank balance. In fact, after considering related expenses, owning a car in the city will cost you at least $1500 per month. And a lot of families have two of them! What ever happened to public transportation? Don’t worry! Your kids can survive without getting 2-4 rides a day. Lose the car and put the savings in an account for the little ones instead.
- Unaffordable vacations – Many people with economic troubles book vacations on credit (not smart!). Try to save instead. Or at least book flights and hotels in different months so the cost doesn’t become so weighty on your monthly budget.
- Online casino and betting – This habit is as ridiculous as tobacco! Too bad but there are thousands of people blowing big bucks on online casinos and sport’s betting—and incredibly have no clue of its monthly price tag.
- Shopping – Women use shopping as a kind of therapy when relationships crash. They like to look good while “sporting” on the weekend. Clothes, bags, shoes and interior decorating are not cheap. Men, on the other hand, love to own toys like cars, game stations and unnecessary electronic gadgets. They need to have the latest and greatest. Unfortunately this usually involves a “get now pay later” policy that can haunt them for years to come.
- Unplanned food purchasing – Going to the store everyday can easily lead to doubling your food budget. Plan your weekly menu in advance and stop flushing food down the toilet.
- Eating out, drinking out – There is nothing wrong with it, but if you do it every day for lunch and dinner, it’ll cost you $50 per day; or $1000 a month. Do you make so much money that you can spend a grand per month just on dining out? Let’s put it that way, if your monthly bill for dining out is around or higher than 50% of the money you have per month after you paid all fixed costs (rent, transportation, mobile, insurance, etc.) – you are in trouble now or will be there soon.
- Beauty – Mostly a woman’s prerogative, and a costly one at that! Eyelashes, nails and hair extensions can cost up to $500 per month. Don’t forget about massages and ordinary make-up. How much did you say you make per month? You can easily make spa at home,have fun and stay on budget for a change.
Since living in Sweden, I’ve noticed a pattern of bad spending habits. For example, people living in Stockholm and other big cities tend to spend more on eating and drinking, designer clothes, shoes and bags. In smaller cities, expenditures like soft drinks, smoking, and online casino gambling seem to be…the problem. Also, single, freshly divorced mothers seem to find their way in LyxFällan by way of over-shopping as a therapeutic way to deal with pain. Simply put, they put their kids and themselves in difficult financial situations.
The best advice that could be given is:
- Know your money (income and costs).
- Watch your budget!
- Plan entertainment, big purchases and avoid spontaneous shopping!
Peace and love!