How To Stop FOMO From Ruining Your Finances

If you experience FOMO I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems and not wanting to miss out on stuff is one.

Despite being a bit of a silly acronym, fear of missing out is real. Whether it’s going to a party just because everyone else is, or buying something because a bunch of your mates already have one, we all do it – whether consciously or not. Marketing teams basically depend on it; how many times in the past week have you seen a headline or ad that begins with something like: You Have To Try This!

Unfortunately, a strong case of FOMO can not only lead to doing stuff you probably don’t feel like doing anyway, it can also lead to a depleted bank account or a whole lotta debt – because doing stuff costs money. So I, a recovering FOMO addict, am here to give you some hot tips on how to cool your jets and stop spending so much money.

Do you really want to go to that festival?


I can no longer count the number of times that I have loudly proclaimed that I am “absolutely done with festivals.” The claims have increased over the past two or three years as I dip into my late 20s and am far happier on the couch than battling crowds of people to potentially see a band I like for a crappy festival set. Never again, I’ve announced! It’s too hot, too crowded, ridiculously expensive! I can barely stay awake for a regular gig these days, I reason.

And yet, somehow, each year I still go to festivals. Granted, not as many as when I was a spritely youth, but when I stare sadly at my bank statement during the first half of the year, it is usually littered with large purchases from various ticketing companies. And why do I make this mistake over and over? The lineup comes out and I just can’t miss out on (x) band. A group of my friends are going, and everyone is talking about how great it will be. I’m trying to hark back to the days when I had enough energy – and so on. So let’s make a pact, friends. No more festivals – because the sideshow is always better anyway.

That food isn’t as tasty as it looks on Instagram


My Instagram is filled with pictures of food, and it’s draining my bank account. There are cafes and restaurants posting their new creations, friends showcasing their brunches, and professional food people posting exclusive dishes from new places (that you can only get to by tapping on a door three times, doing a twirl, and knowing the secret password). Sigh.

I know, it all looks delicious. And I know, all your friends are trying it, and you’ve seen that new bar pop up in your Facebook advertising at least 10 times this week. But I am here to tell you from personal experience that the $53 piece of sushi isn’t worth it, and neither is a burger with five patties and ten pieces of cheese (I’m making myself hungry now). That $9 fresh juice? Go buy some watermelon and chuck it in your blender.

You don’t always have to go to drinks


Ah, the great Australian pastime: drinks after work. Friday night drinks. Sunday drinks at the pub in the sunshine. Drinks with your housemate on a Thursday arvo, drinks drinks drinks. It is so incredibly easy to fall into the pattern of ‘heading out for just one drink’ (if you don’t drink, I applaud you and you should skip to the next section).

But guess what? You don’t have to do any of it. Nothing will happen, the world won’t implode, and you won’t miss out on much – Carol from accounting will just start telling everyone her life story again. Save your cash and resist bevvos: you’ll see a difference in your bank account at the end of the month!

Your phone is probably fine


I am the ultimate capitalist consumer. New phone on the market? Suddenly my old phone resembles a Nokia 3315 and is definitely, yes I’m sure of it, lagging. Is there an option between the usual black or grey phone and a sparkly gold version? Sparkly gold for a few extra hundred, please. Ditto with laptops, kitchen appliances, and anything else that costs a stupid amount of money.

Thankfully, a low income for the past few years has forced me to reevaluate whether or not I actually need the shiny new things: and 9 out of 10 times, the answer is a big, loud, NO. Apparently, I don’t need the new things that ‘everyone else’ (read: a few people I know) are getting to achieve happiness – who knew! Resist the shiny things, friends.

Chloe Papas is a journalist and writer based in Victoria. You can find her on Twitter @chloepapas

Want to start saving?

Open a Westpac savings account to take control of your money.

Find Out More