5 Things I’m Spending Too Much Money On And How I’m Going To Stop
I’ve noticed that our spending has crept up over the past few months, and I think I’m mostly to blame. The problem is that I can justify just about any purchase and make it seem like a necessity. That’s probably a big reason we got into so much debt a few years ago. We’re not in that situation by a long shot, but I’m not liking the trends. I’ve found that when I share my financial woes, I’m much more likely to turn negative into positive, so here are the things I’m spending too much money on and how I’m going to stop.
No, I won’t stop buying food, but our grocery spending has crept up since we paid off our debt. In a way, I’m OK with that because one reason to pay off debt is so you can actually buy a bag of cherries and not feel guilty about it.
On the other hand, I do think I get fooled by the store’s advertising. I see things on sale and buy them, even if we don’t really need them at the time. The other day I went in for a few items and found myself buying 6 boxes of granola bars because they were on sale. Since the cart was filling up, I decided to stock up on a few more items. Next thing you know I’ve spent $100 instead of the $20 I was planning.
The other thing I’ve been doing is not using up what’s in our pantry. We had some guests over last week. I had plenty of stuff to make lasagna, but I wanted to grill outside because, well, I was lazy. I went to buy steaks, shrimp, and chicken. It was a great meal, but we could have just had the lasagna and been fine.
How to fix my grocery habit: I am not going to the grocery until at least October 20th unless it’s for milk or fresh produce. We have plenty of other stuff to eat. I’m also making sure I stick to a list so I won’t be distracted by tricky sales pitches. No more buy 4, get them for $1.99.
I am ashamed at how much we’ve bought on eBay recently. I can justify it because it’s all used stuff and much cheaper than buying retail, but it still adds up. Some recent purchases have been a box full of kid’s chapter books, a Halloween costume after I swore we weren’t spending a penny on Halloween, and some compression bags to save room in our suitcases. All nice things to have, but I need to space out my purchases and not buy them at the same time.
How to exit eBay: Stop buying anything until after Christmas, unless it’s actually a gift we have to buy anyway. I’m going to try and give Amazon gift cards to most of the people on our Christmas list. It’s not one of those thoughtful, personal gifts, but I love gift cards and I don’t want to shop, so there you go. I’m also going to make up all the money I’ve spent on eBay by selling stuff from around the house. I’ve already made back $38.
Including the eBay books, plus what I’ve spent on Kindle, we are way over budget for this category. I justify it by saying that reading is an excellent hobby, and it is good for my daughter. That’s true, but we don’t need to buy more books.
Avoiding the book: I am trying Kindle Unlimited to see if that can curb my spending, but I think I’ll cancel it, at least until after the holidays. Until then, it’s the library all the way. If I have to wait a week to get a book, that’s a good lesson in patience.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a bad vice about fountain Diet Pepsi. I used to get one a day and was able to justify this as personal spending and not any worse than coffee. Lately, I’ve found myself getting two a day, them I might pick up a snack or pack of gum. If you want to piddle away money, buy crap from the convenience store. Spending way too much on stuff that is not good for me, hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture?
Skip convenience at all costs: I gave up soda last week, cold turkey. I do crave one around 3PM, but it passes. I am also not going to a gas station for anything other than gas. This should save about $7 and change a week that will go straight into our travel fund. Realizing that giving up soda for a year will buy a plane ticket or a couple of nights in a hotel was the kicker.
This really isn’t something I have control over and that’s why it’s driving me crazy. For our house, we cut insurance costs substantially last year by switching companies. Our property taxes also went down by just a bit. Our escrow payment, however, went up. When I called Wells Fargo, they told me they are only able to review escrow accounts once a year and it had been done a couple of months before. So like fools, we paid the higher payment and then got a refund check at the end of the year. I let Well Fargo keep my money for almost a year!
How to beat escrow: Last month, the same thing happened with our rental property, but I won’t fall into the trap again. I cancelled it. I thought it would be harder actually, but all it took was a phone call. It was so easy that I cancelled our home escrow account as well. Now, we can keep our own money and pay taxes and insurance ourselves.
This would never have worked in our over spending days, but we are certainly able to set aside money each month to cover these costs. While I don’t expect to earn huge interest, at least we aren’t giving our money to a big company to hold on to.
Thoughts on Spending Money
Spending money is personal and not up to me to decide for anyone other than myself. Our main goals for our money are to invest and pay off our mortgages. Our spending priorities outside of basic necessities are for family experiences and travel. This is why I’m putting my foot down on unnecessary spending that keeps us from those goals. I encourage you to look at your spending patterns and see if anything has gotten out of hand. Are you justifying your over spending? From experience, it’s much better to squash it right now instead of looking back years later and wishing you’d done things differently.
Is there anything you’ve been spending too much on lately?
I just gave up diet soda and convenience stores too! Good luck. If it gets too bad, I did buy Zevia. It’s a stevia sweetened cola. It’s about $1 a can so not cheap but if it’s that or falling off the wagon, it’s worth it. Good luck!
I’ve never heard of that, but than’s for the suggestion. I think I’m going to be Ok. It’s 7 days today, and this is the first day I didn’t have the craving around 3PM.
I am just as guilty when it comes to spending a dollar or two here and there on small random purchases, especially at the convenience store! Also, I’ve gotten into couponing a little more lately so when I see a “hot deal,” I get the urge to buy it. Luckily, I usually talk myself out of it by saying I already have X number in my stash or its a product I really don’t need.
Yes, there are only so many jars of salsa that we need at one time. I don’t think I’ll have to buy salsa for a year.
For some reason our grocery bill is also always way, way too high. Then what’s hilarious is half way through the week I’m making lunch-meat sandwiches for dinner because there’s nothing to eat.
We eat all the snack food first and then feel like there isn’t any food. We are going to have to dig deep this month. I might have to make something crazy like homemade granola bars!
We’ve been spending waaaaaay to much on entertainment recently. After the wallet gougefest that is “back to school” we’ve been leaving town for family functions every weekend. Next weekend we’re again leaving town as I’m running in the Twin Cities Marathon. The rest of October, however, we’re staying home and letting our financial wounds heal. 🙂
I hope you enjoy the marathon, as much as you can enjoy running over 26 miles.
I was actually in a bad book spending period with my son. I was just so excited that he wanted to read that I was buying him books left and right. Over the summer we got him into the library and now we are using that solely to feed his reading needs and it has really helped the budget. I say it all the time, but it really is difficult to manage your money smartly when you have the emotional pull of a child.
It is so hard to say no when they want a book but we could literally spend hundreds of dollars a month if I never said no. Thank goodness for the library.
We had moved to a new apartment at the beginning of the summer and consequently our spending went up but in some categories it really wasn’t warranted – like Amazon. We use Amazon a lot for household purchases but we went a little overboard and we reigned that in during the last couple of months. This is why I always review our spending regularly in order to catch the spending trends and deal with them before they become a bigger problem like you are doing.
It is so much easier to reign it in if you keep up with it. We used to never track our spending and wondered why we never had extra money.
Good for you noticing it now and working to curb it Kim! Groceries can be a bad one for us, especially now that we do most of our grocery shopping at Costco. We can talk ourselves into pretty much anything there but that stuff adds up quickly. We’ve had to choose to get into the mindset that the money we have is all we have for the month and if we spend more we’re just out of luck for the rest of the month. We’ve not gone over, but I can pretty confidently tie it back to that mentality.
I’ve honestly never been in a Costco. I usually don’t like big stores, but I’ve heard really good things about their prices and how well they treat employees as compared to other big box stores.
You’re so smart to nip this spending in the bud now! Grocery stores used to get me with their fancy sales and deals too :). We now force ourselves to make a grocery list in advance by walking through the kitchen and identifying only the stuff we’re seriously out of. We similarly ate all of the things in our pantry and freezer a few months back, which was a great exercise and made us realize how much unnecessary stuff we’d bought in the past. Good luck to you!
I’m actually a bit excited to clean out the pantry. Pancakes for dinner and casserole city this month will be.
Most libraries offer e-books now! Even if you don’t live close to one, you can still borrow books – for free!
Our library does have an app, which I downloaded, but I could never get it to work and none of the ladies who work there know how to use it. Go figure!
I am spending too much with my cell phone services. I found myself subscribing to a plan that I can’t max out its services. Thus, I am now trying to downgrade to a plan which meets what I only need. I realize that I kinda have lost so much money for those months I paid for supreme plans. 🙁
you can only move forward. Good luck finding a better and more affordable plan.