5 Things I’m Spending Too Much Money On And How I’m Going To Stop

ways to curb your spending
Don’t be fooled!

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.

1) Groceries

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.

2)eBay

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.

3)Books

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.

4)Convenience Stores

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.

5)Escrow Accounts

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?

 

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/digitalart

 

 

 

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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.

47 Comments

  1. Hmmm our spending hasn’t changed much in the past year, but I guess you could say I was spending too much on gas to commute to and from work. That won’t be fixed, though, until they build public transit that can get me from my house to where I work.

  2. I have a solution for the book issue, libraries have random free books with a donation events or “buy a box take all you can fit in it” sales to get rid of old or slightly damaged stock, it is not the same for ebooks but for physical books it is a great deal.

    I acquired most of my Dragonriders of Pern collection that way, many stephen kings, micheal chrichton, and clive cusslers as well as cookbooks and more that would otherwise have cost a fortune all free. You can also take advantage of Ebook promotions or free downloads from new authors (though these are limited) and tons of content is available free and legalyl if you look for it.

    As for Ebay and convenience stores Ebay is not the cheapest place to get things surplus stores can be far cheaper or if you get lucky you can find a really nice dresser tossed out for a “modern” model and with a bit of fixing up it is a unique and functional piece. Take advantage of thrift stores too, I got most of my appliances from surplus or thrift stores and every single one works perfectly, I even have a milk frother.

    Convenience stores are a given and if you have a soda habit as bad as my latte habit invest in a soda stream or something similar just as I invested 10$ at a garage sale in a espresso/latte machine and over time I have created a coffee station of sorts all of the appliances and storage containers are thrift, garage sales, or surplus.

    In the long run it pays for itself, I have saved hundreds a month by doing this though I still go through milk fairly fast it would be far more expensive if I paid for a latte every morning besides the experience of making the beverage itself is calming.

    Which almost makes up for the stress of trying to save up on a tight budget to move post college.

    1. Thanks for your ideas. I’m kind of glad I don’t like coffee. It seems like lots of work! I do wish we had more variety in thrift stores. That is certainly not a bonus of living in a small town.

  3. I spend more on Dish TV than I want but one channel we watch constantly put us in a higher tier than we would otherwise choose. And I spend more on books than I should but recently I started purchasing used books through Amazon’s site instead of getting them new. I save a lot that way. I don’t sweat what I spend on groceries. We eat all meals at home except once a week and then we usually have a coupon for buy one entrée get one free so we’re pretty frugal there. Otherwise, things are pretty much under control.

    1. Now I’m curious which channel it is. When we cancelled our satellite TV, we were afraid we’d really miss HGTV and ESPN, and we do a little bit, but not enough to go back.

  4. “Realizing that giving up soda for a year will buy a plane ticket or a couple of nights in a hotel was the kicker.” Yes! To me that is what is so priceless about tracking your spending. A Pepsi a day doesn’t cost much and most people don’t even think twice about it. But when you add it up, you can see the real cost and then decide if it’s worth it to you. For some people, it will be and that’s okay. For others, like yourself, you’ll decide the money is better spent on something else. We do okay on our groceries but we could still do a bit better on waste, fresh fruit spoiling, etc. My biggest indulgence remains the girls. We’re good at making them buy most of their wants (and they know it) but I also really enjoy surprising them with gifts and I have to watch myself. They are just so darn cute!

    1. I know. It’s hard to balance letting them make their way vs wanting to use your good fortune to give them things you maybe didn’t have when you were a kid. I also think if kids do well in school and stay out of trouble, that’s worth something.

  5. Good job on stopping soda cold turkey. I used to drink Pepsi as well and would wake up in the middle of the night craving bubbles! If you need a “withdrawal” drink, sparkling water with a squeezed lime is pretty good, at least you don’t get all the chemicals of soda, then you can switch to normal water with lime, and eventually just water.

    1. I have had many people recommend sparking water. I can’t say as I’ve ever been a fan, but I might have to give it another try.

  6. This is a great list — I definitely relate to the first one. My husband and I spend way too much on groceries, period. We go to the store 1-3 times per week! I also notice that seasonal changes affect my spending. At the beginning of fall, I’m overcome with the desire to buy new clothes and make muffins, sweet breads, cookies and other comfort food that require somewhat pricey ingredients. Naughty!

    1. I hear you. I almost bought a whole bunch of those mini pumpkins for decorations. We’d never even eat them, so it would be purely for fun. Cute, but we already have Halloween decorations. I just need to stay away from the store!

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