In Budgeting, Debt, Money

How I recently kicked my newfound addiction to spending…

I have been recently addicted to spending.

I say recently, because in the past year, it has been one big “life” bill one after another. Some expected, some unexpected.

Over the time I saw my bank account drain, not including the other bills I have to pay (condo fees, food, gas..), I just started to unconsciously get a “screw this” attitude towards my money.

Ever feel like that?

I can’t be the only one.

It’s when you open the spending floodgates, as I call it, and before you know it, you’re buying things you didn’t know you needed, but suddenly crave.

Anyway, after dropping over a grand on car repairs (I hate these terribly maintained roads, we have such a corrupt government), it has just been a downhill slide of spending, and spending some more, and spending even more.

My budget kept smacking me in the face, saying:

SHERRY! Get it together, woman!

These numbers are creeping a little too high!!!

…but my brain, oh my poor sweet brain, ignored the hard facts mostly because I didn’t want to bother with them.

It’s not like I can’t afford it, that’s true, but even with all this money saved, and all the knowledge I have of money, I still do stupid things.


Like spend on this gorrrrrgeous silk skirt. I can’t even tell you what it costs, I’m hiding in denial right now.

https://bit.ly/2fmZY75

I saw budget amounts over $3000, $7000 in a month, and, yep you guessed it, I said: “Screw this. I’m already over up to $3000 and what’s another ….$$$…??

So…. I have been eating out. And spending.

A lot.

Sadly, it has become an ‘safe’ activity for me to do with Baby Bun that makes us both happy (and keeps him happily quiet as he munches on his mini croissant like a chubby-cheeked squirrel), and it hasn’t cost very much, under $5 most times or more, if you end up eating desserts like this:

But man does it add up….

I only finally faced reality when I went to the bank and had to withdraw another $200.. AGAIN.

As I took out the money, I asked myself:

Self. Why am I taking out $200 again?

I feel like I JUST took out $200.

Where did it go?

Then I checked my handy, very factual budget and said: Oh yeah. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

The machine spat out the bills, and I stuffed them into my wallet, not thinking about it.

…and now, almost at the end of the month…. I STILL HAVE ALL OF THAT MONEY.

Whaaaa?? How is that even possible?

The trick, I have realized is:

KEEP YOUR CASH IN VERY LARGE BILLS.

I tend to only frequent places that only take cash or debit. I hate using debit because it’s just like cash, so I use cash instead.

As a result, I break a $20 without even thinking about it, but those four $50 bills that ATM spat out at me?

They’re too shiny and big to use.

I think twice, even three times before I want to reach for that $50 and break it, knowing it is first of all, probably going to raise eyebrows at the cashier, but also that … I don’t want to.

When you have a large bill in your hot sweaty paws, you think twice about spending it on some random bagel sandwich you could make for $2 instead of paying $6, and you definitely don’t want to use it.

This is also why spending on credit cards or online is so easy, you don’t actually see the physical bills leave your wallet to be spent, it’s all cold, and electronic.

I’m actually pretty pleased that I am starting to exercise my very  flabby willpower, and I even said ‘No’, to Baby Bun’s insistence that we “go out” because I knew it would end in at least $5 being spent, if not $500.

I already had an idea that I’d go online and ‘browse’ the sales, but I decided to write this post instead. *pats self on back*

As a result, I’m pretty proud to announce my “eating out” and “snacks” have been now under control (oh yummy $20 gourmet salads…), but the shopping has to be NIPPED. NIPPED IN THE BUD I SAY.

Other tricks I am trying out so far:

  • Asking if I really need it. Stupid but that’s how I put back that mascara the other day.
  • RESISTING the urge to go into a shop just to “browse” (almost walked out with sandals I don’t need)
  • Going through my closet to find things to sell / donate (this REALLY makes me want to never shop again)

WHAT TRICKS DO YOU USE TO STOP FRITTERING AWAY MONEY?

I NEED SOME TIPS.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on November 21, 2017

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8 Comments

  1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    I yell at myself, and then I tell you that I’m not allowed to spend anymore. And then I send you links and you reject most of them so that reminds me that shopping never ends that well for me. 🙂
    The problem is that that’s not going to work for you because you always pick the pretty things. But I think saying that you can’t buy anything for X amount of time can help because once you fill that time with other things, you actually stay distracted longer and forget that urge to shop. We are very much the Mouse and the Cookie when it comes to shopping so if we can avoid the first cookie, we can avoid the rest of the spiral.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I .. need to avoid the cookie.

      Reply
  2. Alexis

    I tracked my spending. Found out I was spending $20-40/week at bakeries. WHAT. That’s $100-200 a month that I would much rather spend on something else.

    I track it on my phone. If it’s too hard to track everything, pick a category (like sweets) and focus on that. Once you see it add up you’ll probably be horrified and pull back. Now I spend about $0 a week on sweets 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I need to just blog more instead of spending.

      Reply
  3. Budgeter

    Take predetermined percent immediately off paycheck once it hits deposit account before u spend
    Income – profit = expense for that month

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I pay myself / determine my own salary so that doesn’t help.

      Reply
  4. Yet Another PF Blog

    Force yourself to be busy enough with other activities (exercise, making things to sell on the blog/online, lots of playdates for Baby Bun) that you don’t have time to think about shopping.

    For the eating out thing, buy affordable and healthy snacks you and Baby Bun will eat in bulk and portion them out at home. If Baby Bun asks for a cafe or takeout, try eating one portion (maybe outdoors somewhere nearby so you’re still leaving the house and getting a change of scenery?) and then see if you still want to go out.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I am implementing that. Busy people have no time to spend. BLOG BLOG BLOG is what I need to do.

      Reply

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