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Shopaholic Series: Kim of Needing the Dough

I started with it here and opened it up to others!

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I’m Kim – wife and mother of 2 girls. I hold 2 degrees in Science and Commerce, and I work full-time in finance & administration. When I’m not tackling any of these activities, blog about personal finance and my journey to financial independence and early retirement at

I know I have a bit of a spending problem. I don’t really buy anything to extravagant, but I do buy a lot of little things. I wanted to see how bad it was, so I decided to record my impulse & extras spending for about a month.

I didn’t record everything, like my regular groceries, but I did note where I spent on extras.

August 27th

We promised the kids we would make s’mores for dessert after dinner, but when we checked, we had run out of chocolate.

Emergency run to the corner store to fulfill promise to the kids $2.50

August 28th

My best friend is having a baby in the winter, so I’m looking for items for her baby shower gift – I have an idea of what I want to get, so I’m looking for the pieces.

I find a few things that are on sale (spend about $10 instead of $25), and see some pants the kids will need for activities they’re participating in this fall. ($20.00).

Get home, and the pair of pants is too big for my oldest.

I could keep them and she can use them when she grows a bit, but I could likely get them on sale later.

I’ll return them later this week.

August 29th

Skipped my weekend latte and made one at home to sip on while I did an assignment for school in the afternoon. I did buy donuts for the family to split ($2.60).

Went into a dangerous zone today, and failed. We stopped by the store and I spent about $85 on kids party stuff, birthday gift items, and baby shower gifts… this wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t already $300+ into party spending.

Returned the pants that don’t fit (+$10), but I spent another $47 at the store on some missed groceries ($14)… and clothing for the kids.. because it was on sale and they’ll likely need it.

I really need to stop doing this.

Looked into cake prices for the b-day party and decided I’m going to be making my own. For $2.50 (min) per cupcake, or $50 for a cake, I could make 5 cakes.

I’m into this party for enough already.

My sister actually has some talent in this area – I’m going to try and recruit her and her expertise.

August 30th

I’m trying to finish a paper for my degree, and I stress eat when I study/write – especially sugar. I hit up a coffee shop for coffee and donuts this morning; grab some from the rest of the fam, too ($5.60).

Remember things I need for the house and the party.. spend $10 on food and $15 on stuff – only $7 of which I actually set out to buy.

Now that I’m actually writing this down, and thinking back – I have a tendency to talk myself out of lots of purchases during the week, and I make terrible spending decision on the weekend.. will try to fix this next weekend.


August 31st

So exhausted today; bought a Mocha to stay awake. $2.00

Looked at my habits (5 days is even a real eye opener), and saw I’m stressing out and my spending is getting out of control, which is stressing me out even more.

Vow to do better in September.

New Month. New Start.

Editor: LOL. I say this too. My November turned out to be even spendier than October due to Black Friday.

September 1st

Spent $50 on bread and back-to-school-safe snacks. I thought I had plenty, but I didn’t.

Saw about 5 other parents I knew at the store doing the same thing, so at least I know I’m in good company. Should have a sufficient amount for a few months.

September 2nd

Stressful day with back to school stuff; managed not to splurge on anything – just bought gas for my vehicle.

Woot woot! -$56

September 3rd

Bought a dinner out to celebrate with the family. I found a coupon and a gift card for the restaurant, so it only ended up costing me $20.

September 4th

No extra spending today!

September 5th

Had a BBQ today and need to buy OJ; stopped off at the convenience store, and picked up a lottery ticket too. $8. (I lost, obviously).

Editor: This is why I don’t gamble. 🙁

September 6th

Weekend coffees for the fam – $8.

Had to take the little one up to the hospital to get checked out.

The wait was longer than expected, and I didn’t have enough snacks. $4 for vending machine snacks.

Normally I keep snacks on me for the kids, but I forgot to replenish them from the last time we used them.

September 7th

No spending. Cleaned out some old kids costumes and made $70 selling them online.

September 11th

Super busy week and forgot to plan a meal for tonight.

Went to a restaurant $50; Groceries $124, which is my regular run plus some extras (~$50) for the birthday party tomorrow; spent the evening decorating a cake and cupcakes.

My talented sister was busy with work, so the decorating didn’t quite turn out as hoped (my creative skills are definitely sub-par in comparison).

September 12th

Daughter’s B-day party; money was already spent, so nothing was actually outlaid today.

September 13th

Took kids to a carnival event, which was mostly free, except for food.

Bought a small treat for them $2.

September 14th

I won tickets to a concert out of town; I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to drive back home after the show with the kids, but night driving freaks me out, and I don’t want to hit a moose, which becomes more and more likely as we move closer to fall hunting season.

Found a deal and got a hotel. $76 for my sanity for night of the event.

September 15th

Concert Night – $70 for Swag, $65 for dinner, and $60 for gas for trip. I’m fine with all of this, except the dinner.

The kids just complained that they wanted to go to the show, and were too excited to eat.

We could have gotten a cheap $10 pizza somewhere and would have been better off.

September 16th

My husband had ordered shoes for the kids dance class. The shoes were more expensive than I thought as well. $110.

September 19th

Shopping trip for craft supplies $36; glitter stickers for making crowns. I also picked up a couple small things for Halloween, and for school for the kids.

September 20th

No Spending

September 21st

I forgot to pack some snacks at work, and ended up spending $1.50 on some snacks to get me through the afternoon.

September 26nd

Bought tickets to some Arts shows ($60), some food for my husband’s birthday ($30), and some b-day gifts the kids picked out ($20)

So, outside of my regular budgeted spending, I spent over $850 on little things during the month. Some was semi-planned (we knew the girls would need dance shoes, but they cost about double what I had planned for), but a lot of it was impulse/unplanned.

I knew this was going to be a bad month for extra spending – we had 3+ birthdays, back-to-school, plus the start of a few activities for the kids.

We did have a few unplanned events as well. I had a few days where I actually managed to not spend anything, or not too much, for that matter.

Sherry mentioned back in August that self-imposed shopping bans push her to spend more.

Editor: I did? LOL. That has turned out terribly for me then.

I’m noticing that I’m more of the opposite.

Editor: WHAT? I need to learn your secret.

When I spend a little, especially on a treat for myself (or the family), that event triggers more spending for the day – I talk myself into furthering the behaviour.

Editor: Oh yeah. I do this too. It’s called “opening the floodgates of spending”. Black Friday = best example ever.

So if I grab a morning latte or mocha, I’m more likely to go out and spend on something for lunch, or pick up take-out for dinner, even if I have something pack and planned. I’m also more likely to add extras to my cart when I’m already out shopping for necessities.

What am I going to do with all this information?

I’m thinking of expanding my shopping ban in some way.

I’m currently doing a no new clothes for a year shopping ban, hoping it will allow my to appreciate what I actually have in my closet as well as find any real holes in my wardrobe that I can strategically fill.

A full-out ban on anything outside of necessities would not work, and I know that.

I do think however, that putting myself on a set monthly allowance might fit with my current spending pattern. It would give me some luxuries, but still force me to keep it constrained.


  • SarahN

    I did no ‘new’ clothes this year – only thrifted/second hand. I think I’ve slipped up twice – once the BF bought me a cheap dress on holidays, and the other time was a lululemon outer, which is workout wear, which I never see thrifting.

    I find the $4 change I rustle up for coffee in the morning doesn’t set me off, and sometimes the $2.50 ice cream from the fundraising work fridge. Helps I don’t ‘go past’ shops, I’m not ‘allowed’ to stop in my work vehicle, and my office is a walk to shops.

  • Clarisse @ Reach Financial Independence

    I’m planning this weekend to look for my clothes that I didn’t wear anymore. I have been noticing that I spent too much money for my clothes and end up not wearing it.

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