Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh . Money... You . Silly . Thing

Money is sort of like a dirty word, and for me almost always evokes negatives. There are loads of people who don't have near what I have, and I can usually only focus on what I want instead of what I've already got. This may be because we live in a world where it's so easy to see what others have: vacations, nice houses, expensive televisions, designer clothes, fancy cars, etc.

So I'm always thinking, "Why can't I have a vacation to Bora Bora when all of these other people can?" Or, "Why can't I afford to spend more on a house, when all of these other people are doing it?"

And yet, I have so much. We own a house, have two cars, we both have jobs, I have a nice collection of bags, a full closet, we go out to eat... but I must be a glass half empty girl, but it's never satisfying enough.

So I've decided to really, truly, honestly, absolutely, give a go at something: having fewer things that you appreciate more is better.

For a couple of years now, I've wanted a Chanel jumbo flap:

But it's a really expensive bag, and so I haven't bought it. Well, I've been trying to save for it, but THEY KEEP INCREASING THE PRICE!! (a tiny little curse at you Chanel!). So it's getting to the point where it's now or never. And quite frankly, one bag that I really love is a lot better than a dozen bags that are nice, but not perfect. BUT, here's what this means: (and this first one hurts a bit) I have to sell some bags that I don't really need/use. And absolutely no more spending just to spend. And I'm going to make sure we spend more wisely.

1. Food: Yesterday I looked at our finances, and on average (between the grocery store and take-out), we spend $600/month on food for two people. That's just over $7,000/year. And then I looked in the refrigerator and cleaned out about $80.00 worth of food that had gone to waste. After taking stock of what we had, I realized we could make meals for the next five days, with only having to spend $17.00 at the grocery store to supplement what's already in our house. If we cut back to $300/month, we'll save tons and not waste so much.

Savings = $3,500.00/year

2. Random Shopping: When I feel bad, I shop, and then I feel better. Because of this I have a closet of stuff I wear a couple of times and then never look at again. A good rule: if you wouldn't pay full price for it, don't buy it just because it's on sale. I spend maybe $200/month on stuff like this. And I don't need any of it. This isn't to say that I'll never buy new things, but if I just cut back to what I really need and what will last? A huge step forward.

Savings = $1,200.00/year

3. Starbucks: Yes, Starbucks gets its own category. I pop in 2-3 times/week, when I could make coffee at home for a hell of a lot less, and also not get all tweeky from the espresso. A coffee from Starbucks once or twice a month is more than enough.

Savings = $575.00/year

So just by cutting back on those three things, we can put away just over $5,000.00 more every year.

Hello larger nest egg and occasional vacation!

So I'm going to cut back, take stock, clean out, and move forward. Wish me luck!!


C said...

Really impressed with your mapped out strategy! Lately I've been taking stock and really feeling a need to re-think my buying methods. I think its time I started to focus on buying one or two special items that may cost more in place of 'disposable' pieces that accumulate worryingly but may not last. Good luck with that bag!

PrettyDamnCute said...

Sounds like a good plan. My problem is owning a vintage shop and running a fashion blog make me browse, which makes me lust, which eventually turns into shopping. Best of luck with your plan, I am not a woman of such strong character (at least when retail is concerned...luckily, I mostly buy used!)

drollgirl said...

this is smart! this will work!!!

i am guilty of wasting so much in the food department, and i buy a lot of stuff on sale, and it doesn't always get worn much. i need to make do with more of what i have, rather than always chasing after new stuff.

i save a bundle by bringing my lunch to work. $5-$12 x 5 days a week adds up pretty fast.

and i recently cut out caffeine, so i am saving a bundle by not getting iced teas constantly.

in some ways it is fun to try and save money. :)

KristiMcMurry said...

Good luck! Budgeting is so hard. I've been keeping up with what I spend money on for the last 3 months and I'm finally getting a sense of what I really need to cut back on.

I miss the days when all I had to worry about was getting my $20 allowance on Friday.

ItsAllAboutTheCats said...

It is very hard in this "seeing everyone on television get everything they want - no matter what it costs - NOW" world to realize that is not necessarily a good thing! I love HGTV but every first time home buyer on those shows spends $300,000.00 on their first house! Who can do that?? Good luck - I think you have a great plan and will find that you are actually much happier with less - but really loving the things you have.

Anonymous said...

great post - I especially agree with #2! I used to spend way more than needed on fast fashion and almost always regretted it. Better to save and then use a portion for investment fashion!