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8 Things I Still Waste Money On (Upon Which I Still Waste Money? Who Cares?)

8 Things I Still Waste Money On (Upon Which I Still Waste Money? Who Cares?)

I haven’t really been on my personal financial game of late. Oh sure, we’re still using our household budget, and I’ve even been cooking dinner with my new menu plan that I totally ripped off from Simple Mom (nope, not ready to link her yet, still in denial). But there’s a little leeway in our budget at present, in the form of my monthly “pocket money,” and I’ve been finding that I get lazy about using this money. The amount I get from month to month stays the same unless we have a really bad month, so I’m not increasing the overall expenditures by using this pocket money in full. But if I cut back on the smaller, “incidental” purchases that I make with this pocket money, I could bank it and either 1) leave a little more room for snowflaking in the next month; or 2) bank it and save up for something I really want for the house (like a new armchair for our bedroom).

So why do I keep failing at this? I don’t know. I guess it’s mostly laziness, or the feeling of getting a treat now and then. I’ve decided to list the things that I squander this money on–kind of an after-the-fact financial forensics lab. Maybe if I pinpoint exactly where and when this money is flying out of my pocket, I can put a stop to it.

  1. Gum, candy, etc. at the gas station. Do I really need this? I certainly don’t need the calories.
  2. Diet coke at Target. Why not just wait until I get home? Or, better yet, grab a can out of the eighty five million 12-packs I just bought? Dunno.
  3. Videos for Mini. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting videos for Mini on occasion, but I tend to buy him so many when I could use our Roku thingy more often if I would just think of it.
  4. Other crap and toys for Mini. Basically, I’m always buying this kid stuff. New clothes, shoes, the odd toy here or there. It always seems like a better deal to buy him stuff, since he can get a cool shirt for so much less than I can.
  5. Water and sports drinks at the gym. This is just awful. I forget a bottle of water when I leave the house, and I end up paying $3 or $4 for it at the gym–highway robbery. I need to buy a case of water and put it in my car to avoid this.
  6. Bean burritos at Taco Bell. I’ve been going through a phase where I eat a Taco Bell burrito and a diet coke for lunch. I could just go home and make a bean burrito with the tortillas, beans, and cheese we have at home. Oh, and pop a diet coke. But for some reason, I get in my car to go to Taco Bell.
  7. Gas to get to Taco Bell to get a burrito. Please see above.
  8. Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks.

What do you spend money on that you wish you didn’t?

Comments (11)

  1. weezy
    Mar 24, 2009

    I don’t have a problem with it. Your pocket money is your pocket money. And my reason to get fast food is not about having/not having the food in the house, it’s not dealing with the prep & cleanup that I sometimes don’t want to take on.

    Oh, and in my snowflaking news, I got my settlement check yesterday from a class action suit against Airborne cold medicine (had forgotten completely about it, I filed about a year ago), so there’s another $29.50 toward my tax liability. And I’m considering having a yard sale next month — declutter and profit!

  2. Mar 24, 2009

    Weezy, you’re totally blowing me away with the snowflaking! I’ve got to get off my ass.

  3. weezy
    Mar 24, 2009

    I’m short-term-goal oriented. With long-term goals, I soon go wandering off behind all the little animals. So, your idea of snowflaking your mortgage would be far too long term for me to stay focused (and there are no penalties for *not* doing it, either). I need the more immediate carrot & stick.

  4. Mar 24, 2009

    that makes sense.

  5. Mar 24, 2009

    I also get the Diet Coke at Target. I only WISH I got the bean burrito at Taco Bell (which, if I remember right, is like 99 cents or something), but instead, I go to Noodles and Company, where a bowl, pop, and cookie are around $9. I think it’s not so much the food as the chance to eat away from the kids, so I won’t have to get up and get water, clean up spills, sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” etc.

    I also buy way too much stuff for the kids–especially clothes. It is way more fun to buy little shorts and bathing suits in a kid’s size 3T than in a women’s size 12.

    Books are my other weakness. I am trying to like the library, but it’s not really working that well. I like owning the books. I tried Bookswim (like Netflix for books–it is AWESOME), but that was one of the expenses I had to cut when I stopped working.

  6. Mar 24, 2009

    Ahh, books! I also spend too much on books, though not so much lately.

  7. AKD
    Mar 24, 2009

    We go to a lot of stupid movies that we probably should not be paying full price for, or even matinee price, which is like $8 now. We also rack up the late fees at the video store by forgetting to take movies back. And it seems like a third of the movies we get on pay-per-view we stop watching because they are so lame.
    But I’m impressed you can still eat at Taco Bell. I used to love it, but once I hit about 30, it started repeating on me. Maybe you just need to steal a bunch of Taco Bell hot sauce packets so the burritos you make at home will be extra delicious.

  8. Mar 24, 2009

    My stomach is pretty much made of iron.

    The worst part is that I don’t even use the hot sauce! I hate it. I just get beans and cheese. So freaking lazy.

  9. weezy
    Mar 24, 2009

    I think my biggest money waster is steak. If I can’t remember what’s in the fridge or it doesn’t appeal, I’ll stop at the store on the way home and pick up a nice steak (not some cheapie cut) because it’s so easy to cook up. But I’d spend half as much (or less!) going to a great little Pakistani carry-out and getting an order of chaat papri that’s tastier and better for me and no clean up to do.

    Got my booklet on the tax stimulus, and I’ll be bringing home another $18-$22 each paycheck, and just found out I’ve picked up a weekend of work, so I’ll have another nice little wad of money to throw at the tax bill from that. It looks like I won’t have to hit the emergency fund at all to pay the IRS.

  10. Mar 25, 2009

    For us it is, hands down, take-out. Granted we know this about ourselves and budget accordingly, but still…some months I look at our “budget table/record” and think that a lot of that money could still be in our pockets if I just used my crock-pot more. Unfortunately the amazing Indian food always wins over my quest for fiscal responsibility. I like to believe I make up for it by using a night of take-out and a NetFlix movie as a “date night” vs. eating our, going to a movie, getting coffee and paying a babysitter, but I may just be kidding myself.

  11. Mar 28, 2009

    I throw money at my kids’ school (and was much relieved when I didn’t win a single bid I put in at the silent auction Friday night). I also lost a ton of money to Girl Scout Cookies. Rather than chase down some folks who took cookies without paying, I just paid to make my world “easier”. I also shouldn’t be renting or buying DVDs when I could get them free through the library. And I’ve neglected to turn in receipts to work because I know they are in a budget crunch. Oh, this is depressing. I’d have to say only that first item gives me any sort of emotional boost.

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