It's Not Just the Big Ticket Expenses That Get You
I really don't like paying bills. It's not that I struggle with having the money to pay them, it's more that I simply have a poor physical reaction to forking out my hard earned money. I've been this way for as long as I can remember.
The same applies if I am making a large purchase at the store. Most of my recurring bills are on, what I consider, the higher end, say $20 bucks and up each month. I know, some of you are shaking your heads but it's a real thing for me, I swear!
Sometimes you'd think I was handing over a gold plated chalice instead of a crisp $20 to a cashier. I'll clutch onto it until the cashier has to nearly rip the poor thing to get it out of my hands!
To be quite honest, I'm not a fan of sweating over money.
This isn't to say I am a penny-pincher or miser. I feel an area I'd like to improve in is what I consider to be wasteful spending. Oh hey, that candy bar has my name written all over it! My kid would love this toy car, it even lights up! I know it's impulsive, I just haven't cared enough to change it or taken the time to figure out what those choices are truly costing me. My perspective has been askew.
See, those little "impulse" purchases tally up to big bucks over time. A little light-bulb went off the other day and I realized that I don't have the same reaction to spending a few dollars as I do when I part with the big bills. For some reason saying goodbye to a few Washington's or a Lincoln isn't near as consequential as giving up a Jackson or heaven forbid, a Benjamin!
So, in the spirit of saving money, my current challenge to myself is eliminating the little, insignificant purchases. I'm going to try to shift the internal conflict I have towards spending what I consider to be high single type payments into a disdain for the little things that add up. I think I'll certainly be able to save more money and apply higher payments towards any debt I have.
One of my colleagues actually addresses this type of spending in a post he wrote back in 2009 entitled, Minimizing Dollar Dumps.
“I’m not one to say we should eliminate all of these Dollar Dumps from our finances, but we should at least be aware of them and then try to minimize their negative impact on our budgets.
— Todd Christensen, Education Manager at Money Fit by DRS
I'll start by getting back to some very important roots, recording my purchases, reviewing them and then evaluating them. I'll couple it with giving myself somewhat of a ban on convenience stores. If I get fuel, pay at the pump, do I really need to go in?
I suspect it won't take long to see the rewards for my efforts. I'll periodically update my progress and if anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation, or has gotten themselves out of a poor spending habit like I've described, please share in the comments below!