I recently read an article on the Dave Ramsey blog about the top 10 things people waste their money on. It got me thinking about wasteful spending in general, and how much of it went on in our household during this past year. It’s good to periodically review habits and see where thing may have gone off course and as we begin the new year, now might be a good time as any to review spending habits to make sure you start off 2016 on the right track.
Wasteful Spending According to Dave
10. Shipping Charges – Upgraded shipping charges to revive item sooner
9. Timeshares – $16,000 on average.
8. Name-Brand paper products – paper towels, napkins, paper plates, etc
7. Car wash upgrades – all the extras like wax, sealer, protective coating, etc
6. Car leasing – Average car lease in 2015 – $405 a month
5. Car payments – Average car payment in 2015 – $483 a month
4. Daily coffee trips – Starbucks anyone?
3. Gym memberships – Average membership cost in 2015 – $58 a month
2. Ziosk tablets – Those little tablets on restaurant tables
1. Student loans – 2015 college grad will back an average of $35,000 each.
Here’s how we did with Dave’s top 10:
10, Shipping Charges – I don’t upgrade shipping charge, and often look for merchants that offer free shipping.
9. Timeshares – I was tempted to buy a time share when our three children were younger, but educated myself on them and never gave it a second thought.
8. Name-Brand paper products – We buy in bulk as Costco.
7. Car wash upgrades – I wash my cars at home, even in the winter, unless of course it’s below freezing.
6. Car leasing – We paid cash for our cars.
5. Car payments – We paid cash for our cars.
4. Daily coffee trips – We do treat ourselves to coffee one and awhile. I drink tea and usually make it at home.
3. Gym memberships – If you’ve seen me you would never accuse me of being at the gym. My oldest son does have a membership and regularly attends.
2. Ziosk tablets – Sorry we have plenty of free games on our Smartphones.
1. Student loans– No student loan debt for us. We are educating our three children and saving to not become part of this statics.
I think we did pretty well, no major budget buster in the ten categories Dave listed. I want to dig in a bit more and see what areas we might be overlooking in our day-to-day.
Spending is Relative
I believe the way someone spends their money should be relative to their overall net worth, income, current financial situation, and convenience. Someone may see an indulgence on eating lunch out as wasteful spending, while someone else may view that same purchase as a reward, and yet a third person may view it as a planned expense.
We recently took a trip into New York City and we have two options to make the trip in, either drive in and park or take the train. Typically the drive will cost about $65-75, parking, tolls, gas, etc. now the train for our family of five can run from $130 to $145 depending it we take peak or off-peak trains. We decided to take the train, the higher cost of the two options. The reason we did was out of convenience because we were making the trip mid-week and wanted to avoid the traffic, both car and foot while in NYC and we had the budget to do so. Could some view the additional cost as wasteful spending? I’m sure, but for us it was the right decision.
If we were still in debt payoff mode I doubt we would have made the trip into NYC altogether, we would have saved the money and put it towards out debt snowball. That’s the point spending is relative to situation. Our current situation gave us the ability to spend a little extra on convenience, but yet some might still view it as wasteful. So if you want the Starbuck coffee, go for it. I won’t judge.
The one area that I know we need to try to do a better job in the New Year is with food. We are organized with shopping list, and use some coupons, and buy products on sale, but often at the end of the week end up throwing some unused, left over or spoiled food away. I can feel the money being thrown right out to the curb. We try to buy less when we shop since we make a trip or two to the store each week, we utilize freezing fresh food to have on hand, but still seem to come up with food we end up throwing away. I would think with three teenagers that there would be nothing left, but we have some picker eaters who seem to be afraid of anything green. So in 2016 we will try to do a better job with our food and avoid wasteful spending in that area..
Are you guilty of any of Dave’s 10 wasteful spending habits? What spending habits do you need to rein in for the New Year? Any thoughts on how I can minimize our food waste?