My spending has gone crazy over the past few months. A new set of gears for my bike ($90), yards of brown suede for new curtains ($88), two new outfits for a trip to NYC ($152), and a pricey sushi lunch ($34).
Sure, I have reasons behind each purchase (I’m doing a race in May that requires additional gears, buying fabric is cheaper than buying curtains, I had a gift card and a rare coupon for the clothing store, and I hadn’t seen my friend in months), but this kind of spending is not sustainable.
My credit card bill, which I pay off in full each month, has risen on average by a few hundred dollars. Not good. Here are two things I’m doing to shift my habits downward.
1. I only buy groceries on Wednesday. I started this two weeks ago and it has made me more aware of how much money I’m spending on food because it is easier to remember my total purchases from one day. Two weeks ago I spent $92 at Trader Joe’s, which included many staple items, beer, and wine. Last week I spent $27 on groceries. My target weekly grocery spending is $25.
Toward the end of the cycle I challenge myself to create tasty meals with what is left and finish off the last vegetables before they go bad. There is a lot you can do with beans, onions, and garlic!
2. I single out an item on my credit card statement that I didn’t have to buy. This month the dubious honor goes to an $8.10 purchase at Stamps.com. I got sucked into their $100 offer for newbies: sign up and get a $5 supplies kit, $45 in free postage (which is strung out over four months), and a free $50 postage scale (which actually sells for about $20 and is useless after my 30-day trial period unless I join Stamps.com for $16 a month).
I don’t buy enough business postage to make it worthwhile to join Stamps.com for $16 a month. So when I read the fine print the $100 sign-up package evaporated into nothing. At that point, I had already spent $8.10 to get the “free” scale mailed to me. Blerg!
I wish I had been more skeptical of the $100 intro offer, which really was too good to be true. Being greedy cost me $8.10.
What do you wish you hadn’t bought in the past month? Leave a comment and the reader with the best story wins a hot pink BargainBabe.com T-shirt, above. There are only about a dozen left!