I have been writing about personal finance (as in, my own) for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve had some financial success – paying off my consumer debt, purchasing a new home – and some blogging success – mentioned in the New York Times, interviewed on television and on radio – but the truth is: I still buy stuff I do not need.
I also use unnecessary dashes and commas when I write, but that’s a topic for another day.
Convenience Items – I am a sucker for anything that makes life easier. I tend to spend too much on convenience items – because, you know, they’re convenient.
Tools – I love new tools, used tools, old tools, broken tools, cheap tools, and expensive tools. My woodworking skills are minimal, at best, but I love hanging in the shop and building stuff. The problem is – I’ll buy tools, just to own them. While not a complete waste, I do have to pace myself.
Entertainment – Dude, we went to one of those 3D-surround-cinemas the other night – and we were out nearly $100 for the 5 of us! (The movie, by the way, was awesome.) My kids are still young, but growing up so fast, that it’s easy to justify the expense. (They’ll only be young once…) But, I need to do a better job of finding inexpensive, but still awesome, things to do.
Snacks – Again, we have three kids – and it’s super-simple to pull into the convenience store, pick up a few snacks, and head down the road. Obviously, this isn’t the healthiest thing in the world (although, I will say, my kids are all in very good shape, and eat less junk food than I did at their ages). We’re working on packing healthy snacks, prior to trips and vacations, as well as for school lunches.
Entertaining – This one is a little different. We often have folks over to our home – and I often am in charge of large group outings – and I tend to over-spend when preparing meals and get-togethers. (On some level, even though I’m a guy, I think I would make a pretty decent grandmother.) I like for folks to be comfortable when they come over, so I always buy more-than-enough. I’m not so sure this is a bad thing, so I’m not going to beat myself up over this one. Sharing a meal with friends or family is one of life’s great blessings.
I’m a relatively frugal person, but I do have areas where I struggle and I still buy stuff I do not need. How about you? Do you have any areas where you are not as frugal as you’d like to be? Leave a comment below or via Twitter @NCN.
Side note – For me, if I know I have an area where I might spend more than I should – I don’t ignore it. I put it in the budget. If I’m going to spend more than I “should” – I, at a minimum, want to plan for it. The last thing I want to do is over-spend, and use credit. Worst-case, I pay cash and it’s in the budget.