“It’s just a $5 latte.” “It’s just a $10 lunch.” “It’s just a $20 t-shirt.” It’s so easy to justify small purchases, but we all know those small purchases can add up. Beware of those little expenses. Don’t let small leaks sink your big dreams.
Let me know how you are making small savings count in the comments.
That’s easy: creating a zero based budget and tracking all expenditures. Doing that shows quickly how all those little things add up!
I just created a budget spreadsheet for the first time. All I did was look through my account activity online every day or two and put each expense into categories such as food and beverage, groceries, gas, bills, etc. so that I could see how much I was spending in each category every month. I made a separate column for Dutch Bros coffee which led me to the horrifying realization that a couple months ago I spent $60 there in one month. It sounds like a really simple thing but seeing it all laid out like that has made such a huge difference. I’ve been doing it for about a month and I haven’t gotten fast food once since I started because I don’t want to have to enter it into the spreadsheet!
I think I have mentioned this in a comment on a previous post somewhere, but I always think if the purchase I think I want to make is helping me in my greater goal. Paying off my massive student loans and car loan will 1. be a huge accomplishment, and 2. help me be more of the person I want to be (debt free!). So when I think about getting a coffee from Starbucks before work or getting a new summer nail polish color from Ulta, I always make myself think, “Ok, Katie-is this really going to help you be where you want to be??” I mean, coral nail polish is H-O-T, but having a ton of debt I can’t get away from? Not so much.
The Little Things. This is absolutely where I get so caught up, from that $5 latte, to the box of grocery store ice cream I don’t really need (every week). It’s actually something I do when I start to get discouraged about my money situation, I buy little treats. I have some caffeinated retail therapy. But you’re right, these are the things that really add up. (I’ve been through this before.) Must keep an eye on those nickles and dimes.
I ask a series of questions now before I buy something that is under 100 dollars.
If it is clothing or shoes: How much do I love this piece of clothing? How many things can it go with? Is it good quality (because cheap and on sale is not always the best deal)? Am I doing stressed or depressed right now and am I using this for retail therapy? (If I have a gift card someone gave me) Can a similar item be bought with a gift card that I have?