Monday, 28 May 2012

Off the Frugal Rails

I've been off the rails lately: the frugal rails.

I guess I've been pretty stressed, and it's showing up in my spending habits.

How? A lot of lunches bought during the work day instead of bringing lunch from home, giant flat whites bought at the coffee shop almost every day, purchases that I haven't thought through properly (I bought black jeans instead of blue! At least they're still fit for purpose as it were), a t-shirt I didn't even really want for a concert that I'd already spent far too much on a ticket for, and countless convenience meals after work with Perfect Boyfriend.

Thing is, my life is only going to be more stressful for at least the next few months. I started in a new role today, though not a new job as such, and it looks like I'll be far busier than I was in the old role. Given that I was already a tad busier than I can handle, this means I'll be working long hours and I'll be short on "life organisation" time. That's what I call the time you spend cleaning your house, making your own lunches and organising free or cheap dates with your special one. These things take time! Added to my actual work workload will be my uni workload, and my obligations to loved ones, including hosting two baby showers in the next little while.

So what am I going to do to get back on the horse?
  • Remind myself of my budget, which allows plenty of room for discretionary or fun spending. I don't need to spend more than that on fun or convenience.
  • Keep tracking every dollar I spend. I've been doing this for a few years now, and sure everyone tells me that I'm a dag for doing it, but it keeps me on the straight and narrow most of the time.
  • Make up big batches of food on the weekends (when I have time) to help get me through the working week. I recently made a lasagne so large it divided easily into 14 portions, and they'll reheat beautifully from the freezer on cold nights when I'm exhausted after work. I have vegetable quiche in the oven right now, which will provide me with at least eight work lunches.
  • Make sure that if I'm going to spend money on a meal I haven't cooked myself, I make it count. Delicious iku sushi with Emily before our lecture on Tuesday nights? Awesome. Coffee with my lovely friend on Wednesday afternoon? Done. But a slighty disgusting, unsatisfying lunch from the cafe downstairs from my office, eaten at my desk while I reply to emails? So not worth it.
  • Kick the coffee habit (again). I don't need it and I don't think it actually adds value to my life. It just wastes money and adds to the waistline.
  • Make sure that I spend lots of time with Perfect Boyfriend that involves spending little or no money. Cooking for each other and watching DVDs is a great date in my book - possibly because we both love to cook - but just as special are all the little ways we can spend time together. I walked him home from work tonight! And it was great. Other plans? Picnics, long walks around the river and afternoon teas with our families.
  • Avoid the shops. Full stop.
Does anyone have good tips for me on how to break the spending cycle?


  1. You're not the only one. I've been spending money on snacks, boots, books, DVDs, etc. :(

    1. It's so hard to stop once you get into that habit! I know it's not at critical levels (i.e. I'm still saving money) but I really need to get back on track.

      Do you have any tricks for ending the cycle of spending too much?

  2. 1) Not carrying any money/plastic helps. By the time I've transferred/withdrawn/gone home to get the cash, I can't be bothered going back to the store to buy .

    2) Thinking of all the things I actually need to spend money on (i.e. new tyres for the car, vaccinations, etc.) puts things in perspective also.

    3) Avoiding shops, especially ones where an item will set you back a couple of hundred bucks. One can only resist so much temptation.