Today we welcome back our normal Tuesday contributor, Catherine Alford!
We all have budget drains. You know what I mean: that delicious mocha latte at Starbucks each morning, the expensive gym membership, or the weekly manicure.
Budget drains tend to be the little things that we don’t want to go without, yet they add up in surprising numbers at the end of the year.
My Budget Drain
My biggest budget drain is definitely eating out. I’m an okay cook, but I really don’t enjoy it. In fact, one of the reasons I fell in love with my husband is that he can make some seriously awesome food. I honestly thought I had won the lottery with him.
When we got married, I had visions of kicking back and enjoying some homemade spaghetti, when in reality he started going to medical school and all the cooking duties fell to me.
My grand solution to this problem was grabbing a wrap or a smoothie for the both of us and counting that as a meal. However, after a few months of this regimen, my bank account really started to dwindle. I made a lot of excuses about how busy we were, telling myself that eating out was okay for two people who work as hard as we do.
Yet, excuses are the one thing that can hold us back financially, and eventually I came to my senses.
Today, I spend about half as much on food as I did in the early days. I started to meal plan a lot more, which reduced my tendency to stand in front of the fridge with the door open wondering what I was going to make.
I found a new best friend in my crock pot, which I use several times throughout the week mostly without a recipe. I just throw some chicken and a sauce in there and then heat up some veggies to go with it. (I’m sure all of you are just going to beg me for a dinner invitation now!)
This has saved me so much money, and I have a better sense of accomplishment too, knowing that we are saving money and being more cognizant about what we spend on food.
Conquering Your Budget Drains
When it comes to your own budget drains, there are a few ways that you can get around them. First, track your spending to see where your money is going. If you notice that you spend a lot on entertainment, perhaps choose a weekend to stay in instead of going out. If you buy a lot of clothes, maybe take some time to organize your closet and see what you really need.
By completing these tasks, you can figure out not only how much you spend on your budget drain but also how much you really rely on it. Once you know this, you can then decide how much to cut back.
Trust me, it might seem like those small little luxuries are necessary parts of your day, but the ultimate goal should be financial independence.
What are your budget drains?