Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to waste $190,000

I promised you a rundown of the crazy ways I used to spend money. I’ve listed my vices in order of the worst offenders. "Estimated monthly cost" refers to the extra amount of money I was spending each month, beyond what I think is reasonable – money that could have easily been saved:

  • Overspending on gifts. Once I was making good money, I felt obligated to buy people expensive gifts on special occasions. I figured they were probably tired of my old, “thoughtful gift” ways. Estimated monthly cost averaged over year: $100.

  • Eating out and drinks. I didn't have a set budget in this category, so I just ate out whenever I felt like it. I've never been extravagant in this regard, but prioritizing would have helped me spend my money more wisely, on things I really wanted to do. Estimated monthly cost: $80.

  • Buying lunch almost every day. My lack of planning extended to the culinary realm; I'd cook dinner but wouldn't make enough leftovers for the next day. Estimated monthly cost (over what it would have cost to make my lunch): $80.

  • Too many taxis. I was always running late and my solution was to simply call a cab. Estimated monthly cost: $75.
  • A gym membership I barely ever used. This was just plain stupid. There is a gym in my building for heaven's sake. Estimated monthly cost: $70.
  • Too much money spent on groceries and too much wasted food. I didn't read fliers or plan my grocery list efficiently. Estimated monthly cost: $50.

  • Desperation purchases. Oh sure, I'd be running out of toilet paper for a week, but I wouldn't think about buying some more until panic had set in. This almost always resulted in paying an inflated price. I didn't just do this with toilet paper, either - I did it with almost everything. Estimated monthly cost: $30.

  • Pet overspending. Does any dog really require a $12 bag of organic treats? That is not an existential question. Estimated monthly cost: $30.

  • Overdue fines and late fees. I have actually been so lax in this regard that there were a few times I spent so much on overdue fines for a book, it would have practically been cheaper to buy the book. (Hangs head in shame.) Estimated monthly cost: $10.

  • Forgetting to buy my TTC pass and then having to pay an extra fare. Never mind the time wasted standing in line if you wait until the first of the month. Estimated monthly cost: $3.

Grand totals: $528.00 wasted per month, which equals $6,336.00 per year. That would equal $190,080 over the next 30 years - not counting interest.

Looking at this list, I realize that I wasn’t spending a lot of money on “stuff,” at least not for myself. It was more about lack of budgeting and planning. Disorganization can cost you a lot!

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