Is your weakness breaking the budget?

I’ve just asked my husband what he thinks our weakness is and he says take-away food and alcohol.  I agree.

They are the things likely to send our budget off the rails.

I then asked whether he is willing to give up takeaway and alcohol for one year to save money? … “No!  Absolutely not.  No way”, he says!

I agree that everything has a price.  So I start asking him … would you give them up for an overseas holiday? or an integrated beer keg? (his dream)

He starts getting cranky with me … I’m asking these questions while the football is on!

The concept of saving and sacrifice is something I am familiar with.  When your budget is tight, it’s unlikely you are going to splurge on a luxury item like fancy designer boots, a weekend mini-break with room service, a 5 star silver service dinner with limo service or my husbands dream … an integrated beer keg system (urgh)!  Who can justify things like that when you’re struggling to pay a mortgage/rent, buy groceries and clothe the family!

The only way I could justify buying my dream item, is to specifically set it as a goal and either work harder to earn extra money for it, sell things for it, or save for it.

However, when you feel like there is nothing left to put aside … what do you do?

First of all, make it visual.  Put together a scrapbook or folder with a collage of photos, ideas and notes of your dream item.  If it’s something as simple as a pair of boots, then simply post photos of your dream boots in your wardrobe, on the fridge, on your desk at work.  These photos and scrapbooks are to serve as reminders and inspiration to stick with your plan.

The Plan.  Work out how you’re going to achieve your dream.  Will it be to earn extra money, sell items, save, all of the above, or something else!?  Whatever it is … make it debt free.  Don’t fall into the trap of borrowing or loaning money for a non-essential luxury item.

To achieve something I never thought I’d have … I could give up takeaway and alcohol.  Not easily though.  I’m very addicted to my weekly treats, but I could certainly be persuaded to give them up for a one off luxury that I wouldn’t even dream of getting normally.  Particularly when I do a chart (like the one below) and work out how much money I could have after just one year.

How much do you spend on your treats?

Let’s see how much money you could potentially save … here are some examples.  Maybe you could save even more!

Item

Per Week / Per Person

Per Year

Coffee$17.50$910
Magazines$6.95$361.40
Take-away Food$20.00$1040
Gambling$5.00$260
Cigarettes$30.00$1560
Alcohol$15.00$780

** when doing your calculation – remember to calculate how much you spend per couple, or per family

Now $1000 may not seem a lot of money to put aside to give up your favourite treat.  But just think how proud you’ll feel when you can buy that one luxury item that you never thought you’d own.  After just one year!  I’m thinking “this time next year, I could have a Hot Red KitchenAid”.  Yeh, big thrills you say … but at the moment, there is no way I could afford one.  So what have I really got to lose?

Tracking.  Together with your scrapbook and photos for inspiration, you need to track your savings.  Every pay day, or end of month, you will get a thrill to see how much money you’ve put aside, and you will be one month closer to your goal.  Make your “tracking” visual again by putting a copy on the fridge or next to your scrapbook to serve as a reminder and inspiration.

Fail.  If you fall by the wayside and have a terrible month with your savings, then don’t stress yourself, and most importantly, do not quit!  We all have those moments when life takes us by surprise and we have a setback with our plans.  Just try not to have it happen too often, and get back on that horse and keep going!

Spend and enjoy!  Before you know it, twelve months have flown by and you have cash to flash!  Congratulate yourself, spend up and enjoy the thrill of having achieved your goal.  Then you can sit down and work out whether you want to go back to your old habits, or whether you want to go through the exercise again and enjoy another treat the following year!

Tell me … what is your weakness … and what is it worth to you?

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Written by Alison

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2 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how much we do spend on these things right ;)?
    I’m comfortable with the amount of money I spend on these things although could certainly cut back

    • The Thrifty Issue

      It’s certainly eye opening when we sit down and look at what we spend on things. It’s great you are comfortable with how you are spending.

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