Financial Friday: 3 Ways We Rein in Our Discretionary Spending

Husband and I have conceived of a lot of ways to make sure we don’t spend too much each month. We are making all our payments, and we are saving some, so it can be tempting to think that whatever is left we can just spend till it is gone – but we’d love to live well within our means, since you never know how long both of us will keep our current jobs.

To do this, though, we don’t want to completely cut money-related fun from our lives. So we’ve been making a lot of decisions based on 3 questions that I think most of us could stand to use, even if you have more than enough money in the bank.

Does this bring me closer to people I care about? What I’ve realized is that many of the things I consider spending money on are things that I could easily exchange for other ways to be happy – going for walks, cooking at home, watching movies we already have in the collection, working in my garden. What I do want to spend money on, though, are fun (or just novel!) experiences with friends and family. I wouldn’t spend 40 dollars on a ticket to an amusement park by myself, but I try to let go of the purse strings when it only applies to me.

Will this be a momentary or lasting part of my life? I see grabbing fast food on my way home from work as a momentary pleasure – nothing wrong with it, but the investment value is so much lower than a copy of a book I loved, or a yoga class that will give me new moves I can try at home. For things that are more likely to be momentary pleasures, I tend to try to use coupons or shop secondhand (not for fast food, haha), because I know I don’t mind scrimping a little on the temporary things.

Is this the time, or can I sit on the idea for a couple weeks? Most of the time, anything that isn’t needed right this minute for an urgent purchase is a good thing for me to think on for 2 weeks. Often, the caprice of wanting to buy a new thing will pass in 2 weeks, and if it doesn’t, I’ve usually thought of a zillion other good reasons to buy it, which makes me more confident. Not to mention, 2 weeks is long enough to figure out where the cheapest place to get it is, and what discounts might apply.

So you see, I don’t really deny myself per se, but I try to prioritize, and I’m always thinking about whether I’d prefer to save that much money or spend it on this thing. After all, it is a zero-sum game, and I want to think about the alternatives to making these choices. It has served me well so far, though I can always afford to be more prudent. I think we are all in that boat.

6 Comments, RSS

  1. My Way Home Life September 22, 2017 @ 2:44 pm

    I love the idea of waiting before purchasing. My husband and I do that all the time, especially with major purchases, and it always saves us money. Sometimes we decide we don’t need the item at all.

  2. cheetarah1980 September 23, 2017 @ 11:59 am

    Have you tried mystery shopping? It’s a great way to enjoy entertainment activities at no cost and make a few bucks as well.

    • lauramleavitt September 23, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

      Actually JUST did it for the first time – so fun! I want to do it more now. I signed up at shadowshopper – do you have a recommendation for a good mystery shopping site?

      • openmouthsgetfed September 23, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

        I use Intelli-shop the most. They have a good variety of shops. BestMark is ok. I’ve done a waxing shop with Secret Shopper. I’m trying out Amusement Advantage for fun activities like mini golf and museum trips. Their evaluations are super detailed and can take a couple of hours to fill out.

  3. Soul Gifts September 26, 2017 @ 5:51 am

    Good questions to ponder on. It’s easy to impulse buy and end up with ‘stuff’. But I am also mindful not to tun into a Scrooge and take all the joy out life !

  4. luxuriouslythrifty September 28, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

    I like the question “will it bring me closer to something I care about”? I personally don’t struggle with soending so anything that ticks that box would normally get done without a second thought. I’ve realised lately that I’m too much of a yes person not to add another level of scrutiny and that is “is there any way I can get closer to this person but spend less”?

    Last week I managed to keep a night out with two sets of friends thrifty by not drinking and cycling there. There were even free canapés at one of the events so I didn’t get to spend a thing but fostered some good relationships.

Comments are closed.


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

%d bloggers like this: