Author Topic: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak  (Read 4220 times)

Libertea

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Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« on: January 12, 2017, 05:44:23 PM »
So looking through all these gauntlet threads makes me laugh at times, because I'm going, really, people have a hard time not throwing away money on X, Y, or Z thing that I never bother to spend money on?  Of course, there are other things that I spend too much money on that others would probably react to in the same exact way.  So I thought it would be interesting to have a gauntlet thread for anyone who is interested to post their financial Achilles' heel, and what they're doing to work on it.

Mine is buying books.  Don't get me wrong: I belong to the library (actually, two libraries), and I have access to more free books than I can ever hope to read in a lifetime even though I'm the kind of person who typically reads 2-3 books per week.  I am also a member of Amazon prime, so I have access to their free books too.  But while I have improved with my book buying somewhat since committing to becoming FI, I still spend way more money on books than I should.  Given that I enjoy taking classes for fun, and that many of these classes require books even if the tuition is free (my last employer reimbursed me for the tuition but not the books), and that many textbooks are not available through the library, well, you can see how it is easy for me to rack up hundreds of dollars in book purchases per year. 

Some strategies I'm following this year to try to decrease my book buying expenses:
1) take classes that do not require textbooks
2) evaluate whether it is really necessary to buy the "suggested" book (last semester, I could have easily gotten by without buying it, but I bought it anyway)
3) use gift money from family to buy books (well, I already do this)

Open to other ideas if people have them, and thanks in advance to those who post their financial weak spots here.

minimalistgamer

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 06:12:40 PM »
Good on you for taking up a challenge to better your finances.

Mine was eating out. I have gotten a lot better about it though. Just to give an idea, in 2011 I spent $2038.95 on eating out. In 2016, I spent $881.19. I was able to accomplish this by tracking expenses very closely. This way I know exactly how much is being spent and I was able to change my habits accordingly. It took a while for it to sink in, but I am happy with the results.

If there is one thing I would recommend, it would be to track your expenses as much as possible. It will help you a lot when you have to make decisions.
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Last Night

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 09:53:46 AM »
Alcohol
Home renovations
Tools

The last two are somewhat justifiable because I do everything myself, but even then one project turns into the next, and that becomes something else and $100 trim job turns into $4,500 retrim/redoor the entire F()*&$ing house.  :|

tyort1

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 09:57:28 AM »
Mine is audio equipment.  But this year should be dialed down a lot because there's really not much left to upgrade anymore. 
Frugalite in training.

infromsea

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 05:30:23 PM »
Alcohol
Home renovations
Tools

The last two are somewhat justifiable because I do everything myself, but even then one project turns into the next, and that becomes something else and $100 trim job turns into $4,500 retrim/redoor the entire F()*&$ing house.  :|

Oh boy do I sympathize.

We like beer, good beer, we can easily drop 30 bucks on a couple of micro-brew six packs and/or maybe a variety pack. We have been exploring the trader joes brand (6.50 a six pack and it's brewed by Gordorn Biersch, hell yeah!).

As for home renovation and tools, my habit is to "include" (hide the purchase of) a tool or two when making that "big buy" often required for a project. I've been known to toss in a new circular saw (although it REALLY was time for a new one since the safety mechanisms were broken on the old one...) with a lumber purchase or maybe get the big set of router bits  when I only needed one profile... I'm not breaking the bank but, it's a little bit of financial dis-honesty, if only with myself.

OP, great post!

windypig

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 08:53:49 PM »
I know I have a problem. As a by-product of being "frugal" I have started spending irrational amounts of money on things I perceive to be "buy-it-for-life". This most blatantly reveals itself in my purchases of leather items. For example I bought a ~$500 leather backpack and a $400 piece of luggage. I justify it by saying "its the last one of these I will ever buy" but If I were to be honest with myself I know I could buy something that last as long at 1/10th of the price.

Also tools - being a new homeowner I definitely have had a lot of new tool purchases over the past few years but that seems to slow down as I learn more about what I need and simply having more tools now.

I also spend a fair deal on international travel - but frankly I dont have any reservations about those trips many of which are aided by credit card hacking and done mostly on the cheap.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2017, 12:39:24 AM »

Some strategies I'm following this year to try to decrease my book buying expenses:
1) take classes that do not require textbooks
2) evaluate whether it is really necessary to buy the "suggested" book (last semester, I could have easily gotten by without buying it, but I bought it anyway)
3) use gift money from family to buy books (well, I already do this)

Open to other ideas if people have them, and thanks in advance to those who post their financial weak spots here.

Buy them second hand for last year's students.

I think my personal financial leaks are:
- buying groceries at the wrong supermarket (I just joined another thread to cope with that)
- having a weak spot for sugary products and too often buying a bag of sweets (at least in the past)
- improving my astronomy hobby equipment (you can spend endless money in this hobby)

monstermonster

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2017, 02:19:05 PM »
Totally in, I'm making big efforts in this area this year. Mine is, above and beyond anything else, alcohol. It's my largest discretionary expense other than the gym (which I cut in half this year).
 
I spent $856.42 in 2016:
  • Bars: $492.36
  • Beer/Liquor for Home: $373.06

The ways I am reducing my boozexpense is:
  • Significantly reducing alcohol consumption (currently on 51 day streak of no booze)
  • Taking more advantage of airport lounges with free alcohol during travel when I am drinking (versus airport bar)
  • Provide more exciting non-alcoholic options at events I organize
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 09:05:44 AM by monstermonster »
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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 02:32:41 PM »
Mine is clothes. I love buying clothes and it seems like I constantly have packages arriving at my house because "oh this store was having a sale, I'd be dumb NOT to buy something when it's that cheap."

I have too many clothes. I take up two dressers and 3/4ths of our closet and it's still not enough room.  I'm trying much harder in 2017 not to just randomly buy clothes.

cchrissyy

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2017, 02:42:38 PM »
my leaks are take-out food and drink

regarding your books, do you re-sell them on amazon when you're done?  I don't buy many anymore but when I did, it was sort of a revolving door of buying books and re-selling them, so my true annual cost was the difference.

PS - have you figured out your inter-library loan system options? I only recently discovered how to request books transferred to my city library branch from other city and college systems and it's been wonderful

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2017, 01:18:01 AM »
Mine is clothes. I love buying clothes and it seems like I constantly have packages arriving at my house because "oh this store was having a sale, I'd be dumb NOT to buy something when it's that cheap."

I have too many clothes. I take up two dressers and 3/4ths of our closet and it's still not enough room.  I'm trying much harder in 2017 not to just randomly buy clothes.

Maybe a solution for you would be to take the challenge of not buying any clothes for a whole year. Just to get used to the idea.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2017, 01:21:09 AM »

We like beer, good beer, we can easily drop 30 bucks on a couple of micro-brew six packs and/or maybe a variety pack. We have been exploring the trader joes brand (6.50 a six pack and it's brewed by Gordorn Biersch, hell yeah!).


Why not start brewing yourself. We have been doing so for years and even the first year we managed to make very good beer, like as good as you buy in the shops. I can so recommend it. In matters of ingredients it is really cheap. You just need to invest approx a whole day to make one brew. Plus some time to bottle it or put it into a barrel.

Libertea

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2017, 06:59:30 AM »
my leaks are take-out food and drink

regarding your books, do you re-sell them on amazon when you're done?  I don't buy many anymore but when I did, it was sort of a revolving door of buying books and re-selling them, so my true annual cost was the difference.
No, because I buy most of them electronically these days.  I don't think it's possible to resell a kindle book.  It sure makes packing and moving a lot easier though!

Quote from:
PS - have you figured out your inter-library loan system options? I only recently discovered how to request books transferred to my city library branch from other city and college systems and it's been wonderful
One of the greatest days of my life was when I figured out that I could go online, reserve a book even if it was at my local branch, and one of the library employees would go pull it off the shelf and keep it at the front desk waiting for me.  Or, if it was at another branch, they'd send it over to mine within a few days.  I did draw the line at having them mail the books directly to my home, since I didn't want to cost the library more money....but seriously, reserving books rather than getting them off the shelves myself is like the pinnacle of leisurely laziness.

Mine is clothes. I love buying clothes and it seems like I constantly have packages arriving at my house because "oh this store was having a sale, I'd be dumb NOT to buy something when it's that cheap."

I have too many clothes. I take up two dressers and 3/4ths of our closet and it's still not enough room.  I'm trying much harder in 2017 not to just randomly buy clothes.
Totally in, I'm making big efforts in this area this year. Mine is, above and beyond anything else, alcohol. It's my largest discrestionary expense other than the gym (which I cut in half this year).
 
I spent $856.42 in 2016:
  • Bars: $492.36
  • Beer/Liquor for Home: $373.06

The ways I am reducing my boozexpense is:
  • Significantly reducing alcohol consumption (currently on 51 day streak of no booze)
  • Taking more advantage of airport lounges with free alcohol during travel when I am drinking (versus airport bar)
  • Provide more exciting non-alcoholic options at events I organize
So these are probably the two big things other people spend money on that I just don't get.  I hate shopping for clothes (maybe because it brings back years of power struggles with my mom about how I need new shoes or updated clothes or....), and I generally dislike alcohol (not to mention wanting to avoid the extra calories and sugar) unless it's cheap and sweet.  But I don't drink it much, because I got violently ill the one time I got drunk in college, and even more than two decades later, the aversion therapy is quite strong.  So it's hard for me to identify with overspending on those two items.  Eating out too much I can kind of understand, because that's often a social thing, and some foods that I really like (such as sushi) are hard to make well at home unless you have a source of good raw fish and the proper tools.  Which is why I started this thread, because I was thinking that probably some of you would look at my book buying and have the exact same reaction that I do to other people's clothing and alcohol buying.  Something to the effect of, she's not even a student; why would she choose to "waste" her money on something "ridiculous" like buying textbooks??? :-D

monstermonster

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2017, 07:56:28 AM »
One of the greatest days of my life was when I figured out that I could go online, reserve a book even if it was at my local branch, and one of the library employees would go pull it off the shelf and keep it at the front desk waiting for me.  Or, if it was at another branch, they'd send it over to mine within a few days. 
I agree that is my favorite most magical part of my life ever! Man, when I live out in the woods and had to go 25 miles into town to hit the library, I would occasionally ask other folks to pick up my library books on hold when they went into town. They would come back and be like "I didn't know you were writing a dissertation!"

Just so you know, ILL isn't actually getting books sent from within your own library system - ILL is a system many libraries (particularly academic) have access to, which allows free reserves & shipping for checking books out from libraries in the system - they may be halfway across the country! They even have their own courier service. I actually worked in the system for 3 years when I was in college, doing the book ordering, and just so you know, it is marginally "free" to the library, meaning they pay a fee to be part of the system that doesn't go up based on the books they are requesting - most of the time. Some networks costs $5-50 a book to the library.

Your public library most likely charges a fee to do this - academic libraries are almost always free for ILL - though some public libraries are still free. This means it's not the cheapest thing unless the book is rare or expensive. Even with a $10 fee, though, getting law books out that cost $200 if I were to buy them on my own, makes it worth it.  Could cut your costs a bit if you want/need pricier books.
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My podcast about money stress - and glitter - check it out (and maybe leave a review so the iTunes gods love me?)

monstermonster

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2017, 08:03:54 AM »
Which is why I started this thread, because I was thinking that probably some of you would look at my book buying and have the exact same reaction that I do to other people's clothing and alcohol buying.  Something to the effect of, she's not even a student; why would she choose to "waste" her money on something "ridiculous" like buying textbooks??? :-D
Hey, no judgements here! We all have our own path to walk.  We are all fucked up about money in our own ways.

I did a radio show about this awhile back, but it's all about your values & your priorities. Fitness is a thing I spend a fair amount of money on, because I value it. A regular fitness program is part of my values - I value my health and I value the community of a gym. I also work from home 5 days a week, so the gym forces me to get out of the house every day. I’m a former competitive athlete and coach, so I know what I need. When it comes to fitness, I know what works for me and I’m willing to pay for it.

I have made the choice to make my budget reflect my values. I am willing to spend a little less in other areas - not dining out, renting a smaller home, not owning a car, in order to splurge on the things that reflects my VALUES. I can't imagine living out in the burbs and spending 10-15% of my takehome plus hours of my life each day on owning, driving and maintaining a car. That doesn't mean it's a bad choice for someone else - it can be reflective of their values (or it could be their personal leak).

Personal financial leaks are just the same - what you want to change is based on your priorities and your spending habits - notice I spend more on fitness each month than alcohol, but I have no desire to cut that back.

The questions that are most important when spending money is "Why did I spend money on that? What value of mine does that align with? Did that purchase improve my life? Did it make me happier?" You need to get value. Obviously books are of value to you, but perhaps a feeling of shame is wrapped around purchasing them because you feel like you should be doing "better".

Money is personal. Budgets are not cookie cutter.
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Miasmata

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2017, 08:59:27 AM »
Alcohol
Home renovations
Tools

The last two are somewhat justifiable because I do everything myself, but even then one project turns into the next, and that becomes something else and $100 trim job turns into $4,500 retrim/redoor the entire F()*&$ing house.  :|

Oh boy do I sympathize.

We like beer, good beer, we can easily drop 30 bucks on a couple of micro-brew six packs and/or maybe a variety pack. We have been exploring the trader joes brand (6.50 a six pack and it's brewed by Gordorn Biersch, hell yeah!).


Another way to fix this -- I bought a chest freezer for $20 off of Craigslist and an aquarium thermostat for $15 off of ebay.  Replaced the thermostat so that I could keep it at beer temperature.

Bought $15 of wood and built a collar, used a gift certificate form my birthday to buy two taps and couplers for kegs to stick on it.  Go to the beer place and get a Sanke keg of sweet, sweet wonderful craft beer for $60, which holds about 50-60 drinks worth depending upon how much head you like on the beer.  Lots of times the local award winning places have their award winning beers for less than $60 a keg.  Stuff that's double-digit per 6-pack, so decent savings.  For a lot of beers though it's about break-even.  As always, gotta see the prices and be frugal about it.

My beer budget has plummeted -- at a beer a day that's ~$25 per month.  When I have people over, they can just pull off of the keg, no need to buy beer.  When I got to other people's houses I just fill up a growler and take it -- almost no cost.

All in all, I'd say the ~$150 investment (that includes the deposits on the kegs that are refundable, used CO2 tank) easily saves me $50-$75 a month.  Oh, and when I do host events most people bring a sixer or so and yet drink off the keg.  So the remainder of the chest freezer is full of random bottles of beer from the last time some people dropped by, so I still get a lot of variety.

Oh, and the beer tastes better and people are more likely to want to come and hang out at your place than at the bar, further saving some money.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 09:08:04 AM by Miasmata »

bridget

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2017, 09:21:40 AM »
Leaks I want to plug:

- alcohol
- eating out
- laziness taxes (e.g., I just missed a deadline to submit a travel insurance claim because I couldn't get my lazy ass to call around for and collect the paperwork, so now I'll never get that $250 back)

Leak I don't want to plug: exercise-related expenditures. I've learned from hard experience that I am bad at motivating myself to be active unless it's something new and interesting and in a group/class setting, so the old saw advice about running on the ground outside for free doesn't really work for me (plus, I hate hate hate running). I try to do it reasonably frugally - class pass when it's super discounted, do introductory months at interesting studios for a discount, piled a few discounts onto my regular gym membership - but I bet I spend $65-200 per month on classes, equipment, etc. But, I really like it (so some portion of it should be classified as "entertainment"), it's healthy for me, and it has a direct correlation with reducing my alcohol and eating out spending (if I work out at lunch I don't go get a $10 sandwich with my coworkers).

cchrissyy

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2017, 09:51:30 AM »
Libertea,

Ha, good about switching to kindle books, which take up no space but unfortunately can't be re-sold

Does your library electronically check out kindle books?  mine does.  something to check on, if you haven't already!

https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/explore/elibrary/downloads-streaming
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 09:53:43 AM by cchrissyy »

BabyShark

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2017, 11:20:54 AM »
Mine is clothes. I love buying clothes and it seems like I constantly have packages arriving at my house because "oh this store was having a sale, I'd be dumb NOT to buy something when it's that cheap."

I have too many clothes. I take up two dressers and 3/4ths of our closet and it's still not enough room.  I'm trying much harder in 2017 not to just randomly buy clothes.

Maybe a solution for you would be to take the challenge of not buying any clothes for a whole year. Just to get used to the idea.

Yea, I do that every other month or so and then something like a 70% off sale happens and I decide I need more work clothes.  I try to be more mindful now, I did spend $30 on a pair of heels because I'm searching for the right every day heel to wear to work/court.  I'm hopeful these will be them.

Libertea

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2017, 08:48:08 PM »
Libertea,

Ha, good about switching to kindle books, which take up no space but unfortunately can't be re-sold

Does your library electronically check out kindle books?  mine does.  something to check on, if you haven't already!

https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/explore/elibrary/downloads-streaming
Oh yeah, I should have mentioned that about a month ago I finally took the time to go online to sign up for checking out e-books from the library and figured out how to do it.  It turns out I can also download audio books, which was useful this week while I was driving from Old City where I just quit my job to Current City where I'm going to be hanging out for the next couple of months until I go abroad.  Also realized that once I get to New City where I'm starting my semi-retirement job this summer that, hey, I can still keep checking out e-books and audio books from the Old City library even while I'm joining New City library to check out books there.  (How would Old City know that I don't live there any more???)  All I can say is, yes, technology is pretty grand.  :-D

Monster, FWIW, I agree with you about making spending reflect values.  I don't think the goal of FI is to never spend any money on anything "frivolous" ever.  The goal is to make spending mindful and not just knee-jerk buy stuff you don't really need or want.  I was invited to buy a new team jacket recently and realized, even though I kind of wanted one, it would be a bit stupid for me to spend the money on a jacket I don't need, especially considering that I just spent the past month divesting myself of extra personal belongings (including jackets!) so I could pack and move....so I declined.

Mezzie

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2017, 06:56:56 AM »
2015: The leak was books (as it was for most years previous). It has since been plugged. Occasionally I'll buy a book not available at the library or for my students' repeated use.
2016: The leak was stationery, including fountain pens. This has been addressed and should no longer be a problem.
2017: ??? I'm tracking my spending, so we'll see. My guess is it will either be theater or professional expenses, both of which I would be loathe to reduce.
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Well Respected Man

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2017, 08:54:48 AM »
Looking at my Mint spending for last year, it's a target-rich environment. House cleaning is a huge expense that I tried to reduce in 2015, but the rest of my family revolted, so I may be stuck with that until we have a change of house or occupants. So I will go with the uncategorized spending -- cash+ATMs, checks, and anything else uncategorized. I'll start by categorizing everything other than cash+ATMs from last year, and continue categorizing on a monthly basis. Next step will be to get more accountability for cash expenditures, and to reduce them by using the credit card.

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2017, 03:46:46 PM »
- laziness taxes (e.g., I just missed a deadline to submit a travel insurance claim because I couldn't get my lazy ass to call around for and collect the paperwork, so now I'll never get that $250 back)


This is something I need to plug as well. I had a bunch of main-in rebate coupons, that I neglected to follow up on and because of this, I lost $90. I should have just done it on time, but I couldn't be bothered to for some reason.
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skip207

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2017, 04:04:39 PM »
Mine is cars.  Not changing that!

Well Respected Man

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2017, 07:09:32 AM »
Went through all of last year's uncategorized spending, and categorized everything other than cash/ATM, "Shopping" (arrggh!) and a couple of unrecognizable random checks. Went through year to date, and categorized everything except for cash/ATM.  I'm scheduled to sit down with my wife this weekend, and I will lay out the evidence of uncategorized spending. I hope to have a plan in place for more accurate capture going forward, including a weekly cash budget and reporting of Amazon purchases. It's really ugly, and I think we can easily slash 1/3-1/2 of this spending this year.

andy85

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2017, 07:18:49 AM »
Alcohol
Tools

My alcohol spending/consumption in January is zero. Going to try and keep that going into February.

Tools....I doubt that changes much, but I'm well aware of it and try to be conscientious of my purchases.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2017, 07:59:49 AM »
Alcohol
Tools

My alcohol spending/consumption in January is zero. Going to try and keep that going into February.

Tools....I doubt that changes much, but I'm well aware of it and try to be conscientious of my purchases.

Still, tools are a limited number. As soon as you have everything, you can stop buying.
Or doesn't it work like that... ;-)

Poundwise

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2017, 09:16:57 AM »
Gifts.  I have close friends and close family, my kids have lots of friends, we get invited to at least two birthday parties a weekend. Starting to give just books to kids. Tried to make cheap gift pacts with siblings, but they reneged.  Parents show love with gifts... hopeless.  I usually craft some gifts, but I probably need to start now if I want to make gifts for everyone by Xmas 2017!

Oh yeah, but craft supplies are my other big leak!

swick

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2017, 09:21:52 AM »
I usually craft some gifts, but I probably need to start now if I want to make gifts for everyone by Xmas 2017!

We have a thread for that ;) http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2017-edition!/

Gift spending is one of the leaks we are working on this year, every year it gets a little better, this time, planning further ahead!

Poundwise

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2017, 09:24:23 AM »
Thanks swick!! I will go over there in a jiffy... though do I dare join yet another gauntlet? :)

swick

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2017, 09:42:39 AM »
Thanks swick!! I will go over there in a jiffy... though do I dare join yet another gauntlet? :)

*Hi, I'm Swick, and I'm a gauntlet junky*

If you choose the right ones, they tend to have a really awesome synergy that when put together creates a good life :)

Libertea

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2017, 02:04:25 PM »
Oh lord, holiday gifts.  I don't even count that one.  It's a source of sheer misery, and the financial aspect is the least of it. :-/

Poundwise

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2017, 07:45:46 PM »
Just an update on my effort to be less generous. :P

Took two different kids to two different birthday parties this weekend.  With difficulty, I held myself down to a $18 book for a 3 year old, and $10 book + $10 lego set for an 8 year old.  Not so great, but usually it would have been $25-30 per child. I could have done a little better but the original books I ordered didn't arrive in time, so I had to hasten to Barnes and Noble and buy what I could find (and I forgot to bring coupons too.)

No worries, I only have until next weekend to try again!


MamaMinou

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2017, 09:05:56 PM »
Alcohol! And that's the inexpensive kind, like Bota box. I should probably just stop buying any, at least for a month. Last month I spent $30 on to boxes of wine.

Verdure

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2017, 03:33:08 PM »
my leaks are take-out food and drink

regarding your books, do you re-sell them on amazon when you're done?  I don't buy many anymore but when I did, it was sort of a revolving door of buying books and re-selling them, so my true annual cost was the difference.
No, because I buy most of them electronically these days.  I don't think it's possible to resell a kindle book.  It sure makes packing and moving a lot easier though!

I am in grad school right now, and I prefer to buy textbooks electronically, too. (Search feature FTW)  I have found that often you can "rent" e-textbooks, and you pay significantly less. You only get to keep them for the semester, so basically it's like selling them back.  The other way I save is by buying older editions.

Bateaux

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2017, 09:13:27 AM »
For us the biggest expense is insurance of all types.   Car insurance being the biggest.  Medical insurance, then homeowners insurance.   I actually don't have a way out of any of these currently.   Hope to be homeless and car-less someday so those big expenses can be eliminated .  Medical, have no clue what to do.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
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solon

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2017, 09:37:57 AM »
Hey Libertea, what are the words in your avatar? Do you have a larger version of that somewhere?

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2017, 10:07:17 AM »
Our biggest leaks are travel (by a lot!) and gifts. We are going to have one more year with a lot of travel before real life sets in , so I feel that that one will sort itself out. I am working on spending less on gifts this year.

We worked on alcohol last year and got it down considerably by adjusting our tastes away from fancy microbrews to things in the ~$1/bottle range (costco has good stuff in this range - anchor steam, sierra nevada, etc.), and by finding a cheap wine source (grocery outlet!), and by finding whiskies we like in the <20$/liter range.

Libertea

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2017, 07:37:17 PM »
Hey Libertea, what are the words in your avatar? Do you have a larger version of that somewhere?
It said, "We threw tea because we wanted Libertea."  But I found an even better one while searching online for the original that I used.  This one says, "Give me Libertea or give me debt." :-D

Ebrat

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2017, 07:47:57 AM »
Our biggest leaks are travel (by a lot!) and gifts. We are going to have one more year with a lot of travel before real life sets in , so I feel that that one will sort itself out. I am working on spending less on gifts this year.

We worked on alcohol last year and got it down considerably by adjusting our tastes away from fancy microbrews to things in the ~$1/bottle range (costco has good stuff in this range - anchor steam, sierra nevada, etc.), and by finding a cheap wine source (grocery outlet!), and by finding whiskies we like in the <20$/liter range.

Any whiskey recommendations?

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2017, 10:41:28 AM »
Ebrat - I most certainly do have whisky recommendations. Recently I've been really liking Larceny. My sister bought it for my husband for xmas. She had read some article about some hard to come by bourbon (Pappy Van Winkle) that people were paying a thousand dollars for (because people are dumb), but that because of the way it was made Larceny was similar. Costco has it for 33.99 for a 1.75L bottle. I also buy Bulleit Rye when it's on sale at Costco, (again, ~33 for a 1.75L) as I like it in old fashioneds. I also really like Bushmills. It's just a well balanced Irish whisky (which, because they are triple distilled, tend to not have the harsher flavors that characterize many Scottish whiskies), with a smooth, almost vanilla/biscuity flavor. Trader Joes around here sells it for 21 or 22 for a L (close to my $20 mark, but not quite).

Hope that helps!







Ebrat

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2017, 02:57:40 PM »
Ebrat - I most certainly do have whisky recommendations. Recently I've been really liking Larceny. My sister bought it for my husband for xmas. She had read some article about some hard to come by bourbon (Pappy Van Winkle) that people were paying a thousand dollars for (because people are dumb), but that because of the way it was made Larceny was similar. Costco has it for 33.99 for a 1.75L bottle. I also buy Bulleit Rye when it's on sale at Costco, (again, ~33 for a 1.75L) as I like it in old fashioneds. I also really like Bushmills. It's just a well balanced Irish whisky (which, because they are triple distilled, tend to not have the harsher flavors that characterize many Scottish whiskies), with a smooth, almost vanilla/biscuity flavor. Trader Joes around here sells it for 21 or 22 for a L (close to my $20 mark, but not quite).

Hope that helps!

Thanks! Bulleit Rye from Costco is my current go to. I'll have to pick up one of those other ones, too. Expand my horizons :D

Rimu05

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2017, 09:18:28 AM »
Good on you for taking up a challenge to better your finances.

Mine was eating out. I have gotten a lot better about it though. Just to give an idea, in 2011 I spent $2038.95 on eating out. In 2016, I spent $881.19. I was able to accomplish this by tracking expenses very closely. This way I know exactly how much is being spent and I was able to change my habits accordingly. It took a while for it to sink in, but I am happy with the results.

If there is one thing I would recommend, it would be to track your expenses as much as possible. It will help you a lot when you have to make decisions.

When will I ever? This is my biggest financial leak that I am even in denial about.

It's funny cause last week, I brought lunch to work for three days and it made me feel really good. I need to really start cooking more but I've been saying that for quite a while now.

swick

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2017, 09:33:47 AM »
Good on you for taking up a challenge to better your finances.

Mine was eating out. I have gotten a lot better about it though. Just to give an idea, in 2011 I spent $2038.95 on eating out. In 2016, I spent $881.19. I was able to accomplish this by tracking expenses very closely. This way I know exactly how much is being spent and I was able to change my habits accordingly. It took a while for it to sink in, but I am happy with the results.

If there is one thing I would recommend, it would be to track your expenses as much as possible. It will help you a lot when you have to make decisions.

When will I ever? This is my biggest financial leak that I am even in denial about.

It's funny cause last week, I brought lunch to work for three days and it made me feel really good. I need to really start cooking more but I've been saying that for quite a while now.

Rimu05, I saw the above post and in the other thread where you said you have been doing worse and are now adding getting breakfast and coffee out. I am wondering if you might be a 100% personality without doing a 100%

The basic premise is doing 100% is easy once you make a decision, doing it 99% is hard, your mind rebels, you get decision fatigue, etc. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/the-100-per-cent-rule-the-simple-advice-that-changed-my-life-20160825-gr16da.html

Why not try for a month, no eating out at all, no excuses, no exceptions and see how it is for you?

Well Respected Man

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #44 on: March 01, 2017, 06:20:03 AM »
How's everyone doing? We had a good February here, with a $50/week/adult target/limit on untracked cash. I had 0 ATM withdrawals, and my wife 1 for $200. I'm going to try to keep this up indefinitely. We also went through the Amazon transactions, which were previously categorized as "Shopping". All purchases are categorized, so we have $0 in "Shopping" this year.

Keep plugging away.

Dee18

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #45 on: March 01, 2017, 08:09:12 AM »
Late to the thread, but have a suggestion re textbooks.  If the required text frequently has new editions, there is often very little content changed from one to the next.  I tell my students, you can buy the old edition cheaply, as long as you are willing to check with the current copy on reserve at the library to read any new parts.  These are expensive texts so the savings may be $200 per book.  Very few students take me up on the suggestion.  They just borrow the max in student loans.  Sigh.

Libertea

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2017, 01:10:18 PM »
I wound up buying a few books this month, but I didn't get crazy with spending (about $30).  I did resist the urge to buy a jacket that I totally don't need for $44, because I realized that the main reason I wanted it was because it was a team jacket, and what I really would be doing if I got it is trying to buy a feeling of being part of the team.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2017, 12:50:57 AM »
One of my leaks is my DH. Even though he is a very frugal person, he suddenly came home with some books that were for sale. And had ordered some more books for sale on the internet. These are mostly books we don't need, but that could be fun to read. Now that we have them I'd better enjoy them. My leaks when it comes to books is buying Kindle books, but they cost only a fraction of the books that my husband bought, even though they were on sale. Norwegian books are just really expensive compared to English Kindle books. And I completely ignore the expensive Kindle books.

Poundwise

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2017, 05:53:33 AM »
Linda, sometimes you do have to live a little!  Does your husband have a personal budget (small monthly amount that he can spend as he likes)?

My husband also cannot be trusted at a shop unaccompanied, as someone put it in the groceries thread. :) But he shops so seldom, it's no wonder that he is not very skilled at it.

I'm doing so-so on plugging my gifts leak. Meaning to be minimalist, I had my son invite a few friends to the movies for his birthday, but because he is a social kid with a lot of friends, he begged for this child or that to be invited, and before I knew it we were treating 17 people (kids, siblings, and some parents) to the movies! Then I overspent on goodie bags, since I hate giving out cheap schlock that will be thrown away. I think one issue is that I have some guilt about my son, who is the middle child, a real sweetheart, and because he is self-effacing, does not get as much attention as his brother and sister. So, I need to plan in some special attention for this child throughout the year, and next year he will have to pick 2 friends for a sleepover birthday.

At least this year I did not spend much on decorations... spent $7 for two big bags of colored cups, inflated a packet of balloons that we already had, and printed out a birthday banner from free downloadables.  I did successfully turn down a few birthday party invites from children whom we are not likely to see much of after preschool since they live in different towns, so there are some savings of time and money.  I also used Barnes and Noble coupons + membership discount to buy a few kids' books to give out as needed, saving a few dollars on each.

However, I need to plan one more child birthday party, and also prepare for Mother's Day gifts in May... both my mother and my MIL are high maintenance in their own ways so I have to figure out whether/how I can handcraft gifts that will please them; otherwise it will have to be $100 bouquets as usual.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plugging Your Personal Financial Leak
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2017, 07:55:18 AM »
Linda, sometimes you do have to live a little!  Does your husband have a personal budget (small monthly amount that he can spend as he likes)?

My DH earns more than I do and he can spend his whole income all by himself. We both save what we have left over and we don't check each other's bank accounts. We found out that last year we saved 60% of our net income.
I have made some changes in my life that make me save some more money. But I am not demanding that he does the same. But he is getting the message and being aware of it. And he always used to be a more frugal person than myself in the first place.