One of the biggest recurring themes among personal finance blogs is frugality. Spend less, save more, be minimalistic. Stop mindless purchases and spending on useless things.
On paper, this idea is pretty simple. You’re supposed to curb your spending and prioritize. You have to give serious thought to just about anywhere your dollar is going. It’s basically the equivalent of doing a big financial detox.
Frugality is a great concept when done right and has the potential of saving you a lot of money.
Sometimes however, frugality can be taken to the extreme. One of the big issues with the ‘extreme frugality’ trend is that we are constantly told what not to spend on. Don’t buy a latte, cancel your Netflix and stop going to the gym. Stop buying this, stop buying that. It’s a whole lot of no’s and not nearly enough yeses.
The thing that I’ve discovered over the years is that I don’t respond very well to negative reinforcement. I mean sure, it makes me extremely uncomfortable and gets me doing stuff in the moment, but after a while, I tend to get used to it. Repercussions, you say? I shall fear no evil!
Instead, tell me what I can spend on while being frugal.
Even better, tell me what you can spend on and why.
Tell me how spending enriches your life while enabling you to reach your financial goals. Tell me how spending is letting you live below your means while also providing your life with value.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, this is exactly what I want to talk about in today’s post. I want to talk about the dirty word of personal finance: spending.
Let’s be real, if you want to survive, you’re going to have to spend your money on something!
I want to tell you exactly what I love spending on and why. Who knows, maybe sharing some on my favourite purchases may help with yours. If not, at least you get a little insight into my own spending habits!
Now, you may wonder, what does a broke college student living on minimum wage actually spend on?
As you can imagine, not a whole lot.
However, I have managed to get it down to three things. Without further ado, here are the 3 things I’ve absolutely loved spending on this January:
- What: Yearly Magazine Subscription at Money Magazine
How Much I’ve Saved: $10 per month
This one is a little funny. First of all, I always wanted to have a magazine subscription. There is just something so fancy about the thought of having a magazine delivered directly to your door. Actually, scratch that. There is just something so fancy about looking forward to something in the mail. It’s like a gift from past you to future you!
The second reason I bought this subscription is because I actually enjoy reading this magazine. I enjoy reading what professionals predict in is going to happen in the financial world. This is not to say that I take their advice however. It is more of an ‘entrainment read’, as I don’t believe anyone can predict the market.
The last reason is inspiration. Sometimes I find some pretty good ideas in there that enable me to create better content for you guys. It’s a win-win.
- What: Caramel Latte Kit
How Much I’ve Saved: $85 per month
I am a sucker for a nice iced beverage. I love my iced lattes. I love them a little too much.
There’s nothing more motivating than an Iced Caramel Macchiato to wake up to in the morning. However, Starbucks has been really hitting my bank account lately. A daily pop can set me back $7. Hey, they say go venti, or go home, right?
Well go home is exactly what my wallet needs me to do right now. Lucky for me, I don’t have to go without! I have just recently discovered these make-at-home latte kits at my local supermarket and absolutely fell in love. While they do not taste exactly like the ‘barista approved’ lattes I am used to, they come pretty close. Did I mention they keep me awake through uni?
A big resolution I’ve set myself for the rest of this year is to be able to save more each month, regardless of expenses and emergencies. I’ve realised that the only way to do this is to cut down on some of my indulgements, hence begone Starbucks trips!
I will sometimes still have the real deal as a treat, however I’ve found that the ability to make one at home has really had a positive impact on my wallet. Now I don’t even have to change out of my PJs for my latte!
- What: Super Glue
How Much I’ve Saved: $35 per month
We have a beautiful Hyundai i30 2009, which is still going strong, even after 2 major accidents and countless bumps along the road. However, as any aging car, things sometimes depreciate and break (shout out to my accounting fam).
As we all know, fixing anything car related automatically translates to expensive. Like expensive expensive. Like way out of my starving student budget.
When our spare car key decided to snap itself in two, we got a quote to get it fixed for $450. Let me say that again: four-hundred-and-fifty-dollars. That’s half my student aid a month.
We have been trying to save for this since last year, failing miserably each month. There just always seemed to be more important things to save for. However, this month my partner noticed our other car key was starting down the same path, so we knew we had to do something.
We talked about it back and forth, finding no real solution as to how we were going to come up with the money. Then, my boyfriend had a mad scientist moment and said “Hey, why don’t I just superglue it?”
At first, I was a bit skeptical, however I decided to trust him. We tested the key all day and guess what, it works perfectly! My boyfriend’s genius delivered!
*side note: Don’t try this at home, do actually see a professional if there is something seriously wrong with your car.
Those were the 3 things I loved spending on this January. In total, they have all saved me over $130 this month and made my life easier.
I do recognise that at least one of those things is a luxury expense and that if I were to be going ‘extreme frugal’, I probably wouldn’t even have bought the super glue. I mean, I am probably the only person I know who still reads magazines. However, I am a strong believer in adapting advice to your own situation and figuring out what frugality means for you personally.
For me, frugality means cutting out mindless purchases and saving money that would otherwise have been wasted. For me, frugality is saving 10% of my income and living below my means. As long as a I meet these conditions each month, I am pretty happy with my ‘frugality’. Each one of the three things I bought have enabled me to save more each month, kept me for treating myself with impulse purchases and added serious value to my life.
I want to keep these posts going this year and really feature products, experiences or things that have enabled me to keep on track with my savings while also allowing me to feel like I am not missing out. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post and got a bit of an insight into my own money habits.
As usual, I want to know more about you! What is one thing you have really enjoyed spending on this month?
Let me know in the comments below!
Being broke is temporary. Being rich is a journey.