Maybe it’s a problem unique to me, but every time I used to find a way to trim my budget, I ended up just spending the savings.
Spending My Savings
Prime example – I used to spend roughly $3 per workday on coffee drinks, which multiplied by 20 workdays a month, meant that I coughed up $60 a month minimum on coffee. I know, I was blowing through money fast…like getting a payday loan in 15 minutes fast…but it was my vice. But my new employer provides free coffee at work. Not just any coffee either, but coffee brewed with an individual brewing system so it was always frothy and fresh. Yum.
When I was checking my credit card bill on the first month after starting my new job, I realized how much I was saving effortlessly by just not going on the morning coffee shop run! I was thrilled and I chalked it up to being an awesome job perk.
But after getting really happy that I was saving $60 a month on coffee, I ended up justifying purchasing a $10 clearance blouse that I did not need. That was followed by using premium oil during my next oil change for $15 extra. And then I spent $3 more to park near my work building. Why not? I was saving $60 a month incidentally anyways.
See, I easily justified spending every dime of my accidental savings on stuff that did not improve my quality of life. Looking at my monthly statement again, I realized I was justifying myself into spending enough to compensate for all of my coffee savings! I was wasting my easy savings! Admittedly, my monthly budget was not impacted, but my ability to save was.
I have since capped my automatic lifestyle inflation. I think the solution for me is to try to ignore (and thus not celebrating) saving money. I would rather not notice the savings until they are safely tucked into a savings account, where I can celebrate them by just glancing at my statement. Seeing my savings account increase has made the extra cash seem like tangible savings, not merely free-floating credit for me to spend.
In all honestly, the coffee budget itself was probably ridiculous. But justifying spending that money even when my coffee needs were satisfied was just insane. Currently, I have my morning beverage costs in check.
Do you have a trouble actually saving money saved?