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Letting My Indulgences Get the Best of Me

indulgence

My wife and I have finally moved into our new home. We have a lot of things to get done and the list just continues to get longer.  The home buying and selling journey has been long and a little crazy.  I am pretty sure Lowe’s and Home Depot might need to give us some stock options as we are giving them solid business.

Hell, I might just need to invest in their business. Either way, money is flying out of my wallet faster than I can put it in.  We have tried to do everything ourselves, but it is proving to be difficult.  This is especially true with one of us having to watch our son.  Try to do wall painting with your 18-month old running around. Nope!

I have been trying hard to save as much money as I can, but this moving process is kicking my budget in the butt.  I have blown up my monthly budget by about two-fold with an indulgence here and there and it just continues to get worse.  I am having a hard time controlling it.

Yes, you are probably saying “I thought you were good at budgeting Grayson!”  I thought I was as well, but I haven’t budgeted for a move before. The last time I moved, I didn’t even know how much money I had in my bank account.

Times have changed and I just didn’t research everything well enough.  This is what happens when you have to take over as the Realtor when yours doesn’t do their job correctly!  Needless to say, I have found my small purchases are really piling up. My indulgences are getting the best of me!

My Fast Food Fix (AKA My Guilty Indulgence)

John wrote an awesome post about his confessions of a former fast food employee. It was a good post and another reason why I haven’t eaten much fast food over the years.  Ever since we started cooking food at home, I just haven’t had the need for fast food. I still take my lunch to work and that has saved me thousands over the years.  I was doing really well until we started looking for a house.

Though I don’t eat much fast food, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. There is a reason why fast food is popular.  It has sugar, salt, and carbs. Everything we Americans love.  The other thing is it is cheap and quick.  My weakness is definitely fries.  I just can’t get enough, but they are a costly indulgence.  I typically only get fast food once a month, if that.  It probably averages out to once every two months.  Well, not this past month!

In the past month, I have eaten fast food a record 23 times.  I know, I am already hanging my head in shame.  I feel bad about it in more ways than one.  The big issue is I didn’t even recognize that these small purchases were adding up to big money. This was until Mint.com emailed me to say that I was being an overindulgent buffoon.  Thanks Mint! ;-)

Small Purchases can Kill Your Budget

I typically track every penny, but when I am knee deep into DIY projects and making big payments to services, the small payments have slipped by.  Seven dollars here, five dollar there.  Why would you notice that when you are calling places to deal with $2,000 projects?  $5 is nothing in my book.  At least, not my budget book.

With my average fast food bill being around $7.50, I have spend $172.50 this month in just fast food.  That number just hurts to type.  I could have used this money to pay for some of my flooring or paint. I could have used it for new door hardware.  I could have used this money for anything else than just fast food.  I feel ashamed, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Since I employ the impulse purchase savings plan, I will be adding $172.50 into my Roth IRA.  This plan forces you to save as much as you spend on impulse purchases. I consider fast food an impulse for me, so savings, here we come!  This will help me get closer to retirement and max out my Roth this year.  Two birds, one stone.

The point of this post is to show that we all make mistakes.  Don’t let the small purchases slip by unaccounted for. They can certainly add up over time and really put a damper on your budget.  I know they have hurt mine, especially when I am already well over my original budget.

Take time to track your spending, with services such as Mint.com or Personal Capital. Understand where you are heading and make corrective changes.  Also, why not start trying the impulse savings plan?  It is a great way to save and I know all of us could be better savers.

 

OK, what are your indulgences? Have they killed your budget? Do you have a minimum payment amount that you track in your budget? What indulgence seems to slip beneath the radar when it comes to tracking your expenses?

 

Image courtesy SteFou!

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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

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