Why Routine Isn’t a Bad Thing…

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Routine rocks. It can save you money and help you keep your spending in check. But what do you do when travel or other circumstances knock out your routine?

…and how it can sometimes save you money!

Right now I’m sitting in my apartment on a Sunday morning sipping my coffee after I just finished a bowl of oatmeal. I would normally be getting ready for some beach volleyball games, but I played Saturday and during the last two games, I felt like I might have pulled a muscle in my right calf, so I’m resting it and catching up on some tasks, errands, and a little bit of work.

Saturday night I had a great night’s sleep in my comfy bed after a yummy dinner and watching a cheap movie from Redbox (The Imitation Game, which was awesome!).

Some may look at my life as pretty boring. I follow a pretty set routine almost every day, even eating a lot of the same types of foods each day. But what can I say? I’m pretty much a creature of habit, and I think overall it saves me a lot of money.

As many of you know, I recently took a road trip to visit The Mighty Five national parks in Utah and had a wonderful time. However, not being in my normal routine cost me some extra money I hadn’t planned on spending

Now obviously on vacation, you do things differently, like eating out, spending money on excursions, accommodations, gas, etc. But it was the stupid little things of being thrown off my routine that got me.

Losing Things


Between my friend Megan and I on this trip, we must have said the words, “have you seen my _____?” at least a thousand times. I think at one point we were hysterically laughing at how many things we seemed to misplace. On one hike she nearly left her nice camera sitting where we had lunch, and lost one of her gloves that she dropped, so she had to add and extra mile to our already long hike to try and find it.

Camping is another beast in itself because things were constantly moving back and forth between tent, car, and bathroom. I’m pretty sure I donated many a hair tie and bobby pin to nature.

Being Unprepared


As much as I looked at the weather report for each national park before I left, it didn’t seem to help. The weather was “supposed” to be warm, but it wasn’t…at least not during the morning and night. Both Megan and I had to buy gloves and a hat in Moab because we were freezing. Yes, the same gloves that Megan nearly lost on a hike the next day.



As many of you who follow me on social media know, my iPhone died a tragic death in Moab. I had put my phone in the mesh pocket of my camelback, which is not something I use regularly, and when we got to an intersection we started running to make the light, and it decided to jump out in the middle of the street and get run over.

I think when you’re out of your routine you tend to do things half-assed or in a disheveled manor. Had I thought about it more, I would have placed the phone in an inner pocket…but I didn’t. Sigh.

Routine rocks. It can save you money and help you keep your spending in check. But what do you do when travel or other circumstances knock out your routine?

How many times can you think of where being thrown off your routine has cost you money? Maybe you’ve had a stressful week at work and started getting too much takeout food? Or you just moved and can’t find that thingamajig? Or your closets get disorganized and you end up buying shampoo you already had sitting around?

For the record, I wouldn’t change anything about my trip. It was amazing and I really needed a break from work. But it also was really nice to come back to my normal routine and have things be exactly where I knew I’d find them.

I think a lot of times we don’t appreciate routine. We dream of year-long trips around the world and just want to get the f out of dodge. But those things do come with their own set of complications. It’s not that you shouldn’t, of course, but if you can’t do that right now then I implore you to find a way to be grateful for your current situation. The grass always appears greener on the other side.


Have you ever had a situation where a change in routine has cost you a lot of money? How do you keep your spending in check when you go on vacation? What’s the strangest thing you lost on a recent trip? How do you plan ahead when you know you’re going to get knocked off your routine?

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Tonya Stumphauzer

Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. Visit her blog Budget & the Beach!


  • I think the biggest one we break is the one your mentioned – eating out. I’ve found I’ll eat out for dinner after a stressful day. I don’t feel like cooking, so I end up ordering a pizza or getting something else that is nowhere near healthy.

    I’ve overcome this to an extent by cooking for the week on Sundays. It helps me to eat in because all I have to do is reheat a meal instead of making it from scratch.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      That sounds like a good solution. I know when my week gets hectic I’m more prone to wanting to eat out…luckily I usually opt for something simple like eggs and toast, but for others that may not be as easy.

  • I always spend more when I’m out of my routine. At home, I’m stuck in my ways and spend almost nothing.

  • Kalie says:

    Moving to our home threw us off our routine. We “lost” my husband’s nicest pair of dress shoes for years after moving. I thought we left them in a hotel on business travel. Finally I found them packed away under our bed, after we already replaced them! I realizing a huge value in de-cluttering is simply being able to find the things you actually need. So I’m trying to make going through things and giving away or selling what we don’t use a part of my routine, too.

  • I’m a big fan of routines (as boring as that sounds), but I don’t recall a time where a change in routine has cost me money. On vacation, I let my spending wander a little bit but that doesn’t bother me.

  • Love seeing you here at Frugal Rules Tonya!!! I have a habit of losing phone chargers when I am on vacation and now it’s not so bad because they aren’t that expensive but back in the day with older phones, it would be a $40 error that I hated making.

  • I agree sticking to a routine does save you money, and it might be boring from some. I like it because I stick to my routine M-F and then on the weekends I can try new things. It just makes it that much sweeter waiting for it. Good luck replacing your cell it can be costly.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      Yeah I didn’t mean to sound so robotic with my routine..I guess being a freelancer keeps me on my toes in other ways!

  • I definitely spend less on routine weeks. Your typically using the same items, so no need for purchases, and you can meal plan ahead way easier.

  • I’m a creature of habit too and so I totally understand your perspective here. Getting thrown off my game ends up costing me in many ways – time, money, peace of mind to name a few.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      Peace of mind being a big one. Routine keeps me calmer…although I do like to break out of it from time to time…makes going back that much easier.

  • Routine has saved me so many times, so I am definitely fan. 🙂 Yes, when my routine is off or I’m traveling I definitely find that I spend more because I am distracted. Or forget and sometimes both.

  • Great post Tanya! You are so right. I do get bored by my routine sometimes, but when you have things on auto-pilot it can sometimes save you money and time too. 🙂

  • Routine might seem boring on the surface but it saves a lot of energy on all those pesky little decisions so you can spend it on that one thing that will truly add value to your life.

    I’m trying to add more routine and supportive habits as I can so I can focus on my big goals.

    Routine is only a bad thing if you don’t use it to your advantage.

  • I so wish I’d told you to bring gloves. We always need them on a camping trip, even if it’s July. Heck, we got caught in a snow storm over last Labor Day weekend and it was 70 the day before. You just never know!

    I’ve always worked out of different office settings from private to government, so I think overall, it has made me very diverse in my profession and I’ve always adapted well to change. That is certainly an asset. At home, though, I love my routine and do get way off track if I get pulled out of it. I had to make an emergency Home Depot run yesterday for our contractor and it totally threw me off to the point that we ended up going to Subway when I had plenty of stuff to eat at home. Routine would have been lots cheaper.

  • I’m a big fan of routine. Life sometimes isn’t super interesting when it’s too routine, but at the same time routine can contribute to long-term goals. Routine also makes certain things easier, such as exercising. I know when I get in the routine of exercising regularly it starts to feel “wrong” to go outside of that routine and skip a workout.

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