Overall, my husband and I are fairly good about keeping our spending in check. Over a year ago, we discovered we were spending waaaay too much money going out to eat all the time. We created a budget and reined in our restaurant and bar spending. We shop for groceries weekly and cook at home. We also pack our lunches and make our own coffee. The flip side is that we spend more on groceries now. Especially because we purchase a lot of produce and organic products.
So, one of the primary ways we save money is by staying in more. Because we have a stocked kitchen, we have incentive to stay in and cook rather than go out for drinks and dinner.
Another way we’ve curbed spending is by staying away from stores. I admit it: I love to shop. Especially for clothes and home furnishings. I just really love it. Whether I need something or not doesn’t matter… it’s fun to buy! Unfortunately my personality type is not particularly conducive to frugality, so I’ve really had to change my habits. Having long-term goals and finding joy in watching the savings account grow has helped, but it’s not second nature to me.
What this means is that my two biggest enemies of frugality are boredom and impatience.
For example, on a recent Friday the Mr. and I went out to eat when we had plenty at home to cook because we were bored of staying in all the time. The next day, I felt like going to a bookstore so we browsed Powell’s Books for a while and I spent $30 on books I could have checked out at the library. I was bored and felt like shopping. And I was impatient because I didn’t feel like putting my name on a waiting list at the library for the books.
Here’s the thing: I’m OK with this in moderation. We didn’t need to go out to eat. I didn’t need to go shopping. I didn’t need those books at that instant. But I’m comfortable indulging some wants in moderation.
It’s like dieting. If you always deprive yourself of sweets and favorite foods all the time, your willpower will likely fizzle out. It’s much better to eat a few M&Ms or a handful of potato chips from time to time to keep yourself sane.
This means I have to be very conscious of my habit of spending money when I am bored or impatient. I’m not one of those people who are naturally frugal, and I probably never will be.
What about you? Are you naturally frugal? If not, what are your personal enemies of frugality?