Why I’m Failing My Spending Diet

I’m a bit frustrated and upset with myself for not controlling my spending after I initiated the spending diet for Mike and myself. It’s hard for me to say no to a happy hour invitation, especially since some of my friends don’t know about our rtw trip and therefore our plan to be conservative in our spending. So I accept, and immediately regret my decision. In fact, I also just agreed to take a weekend trip to NYC with a girlfriend to visit a mutual friend. We’ll have free lodging and I can probably use a free round-trip bus voucher, but the drinks and food and cab rides will certainly add up.

The reason I’m having trouble saying “no” is because I find it difficult to deny myself happiness in the present just so I can save $10 for the future. It’s hard to wrap my mind around it right now, but of course I’ll want/need the money later. Because of that, I’ve at least been taking steps in the right direction, such as scheduling no more than one happy hour per week. At last week’s happy hour, I gave myself a goal of spending no more than $20, and spent $14! But I realize that still isn’t good enough and has to change. So my new goal is to spend no more than $20 per week on non-necessities, which include happy hour drinks, buying instead of bringing food into work and … um, those are really the only things I need to work on. I haven’t purchased new clothes since we decided to take a rtw trip and I don’t often spend my money on other non-consumables. I guess I’ve done a good job of adopting the “If you won’t take it on our trip, don’t buy it” mindset. I’m also proud of my newfound self-control to not purchase sweets like my beloved Skittles and ice cream. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

After mastering the $20/week spending limit, I will slowly lower the amount (hopefully this won’t take very long) and challenge myself to see just how frugal I can be. I guess that means eventually cutting out happy hours, or just sticking with water (lame, I know). Any tips?

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12 responses to “Why I’m Failing My Spending Diet

  1. I posted some of the savings tips that were most helpful for me here. Hands-down the one that made the biggest difference was the automatic transfer to savings; the number I’d see in my checking account after that would be really low, and I’d have to work with it.

    The thing that I’ve been trying recently is to allot myself a certain amount of cash per week for everything (food, odds and ends, etc.), and once it’s gone, it’s gone. That one’s been harder for me – sometimes I still cheat with my debit card – but I’m still doing better than I was before.

    It’s definitely toughest to give up social situations involving money!

    • Hey Kat,

      Thanks for the tips! The post you linked to has very helpful info. It also helped me realize that maybe I am on the right track, but just need to rein in spending on my big three: travel, concerts and booze. I love your idea about allotting yourself a certain amount each week. Today I printed a calendar that I’ll use to keep track of any daily spending. I’ll total it each week and track it for about a month, then decide on a weekly limit. Is it weird that I’m kind of excited to see if I can be successful at it? haha

      Thanks again!
      Mrs. T

  2. You’re doing so well already! You’ve not bought any clothes since you decided on your rtw: that’s amazing and I completely understand how hard that can be because I did the same! I’m actually still doing it now, a year in, sitting in hoodie with holes in-yep, looking like a tramp!

    Seriously though, you’re doing well. There’s no point in denying yourself everything before you leave else you’ll just look back and remember those months leading up to your rtw as being miserable! Enjoy the time you have with your friends and family before you go ($14 isn’t a lot to spend at happy hour once a week!)

    Also, tried selling everything you own on eBay? I sold a ridiculous amount of clothes on there before I left.

    Happy saving guys!!!!

    • lol Thank you for the support, Beverley! It’s weird not buying at least one new outfit for the season, but I’d just be adding to a closet full of clothes that I won’t be able to bring with me anyway.

      Good point, I should enjoy this time so I don’t look back on it and regret my decisions. I think that as long as I’m mindful of my spending I won’t go overboard. And maybe I should carry about $10 cash on me and pretend that’s all I have — no credit cards. That’d be an interesting challenge.

      I haven’t started selling my stuff yet. I’m afraid I’ll miss it too much. But I do have piles of stuff to donate. Maybe I should try selling it instead. Did you just sell it in bulk or piece by piece?

      -Mrs. T

  3. I wish you the best of luck. I know that after traveling for only one week, I always come home with a lot more stuff than I left with. So I too need to work on my spending on souvenirs.

    • Thank you, Bob! I know what you mean — souvenirs are hard to resist. When I buy them, I try to buy items that will be useful or tell an amazing story about the place I’ve been. Setting up guidelines like that will hopefully help you reduce your spending.

  4. I’ve totally had the same problem. Before I booked the ticket, I knew I was planning on going on a trip, but I didn’t really have an incentive to save because it wasn’t really real for me yet. I did cut down significantly, but I was still eating out a lot and going out for drinks. Now that I’ve actually bought the ticket, it’s all REALLY real and it’s made me save more than ever. Now, I just buy my drinks and invite my friends over, or I have to politely decline.

    In the meantime, it helps to write down every single thing you spend for a week. You’ll see where all those random extra dollars go!

    • Thanks for the tips! Yea, I feel like I need something concrete (like a ticket or selling a lot of my belongings) to realize that this is really truly happening and that I should be saving up more. After my NYC trip this weekend I think I’ll be be able to hunker down and put away more and more every week. I am doing pretty good, but I need to learn the art of politely declining invites!

  5. I relate to this! I don’t buy any consumer goods but am a sucker for happy hours and dinners out. We’ve actually just accepted it. We set our savings budget and know we will reach it and we still allow ourselves to spend on food and drink. Others would probably say we are being wasteful but this is the indulgence we allow ourselves to stay happy and enjoy life. So, I guess my tip is do it and don’t feel bad about it! 🙂

    • It’s *so* hard to say “no” to happy hours. I used to do multiple ones a week, but I’ve been doing pretty well since I wrote this post. First, I implemented a 1 happy hour a week rule. (So tough!) Now I’m doing only 1 per month. (Starting to mentally accept my fate.) And I’ve been tracking where I spend my money. I really must applaud how well I’ve been doing. ::self pat on the back::

      Sometimes I treat myself, like tonight I went to a baseball game with a friend. I only spent $15 and had a great night — without drinking ::shock:: So I think it’s all about pacing and recognizing when an event might not be worth the money, and which ones may turn out to be cheap but fun. And now that we have a wedding (or possibly an elopement) coming up, our friends are way more sympathetic to us bailing because of the money factor.

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