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Best Solution to stop "convenience" spending or spending temptation.

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  • Best Solution to stop "convenience" spending or spending temptation.


    When I started the Thrifty Spender Experiment, I knew there would be challenges, but I underestimated the difficulty. I especially underestimated the power of temptation when it comes to day to day spending. Day to day spending, or what I term, convenience spending, can be and is a real budget killer. See if these sound familiar: the Starbuck’s coffee in the morning, lunch out because you don’t feel like making lunch or eating what you brought, the cocktail after work, a long commute home in the snow and stopping to pick-up some dinner versus making dinner, the bottle of wine for dinner, the snack or drink from the vending machine, the list goes on.

    Not only have I seen spending temptation in my own life, but also in the lives of my clients; you can spot it almost instantly as soon as you see a bank statement or credit card bill, daily charges at restaurants, a long list of small transactions. Such miscellaneous spending can add up to hundreds of dollars per month and thousands of dollars per year.

    I have a fairly strong personality and conviction, but even I have a hard time with spending temptation. We all say it to ourselves, what is another $2 here, or $5 there. Well, it does add up. My “excuse” is convenience. As an attorney, I am very sensitive to time and I value every minute and try to be as efficient and effective as possible. But in reality, if I don’t spend the time now to conserve money, I may have all the time I want in the future, but no money.

    The Solution

    Remove the ability, remove the temptation. It really is true that common sense is not all that common. The solution is surprisingly simple. Don’t carry with you any means to pay for anything; it’s the only way I found that actually works. When you get home tonight, remove all your credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards from your purse or wallet. If you have more than $20 cash, deposit it back into your checking account. If less than $20, just spend it down; sort of ease into going cold turkey on spending. This exercise may be a real eye opener and will test you; it is very likely you may feel the psychological symptoms of withdrawal. On the weekend, feel free to put back the cards and run your errands, but during your work week, leave your spending ability at home.

    Now, if you truly are addicted to miscellaneous spending, this exercise may require further changes. If you eat out for lunch every day, you will need to start preparing lunches and bringing lunches and snacks with you. But other than that, most of the miscellaneous day to day spending is lifestyle fluff and certainly not a necessity. Also, you will need to give a little forethought to buying gas for your car when you notice fuel getting low.

    One final point, if your first instinct is to scoff at this solution and you start coming up with excuses not to do it, that is called denial. So, if you say something like, “what about emergencies;” you more than anyone need to try this exercise for a week.


  • #2
    I have been very successful in being thrifty, but I can honestly say I have no idea how I have managed it. Before I started my job I took a tour of the building and was overwhelmed with how much temptation in the form of FOOD that there is. We have a catering service that comes in every single day.... there are at least two vending machines and a soda machine in ALL the break rooms, and literally about 8 machines in our 2 cafeterias. Before my first Monday I told myself "I will NOT be buying from the vending machines."

    Well, I have worked there for four months now and have not once bought from the vending machines. I have eaten at my work all of three times... I did buy food yesterday, but I bought it for a friend who promised to pay be back. I don't drink soda, so the coke machines have never been a problem.

    I use to be very good about making my lunches the night before, but I have been slacking recently. The mornings come around and I have been throwing the most random things in for my lunch.... a box of strawberries, a banana, yogurt, crunchy bean sprouts, carrots, and a bologna sandwich made on the fly.

    There is always that moment when I think... "Gosh, I should just run by Subway..." but then I think of the money that I do NOT want to spend, and go from there. When I think of it, that is my true motivation: my SAVINGS ACCT. Sounds so Scrooge-ish, but I do enjoy seeing my savings on a steady incline.

    As for removing the temptation, ironically enough my work does that for me. Because we deal with financial info we are not even allowed to have our cell phones at our desk (instant termination). Not even a Kindle is allowed... we have to put everything in lockers; and it is a real inconvenience to walk to my locker for my purse which is nowhere in the direction I want to go.

    So yeah, it is a difficult thing to do, but once in the habit it is second nature.
    Filed No Asset Chp 7 BK: January 2010
    Discharged: August 2010
    A life lesson well learned.


    • #3
      We go on spending hiatus. Basically we make a competition to see which one of us can go the longest without using our debit card (basically making a convenience purchase). As we are on a cash system for our budgeted "fixed" line items (groceries, toiletries, etc) -- I can pull cash to go do those things and not risk losing the competition.

      We're both highly competitive though, so it works for us.


      • #4
        This one is definitely a tough one for me. It's just me, nobody to answer to. Plus, I work a lot and often am too tired to go the extra mile to make lunch, etc. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to convenience spending... but I definitely allow fatigue to stop me from doing the things that will save me money. It's an ongoing struggle for certain.
        A fresh start is a beautiful thing. And I'm not an attorney, just opinionated!


        • #5
          When you feel the compulsion to buy something you don't need - step back for a minute and look around you...where is the item placed...stores are notorious for placing items to lure that last minute purchase - it's marketing - they want to make money - your money. Can you live without the item or will it's non-purchase create a trip to the ER that evening? Watch other people in stores that do not shop with a list...they grab for anything that is on the corners of the aisle or under the banner that states basically "if you don't buy it today you never will be able to get it at this price again!" That is all bull and we know it - nothing is leaving the planet. American shoppers are bombarded everywhere to buy even whether or not you need the item or cannot afford it. Marketing tends to point toward that if you don't purchase the item, you will not be among your peers or be looked down upon....always take a moment and think about the situation/item and learn to walk away if you don't need the item or the item is a true non-necessity at that time when you can least afford it.
          Filed 5 Year Chapter 13: April 2002
          Early Buy-Out: April 2006
          Discharge: August 2006

          "A credit card is a snake in your pocket"


          • #6
            When HHM said leave the credit cards and ATM card at home I was thinking how I have gotten used to that when at the height of all my problems and before filling, All the credit cards were no good, over limit, past due just plain cancaled, and the checking account that our ATM card was for would not have any money in much after Fri. afternoon when the direct deposits went in on Fri. morning. So I would get 20.00 allounce for the whole week, knowing that when that was gone there would not be any more till Fri.I learned real fast to so no to the lunches and moring snacks.


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