Are you a Spendthrift?
I've met many a spendthrift along the way on my frugal living journey. They can go through more money than any reasonable person should.
There is always something the buy, someone to please, some activity to engage in, or some other "reason" that they have to spend most if not all of their money.
If you find yourself with more month left over at the end of your paycheck, it might just be the time to assess your spending habits and correct some problems.
Let's look at the things that we spend money on. Let's not focus so much on the why, but concentrate of what we find necessary to do with our money.
The Basic List of Expenses
See if there aren't a bunch of things in this basic list of expenses that match your pattern of spending. The idea here is to get out in front of us the volume of things that we feel compelled to spend our wealth on.
- fines and penalties
- legal fees
- real estate
- memberships and associations
- contract help
- professional services
- child support
- sport vehicles
- health care
- check cashing
- credit card interest and fees
- refreshments and snacks
- credit card protection
It's quite a list, but by no means all-inclusive. These items represent what I can think of right off the top of my head. It looks a bit daunting if you ask me. Thankfully we don't have to spend money on all or most of those things every day.
A Closer Look at Just One Category
We all recognize that the list is by no means comprehensive, but I want you to appreciate just how "thick" this list really is. Just think of the category of entertainment (#3 on the list) and imagine the different types of entertainment that we pay for:
- sports we play
- games at a stadium
- pay per view sports
- comedy shows
- car races
- video game console
- video games
- video game accessories
- entertainment arcades
This represents just a handful of more specific types of entertainment. There are plenty more types out there just ready to accept our hard earned cash. Now if you consider each of the categories could be at least this "dense", then you start to appreciate the potential "thickness" of the list.
We're not finished yet with that category of "entertainment". Now we need to consider this category of spending, with all its potential robustness, also has other types of spending associated with it. Things like:
- cover charges
- proper attire for an event
Now, I think you can see how all this can easily start to add up. And, it's only one of the categories on a list of 40.
The Main Point
You're probably seeing how easy it is to become a spendthrift - there are so many areas of need and interest to spend money on. Each area can be very broad, and there are additional costs associated with each that we might not have even considered.
I liken spending and debt to a snowball rolling down a hill and you trying to stay out in front of it. You can for a while, but with the help of gravity and lots of snow on the ground, it builds in size and gains speed quickly.
If you're in debt, you've started out with a large snowball to begin with. If you're a spendthrift, you're making certain the path of the snowball has lots of good snow to roll over on its way down the hill.
Unwise spending habits can grow quickly like a snowball and overtake you if you don't realize the total costs of an activity you get involved in.
Make careful note of the items on the numbered list, and mentally add to them as you recognize other categories that I just didn't think of. The key idea to walk away with is the large number of things that potentially can consume our wealth, and the depth of financial involvement that each can possibly require.
There is no end to the things you can spend money on, and if you're a spendthrift, that can be a real problem for you and your family. The benefits of frugal living aren't going to materialize until you get excess spending under control.
Done with Spendthrift, take me back to Paying off Debt