Controlling Discretionary Spending

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packet
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Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:53 am

So, I’m fairly good at tracking spending and good enough at living below my means, but …

I know I spend too much on things. Things I just want, or think may be helpful, or may even have an argument for the need thereof. Not to mention all of the eating out and entertainment... ugg, a topic for another thread!

Struggling to develop the discipline (which is the unavoidable root of my issue) to cut back, I had an idea to try out.

It’s been suggested many times to wait before pulling the trigger, a day, a couple/few days, etc. What I’m going to attempt is to bundle purchases. Something to the effect that I can only order “things” on 1 day per month, say the first Monday. As the want comes up, I’ll record it in the same document that I track all finances. When that Monday rolls around, I will review the list and order away (hopefully skipping most items altogether as unnecessary).

I’m posting here partially to keep myself honest, but more so to garner feedback. Has anyone done something similar? If so, how did it go, or how is it going?

I fully admit to not searching prior to posting... :/ ... I know that budgeting topics/tips/tricks abound on the site, which is great!

Thank you and
:beer Cheers,
packet
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deikel
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by deikel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:14 am

The book 'Atomic Habits' might also help if you search for it

I have not tried this particular approach on buying only on one day, I would be wary that the various 'retention tricks' (buy just 10 dollar more and get free shipping, only 15 dollar more and get cash back ect) will torpedo your savings a bit, but TBD

I can certainly confirm that waiting before the actual purchase, doing intensive online review of the item in question ect provides quite some extra fun of expectation, sometimes prevents a stupid buy of low quality and often eliminates the desire to buy completely. Whatever passes this barrier gets on the buy list and will be considered for birthdays, holidays, special occasions ect

Eating out has resolved itself for me with the onset of dietary restrictions and the desire to cut back in salt, both nudged me to preparing my own food and skipping the processed stuff.

Strangely, an increase in job stress actually helped me cutting out silly entertainment costs (no more TV, no movies, no bars, few restaurants). After talking all day at work, I now prefer quite activities in my free time and those can be had for little money in nature....I guess that does not work for everyone.
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ScaledWheel
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by ScaledWheel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:25 am

Best of luck. I generally put things into my Amazon cart (almost all my shopping is done there) until I actually need something. I can then go through and "save for later" if it turns out I don't really need it. Weeks or months later I usually end up removing all these saved items.

jebmke
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by jebmke » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:40 am

I'm probably older than you are. We have a firm rule (minor exceptions). If you buy something, you have to get rid of (sell, recycle, donate, throw away) at least two things. That puts a damper on the "things" part of the equation. I'm less worried about the money at this point than I am the shear clutter of "stuff." I could raise the ratio from 2:1 to say, 5:1 and that might put a dent in the clutter. At some point, I need a decent house fire to thin things out.

When we were younger and working, accumulating, we had a defined savings plan that isolated money to savings and investment. Those were untouchable for spending.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 am

Give yourself an allowance, or if you're married have DW control the allowance. Spend it on whatever you want until it's gone. Then wait until the next allowance day before spending any more. Going without what you really want because you already spent your allowance might help you prioritize your future spending.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

sjt
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by sjt » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:13 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 am
Give yourself an allowance, or if you're married have DW control the allowance. Spend it on whatever you want until it's gone. Then wait until the next allowance day before spending any more. Going without what you really want because you already spent your allowance might help you prioritize your future spending.
Pretty much this. Determine how much you want to allow yourself to spend and execute. If you blow through it and want something else, too bad. Helps prioritize your wants - self discipline!
"The one who covets is the poorer man, | For he would have that which he never can; | But he who doesn't have and doesn't crave | Is rich, though you may hold him but a knave." - Wife of Bath tale

Shallowpockets
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:39 pm

Eating out and entertainment for another thread - No. Maybe start there. That is one category. Easier to focus on that one thing. See how it goes.

Cycle
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Cycle » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:48 pm

I do wait for major things, but if it's cheap I don't bother. If it turns out I don't need it I just throw it away.

I throw away or donate things valued less than $20 used. I sell anything for more.

It's a pain to sell stuff so it is important to sell stuff, as it punishes you for having bought it in the first place.

I did a major purge last year and got rid of like 900 major things. I kept track in a spreadsheet. After this purge I'm very reluctant to buy crap. I'm very thoughtful with purchases, and I'm ruthless when getting rid of unused stuff.

I live in a 1000sqft condo now with my wife and baby, which helps. Still have storage tho in basement of a rental.
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Cycle
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Cycle » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:03 pm

I should add that we had a baby 10 months ago. Most people upside when they have kids bc they need space or privacy or whatever.

We downsized and moved downtown so now all our errands, like grocery, daycare, playground etc can be accomplished on foot. This is a tremendous time saver. This wouldn't really be possible if we were hoarders.

There are several families on our floor (the lowest floor, 2), most with two but one with three kids. Since we live on a pedestrian only street, I no longer have extreme anxiety when taking the baby for walks due to exposure to risk from being near cars.

I was lead down this road from reading several BH lifestyle posts, followed by reading Marie condo, followed by listening to the minimalist and attending a local minimalist Meetup.

After a good purge I became allergic to stuff accumulation, and will even rent some tools I previously would have purchased (home Depot or local tool library)
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by TheRightKost87 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:11 pm

My biggest thing is to keep close tabs on subscriptions. The recurring cash outflows sneak up on me much more than big ticket one-time expenditures.

Until you total up how much you're spending a year on Cable, Cell Phone, Streaming Services, Office365, Magazine/Newspaper, Wine Club, Meal-kit service, etc. you don't realize how much you're bleeding out even if you never make impulse purchases.
"The problem with diversification is that it works, whether or not we want it to"

terran
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by terran » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:28 pm

I think the idea of a waiting period between desire and purchase is generally a good one. My concern with the one day a month buying idea is that it might create a scarcity mindset that could backfire. As in "oh no, if I don't buy all the things today I have to wait a whole month, so I better buy anything I might want or "need" today so I don't lose my chance!"

KlangFool
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by KlangFool » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:32 pm

packet wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:53 am
So, I’m fairly good at tracking spending and good enough at living below my means, but …

I know I spend too much on things. Things I just want, or think may be helpful, or may even have an argument for the need thereof. Not to mention all of the eating out and entertainment... ugg, a topic for another thread!
packet,

You can't spend the money that you do not have. In order for you to have plenty of discretionary spending, you must have plenty of discretionary cash and a high credit limit ond your credit cards.

If you do "Pay Yourself first" and deposit all your savings, you have a minimal amount of money in your checking account. If you run out of money in your checking account to pay your credit card, you will spend your spending.

Spending expands to the amount of cash available.

KlangFool

HomeStretch
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by HomeStretch » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:49 pm

IMO buying as you described may be a behavioral pattern or not knowing what stuff one already has or not knowing what one’s monthly spending-to-date is or some combination of these.

A lot of useful suggestions posted. What works for me:
1. Pay myself first
2. Tracking monthly spending
3. Purging stuff regularly and donating, selling or recycling
4. Well-organized closets, cabinets so I can see/find stuff
5. Assessing progress towards retirement portfolio target

All of these combine to make me more mindful about what I buy. The older I get, the easier it gets to stay on track.

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packet
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:36 am

Thank you all very much for the feedback.
jebmke wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:40 am
...We have a firm rule (minor exceptions). If you buy something, you have to get rid of ... at least two things....
We don't have a rule per se, but we do purged once or twice a year where we donate to charitable yard sales. Will have to consider a more formal rule set.
sjt wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:13 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 am
Give yourself an allowance...
Pretty much this. ... Helps prioritize your wants - self discipline!
Hmmm... how would i account for larger purchases. Carry unspent allowance over from month to month perhaps?
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:32 pm
... Spending expands to the amount of cash available...
I agree and this is precisely what i'm trying to put a stop to. We max all tax advantaged accounts yearly and have an adequate contingency fund. I'd like to go even further, but...
HomeStretch wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:49 pm
...not knowing what stuff one already has ...
4. Well-organized closets, cabinets so I can see/find stuff ...
Boy howdy this hit close to home!
I don't know how many stud finders i've purchased over the years, but i do know it's more than one!

Can you come over and organize my place for me?
:)

Thanks again everyone

:beer Cheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:38 am

deikel wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:14 am
The book 'Atomic Habits' might also help if you search for it...
Another thing to buy!
:)

I'll add it to next month's list and see how i feel about it then.

:beer Cheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:43 am

Our entire portfolio is for discretionary spending.
Some things more than others. :shock:

Solution:

Discipline + (attitude and approach over logistics)
Prioritize
Compartmentalize

j :happy
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by KlangFool » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:49 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:36 am

I agree and this is precisely what i'm trying to put a stop to. We max all tax advantaged accounts yearly and have an adequate contingency fund. I'd like to go even further, but...
packet,

Where do you keep your contingency fund? Is it easy to get to?

A) I keep 3 months of expense in my checking account.

B) I keep 9 months of expense in my Vanguard MM fund.

So, if I overspend my checking account, I have to initiate a transfer from the Vanguard MM fund to my checking account. It is a manual process. I know that I had overspent.

Do not make it easy for you to overspend.

<<We max all tax advantaged accounts yearly>>

This has no meaning. It does not indicate that you had saved enough. If you said that you saved 1 year of expense every year, I would agree that you save enough.

KlangFool

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:50 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:36 am
sjt wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:13 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 am
Give yourself an allowance...
Pretty much this. ... Helps prioritize your wants - self discipline!
Hmmm... how would i account for larger purchases. Carry unspent allowance over from month to month perhaps?
That's what I used to do. First marriage, right out of college in 1964 I gave myself $5.00 per week allowance. This was to cover lunches at work, suits for work and discretionary spending. Obviously $5.00 would not pay for a new suit so I had to save it up over time from my weekly allowances.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am

It's only been 1 day and...

Confessions:

1. Ordered 3, 20' cat 6 ethernet cables, $8.50 ea, total $25.50
2. Ordered 1 usb-c to rj45 adapter, $20
3. Ordered a SIM from Sprint, $29

Why didn't I wait wait?

I "need" the cables and adapter for a trip this weekend. They are to enhance a gaming session with my brother (we're both far too old to be gamers, but, whatever). Not needed, but cheap enough (plus the time pressure) pushed me to buy-it-now.

The SIM is for a test at home and there is a 100% money back guarantee. If it works the way I hope, it will save about $30 per month going forward. If it doesn't, I simply hope they honor the guarantee.

Hmm, bit of a rough start... :/

:beer Cheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:55 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:38 am
deikel wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:14 am
The book 'Atomic Habits' might also help if you search for it...
Another thing to buy!
:)
Check your library first.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am
... Not needed, but cheap enough ....
packet
Enough 'but cheap enoughs' can add up to big bucks.

“Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves,”
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 am

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:49 am
...Do not make it easy for you to overspend....
Good point. It is pretty easy today, I'll need to consider this more.
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:49 am
<<We max all tax advantaged accounts yearly>>
This has no meaning. ...
Point taken. We contribute (combined with matches etc.) almost 1 year's projected (in retirement) expenses per year. Not quite there, but, we could get much closer with a reduction in unneeded spending. Also, this doesn't include SS and a small pension waiting in the wings. Thus, I'm fairly comfortable with where we are.

:beer Cheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:04 am

cheese_breath wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 am
...“Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves,”
And that's why I'm here baring my soul to the Boglehead community (and myself)!

Thank you for your feedback.

:beer Cheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

KlangFool
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by KlangFool » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:06 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 am
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:49 am
...Do not make it easy for you to overspend....
Good point. It is pretty easy today, I'll need to consider this more.
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:49 am
<<We max all tax advantaged accounts yearly>>
This has no meaning. ...
Point taken. We contribute (combined with matches etc.) almost 1 year's projected (in retirement) expenses per year. Not quite there, but, we could get much closer with a reduction in unneeded spending. Also, this doesn't include SS and a small pension waiting in the wings. Thus, I'm fairly comfortable with where we are.

:beer Cheers,
packet
packet,

This is assuming that you are fully-employed continuously until retirement age. If that is not true, then, can you make it?

KlangFool

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by fposte » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:10 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am
It's only been 1 day and...

Confessions:

1. Ordered 3, 20' cat 6 ethernet cables, $8.50 ea, total $25.50
2. Ordered 1 usb-c to rj45 adapter, $20
3. Ordered a SIM from Sprint, $29

Why didn't I wait wait?
You like to shop. That's pretty common. If shopping itself is a reward, it's going to be difficult for you to simply choose not to do it on any given day.

It sounds like your preferred drug of choice is online shopping. If so, you need to make that harder. Delete stored credit cards on your favorite sites, and use siteblockers so you can't access them except for a small window of time each week. Also unsubscribe from any promotional newsletters that tempt you. If you want to throw more roadblocks in, you can freeze your credit cards in ice; it won't hurt them but it has to thaw before you can use them (don't cheat and position them so you can read the numbers through the ice). A less intense version of that is to seal them in envelopes, especially if you can find nice envelopes. If you have an emergency you're not going to worry about opening an envelope, but there's something about the RIIIP that takes the seamlessness out of spending.

dbr
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by dbr » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:23 am

Referencing another thread, it can easily be that more attention should be paid to so called essential expenses. It can easily be that some of these expenses have been allowed to be too high and can be reduced with some different long term planning.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by KlangFool » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:31 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am
It's only been 1 day and...

Confessions:

1. Ordered 3, 20' cat 6 ethernet cables, $8.50 ea, total $25.50
2. Ordered 1 usb-c to rj45 adapter, $20
3. Ordered a SIM from Sprint, $29

Why didn't I wait wait?

I "need" the cables and adapter for a trip this weekend. They are to enhance a gaming session with my brother (we're both far too old to be gamers, but, whatever). Not needed, but cheap enough (plus the time pressure) pushed me to buy-it-now.

The SIM is for a test at home and there is a 100% money back guarantee. If it works the way I hope, it will save about $30 per month going forward. If it doesn't, I simply hope they honor the guarantee.

Hmm, bit of a rough start... :/

:beer Cheers,
packet
packet,

It is less than $100. Why is this a problem? Just spend less on something else later.

A) If you save enough, this is not a problem.

B) if you do not save enough, an additional $100 will not solve your problem either.

I try to maintain $15,000 at my checking account. If I spend too much and the balance is low, I just spend less over the next few months to recover the money.

KlangFool

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by smitcat » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:51 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am
It's only been 1 day and...

Confessions:

1. Ordered 3, 20' cat 6 ethernet cables, $8.50 ea, total $25.50
2. Ordered 1 usb-c to rj45 adapter, $20
3. Ordered a SIM from Sprint, $29

Why didn't I wait wait?

I "need" the cables and adapter for a trip this weekend. They are to enhance a gaming session with my brother (we're both far too old to be gamers, but, whatever). Not needed, but cheap enough (plus the time pressure) pushed me to buy-it-now.

The SIM is for a test at home and there is a 100% money back guarantee. If it works the way I hope, it will save about $30 per month going forward. If it doesn't, I simply hope they honor the guarantee.

Hmm, bit of a rough start... :/

:beer Cheers,
packet
If you are saving the appropriate amounts of money for your future plans then the spending is not nearly that important.
Just another way to phrase the 'pay yourself first' advice given in many posts above.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by dknightd » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:59 am

Location: The pub
That might be part of the problem ;)

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by dknightd » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:02 am

I hide most of our money. So we never see it, but both know it is there. I spend less than my spouse. Mostly.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Freetime76 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:18 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am
It's only been 1 day and...

Confessions:

1. Ordered 3, 20' cat 6 ethernet cables, $8.50 ea, total $25.50
2. Ordered 1 usb-c to rj45 adapter, $20
3. Ordered a SIM from Sprint, $29

Why didn't I wait wait?

I "need" the cables and adapter for a trip this weekend. They are to enhance a gaming session with my brother (we're both far too old to be gamers, but, whatever). Not needed, but cheap enough (plus the time pressure) pushed me to buy-it-now.

The SIM is for a test at home and there is a 100% money back guarantee. If it works the way I hope, it will save about $30 per month going forward. If it doesn't, I simply hope they honor the guarantee.

Hmm, bit of a rough start... :/

:beer Cheers,
packet

You didn't wait because you haven't learned to tell yourself "no" yet. (you asked why...)

Words of wisdom from my wise, millionaire mother:
1. She asks herself, "Is this a Want, or is this a Need?" She's been known to take items out of her cart in a store and put them back.
2. "Money goes." Meaning, if you do not have an alternate PLAN for your money, it will disappear from your account. (a PLAN = a budget, automatic savings - assume the rest will be spent) This, from her dad.

You did not need cables or SIMS etc. You probably didn't need the trip...You chose to buy these. Own your choices, and you can decide to choose differently (or not...). It's up to you...
Good luck.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:19 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:51 am
It's only been 1 day and...

Confessions:

1. Ordered 3, 20' cat 6 ethernet cables, $8.50 ea, total $25.50
2. Ordered 1 usb-c to rj45 adapter, $20
3. Ordered a SIM from Sprint, $29

Why didn't I wait wait?

I "need" the cables and adapter for a trip this weekend. They are to enhance a gaming session with my brother (we're both far too old to be gamers, but, whatever). Not needed, but cheap enough (plus the time pressure) pushed me to buy-it-now.

The SIM is for a test at home and there is a 100% money back guarantee. If it works the way I hope, it will save about $30 per month going forward. If it doesn't, I simply hope they honor the guarantee.

Hmm, bit of a rough start... :/

:beer Cheers,
packet
I'll not comment on your most recent spending, or your inability as you state to control it. I'll echo that you're a prime candidate to start tracking ALL your spending, then setting a budget, and not deviating from it.

Ok, I will comment on your spending. Not one thing on that listed had to be bought. You don't have to play games this weekend...

Most people are clueless about their spending. They may know that they take in more than they spend, or they may know that they don't - and can tell that because they have credit card and other non-mortgage / non-car loan debt. But they don't take steps to a control their spending.

My old boss many years ago (pre-internet) complained about his wife's spending. He asked her to cut back, she told him to make more. He took credit cards, she got more. He closed the accounts, she opened department store accounts. He closed those, she got cash at the bank...

Consider tracking ALL your spending - Quicken, Mint, Excel - to see what you're really spending. Then, if you meet your saving goals, you should be able to see what your available discretionary spend is, and if you have to cut back things.

A $5 cup of coffee every workday, 50 weeks a year, is $1,250 after tax. Assuming a combined 35% tax bracket, that means you have to earn $1,923 to buy that coffee every day. Bring it from home or drink it at home.

That $8 lunch every day is $2,000 after tax, $3,077 before tax. So coffee and lunch require $5,000 in salary a year.

Assume that you brown bag your lunch for a cost of $2, and you bring coffee for a cost of $0.50, that's a savings of $2,452 after tax, $3,772 before tax. Put that in the market at 6% for 30 years and you have $205,500 at the end of 30 years.

Based on your expense tracking, you can see what you need to budget, and what is discretionary, and set a budget for that.
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by mlipps » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:22 am

For me, little things seem to add up and surprise me with the total at the end of the month. So, I finally broke down my discretionary budget into daily amounts. If I want to spend $1000/month, that means I can only spend $30/day. The $1000 sounds like a ton of money but $30/day keeps it in perspective for me. For example, if I go get coffee & lunch (not something I do every day, but happens a couple times a month), that's half my money for the day. Or, if I go shopping and spend $100, I need to not spend any money for about 4 days to make up for it. It's helped me stay a lot more on track recently.

Freetime76
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Freetime76 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:23 am

dknightd wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:02 am
I hide most of our money. So we never see it, but both know it is there. I spend less than my spouse. Mostly.
In our household, we called this self-enforced scarcity. If the money wasn't in the checking account, we'd forget about it and it was safe for better purposes. Cash sitting around used to burn a hole in DH's pocket, and I really like TJ Maxx. We're past this phase now and much more disciplined, I think from age/experience/maturity (doesn't always come with age. :shock: ) Also, we became better aligned for larger goals.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by nolesrule » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:23 am

You seem like a prime candidate for an envelope budgeting system, which forces you to plan your spending and deferred spending only with money you already have. It forces you to acknowledge that if you buy something that you don't have money for in the budget, something else needs to be sacrificed to make up for it.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:21 pm

I approached life differently. Set savings targets (automated) and the rest was mine to spend. If extra at end of month , then it was moved to savings account.

It is a good to give yourself time to evaluate a purchase. Large purchases (set an amount) need a couple of days wait.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Independent George » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:14 pm

He (rightfully) gets a bad rap here for his terrible investing advice, but Dave Ramsay's method for controlling spending really works: pay in cash as much as possible, and keep that cash in separate envelopes every month. Our brains are wired to value physical resources in a way not captured by an electronic statement. Watching your pile of cash dwindle by the end of the month strikes a much, much different emotional cord than pixies dancing on a computer screen.

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packet
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:08 am

Independent George wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:14 pm
...pay in cash as much as possible, and keep that cash in separate envelopes...
99.9% of the spending I'm struggling with is online, and the vast majority is at 1 re-seller (thankfully, I have their 5% off card, plus portions go to my favorite charity).

How would DR's suggestion be translated for online transactions?

Just spit-balling here, but... maybe put equivalent amounts of cash in envelopes and mirror online activities? Would cause extra effort (would have to actually get up out of the recliner to get the envelopes) and more thoughtfulness... ?

:beer Cheers,
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:27 am

packet wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:08 am
...99.9% of the spending I'm struggling with is online, and the vast majority is at 1 re-seller (thankfully, I have their 5% off card, plus portions go to my favorite charity)....
You know, some people just can't resist a deal even if it's a bad deal. I wonder if the part I've highlighted in red above is sucking you in.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by dknightd » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:53 am

I put discretionary things from that place in my wishlist. Sometimes I buy them, sometimes not.

deikel
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by deikel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:12 am

packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:38 am
deikel wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:14 am
The book 'Atomic Habits' might also help if you search for it...
Another thing to buy!
:)

I'll add it to next month's list and see how i feel about it then.

:beer Cheers,
packet
Yes, the irony occurred to me too when I wrote it down, however the local library is your friend and might avoid a lot of purchases (I guess depending on where you live, mine is plain awesome)
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:21 am

deikel wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:12 am
Yes, the irony occurred to me too when I wrote it down, however the local library is your friend and might avoid a lot of purchases (I guess depending on where you live, mine is plain awesome)
This ^^^. I've read dozens of books recommended here and other places, all free from the library, including e-books.

Tip - many libraries have e-book lending. I have two sons that live many states away. Neither ever goes to the library. I get them to go, get a card, and then sign up on the site for an account. I then have the ability to checkout e-books on their account.

Tip - an app called Libby allows you to simplify management of library e-book lending, including management of multiple library cards (currently have 4).
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:23 am

deikel wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:12 am
packet wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:38 am
deikel wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:14 am
The book 'Atomic Habits' might also help if you search for it...
Another thing to buy!
:)

I'll add it to next month's list and see how i feel about it then.

:beer Cheers,
packet
Yes, the irony occurred to me too when I wrote it down, however the local library is your friend and might avoid a lot of purchases (I guess depending on where you live, mine is plain awesome)
Michigan has a system of literally hundreds of libraries whereby if your local library doesn't have what you want they might be able to get it for you from one of the others in the system. I would imagine other states might have something similar.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Point
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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by Point » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:25 am

Use cash. That’s all it takes.

Pull out $200 (pick a number) a week from your atm. Use cash for discretionary purchases. When your out. You’re out!

If you _have_ to use a credit card, take the cash to cover the credit purchase and seal it in an envelope. Don’t open until you recover the credit purchase, and don’t resupply from the atm until you balance out on weekly objective.

Using case and the friction of going to an atm will slow down the impulse buying.

As far as amazon purchases go, put what you want to buy on a list in their system. Every 3 weeks review the list, cull what you don’t want, and move forward. It’s amazing how impulse buying slows down with the friction of time.

It’s about discipline.... stick to it and your on track.

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Re: Controlling Discretionary Spending

Post by packet » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:19 am

Only 12 days in and it's been interesting. I have about $100 stacked up already (if today were purchase day, I'd likely only spend half of that). It really makes a difference seeing a total as opposed to the individual prices (these are all small). The extra time allows (forces) more thought around the question of whether it's a want or a need...

:)

:beer Cheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

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