We all make mistakes, right? Money mistakes are no different.
On my journey to financial independence sometimes I feel like I have done a lot of things right and sometimes I feel like I’ve made a lot of mistakes.
In an attempt to learn from my mistakes and not just blindly pass over them I have decided to acknowledge a monthly money mistake. That doesn’t mean I only make one money mistake a month. This is just the one I am going to try and learn from the most for next month. Here is my Monthly Money Mistake for July 2019.
The Money Mistake
This month’s money mistake has to do with finding value on what I am spending my money on. Looking back on my numbers for this month I noticed what I had already anticipated. Our food budget was out of control. More specifically we lacked control in the eating out aspect of our budget.
Over the years our food spending has improved as we have gotten smarter with our shopping habits. That can all change in an instant with a trip to Costco that quickly goes off the rails. As good food is something we value spending more on it is okay with us as long as we are not wasting food.
Food is something we enjoy and because of that, we have a fairly hefty food budget every month. Even with a food budget that we are comfortable with we still overspent this month.
In the struggle between convenience and my wallet – convenience won big time this month.
I don’t mind eating out if we are doing it to enjoy the food at our favorite places or trying new places. This month was not the case. I wish I could say we enjoyed all the food we ate out but we didn’t. Our eating out this month had a lot more to do with convenience than enjoyment. As usual, we took on too many things at once which caused us to not have enough time for the basics – like cooking at home.
On a positive note, we did end up randomly stumbling across one of our favourite restaurants in a new location. We had not been there for years and thought that they had just closed down. Turns out they relocated.
Eating out there is usually about value as we enjoy their food. But you can have too much of a good thing. As soon as we found out about their relocation we ate there multiple times in one week. They now know us by name!
Of the 30% of our food budget that we spent eating out, I would say we enjoyed or valued probably about 3% of it. The rest was purely out of laziness – what a waste of money. This does not support our goal of trying to align our spending with our values.
The unfortunate part is eating out that much doesn’t even make me feel good. Not only does my stomach not feel good my wallet doesn’t either. I have an instant buyer’s regret. Sadly, not enough to make me avoid it. In the struggle between convenience and my wallet – convenience won big time this month.
My buyer’s regret is compounded at the end of the month when I calculated the total numbers. Almost a third of our spending (and therefore meals) was spent eating out! I’m not okay with that, but I can’t change the past. So where do we go from here?
Next month I would like that number to be substantially lower or if it is going to stay that high I want to say that it is because we made a conscious decision to enjoy eating out. In order to achieve that here are the steps I am implementing for next month:
- 1 convenience meal eaten out (nobody is perfect)
- Prepare some meals in advance that can be frozen and easily thawed for convenience
- Not take on any new projects so that time doesn’t become so crunched.
Follow along next month to see if I’ve been able to learn from this mistake moving forward. Next month is an empty canvas – only time will tell what money mistakes will happen.
What was your biggest money mistake last month?