Spending money is something that we all do, pretty much every day. Somehow though, the amount of money I seem to have been spending on things that don’t really count has run away with me, and I’ve only just begun to realise it.
Last week, I decided to do an inventory and budget of where exactly I’d been spending my cash over the last four weeks. The results really shocked me.
I’ve always considered myself to be fairly good at thrifting, but it seems that the little spends here and there mount up so much faster than you realise, and I’ve fallen victim to it.
How did I find this out? Well, I started by looking at my online banking to see if I could make any adjustments to the monthly outgoings. Now, I’m not ashamed to say I have the odd takeaway here and there, but I genuinely didn’t notice that ‘here and there’ has become rather a lot more often than it should be.
When I sat down and totted up the number of orders from Just Eat, and the little cafe spends here and there over a four-week window, the total amount really, really shocked me. How much have I been spending a month on random food orders, roughly?
Let’s just allow that to sink in for a minute. One hundred and seventy-nine pounds. That’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of money to be investing in chow mein and pizza. £179 is the majority of a car insurance quote. It’s a 32-inch Smart TV or a tumble dryer.
And I’m throwing that away, every month, without even realising it.
It makes me wonder how much money other people are potentially wasting on takeaways, cafes and general convenience food. I know for me it boils down to poor time management and laziness, there’s no other excuse.
It’s just so easy to whack an order on a card, almost as if the money that comes out of this piece of plastic isn’t actually real. And yet it is.
I think I’d forgotten just how real it is.
This financial waste is a real sin that I’ve been committing – and it absolutely has to stop. I don’t have enough of an income stream to justify that kind of spending – especially when there’s nothing tangible to show for it as a result.
Time To Slow The Spending
I haven’t even looked at any of the other pointless little spends on my list of outgoings yet – the food and takeaway splurge has come as enough of a shock, for now, to be honest.
The first thing I need to do is draw up a plan of action to sort this mess out. It’s a fairly simple plan, but initial steps are going to be as follows:
- Takeaways begone – Just Eat is getting deleted, that’s it.
- Look at my supermarket choices – the big four are just getting ridiculously expensive for me, so it’s time to open an online account with Iceland and start looking at how I can cut down on my weekly shop costs.
- Plan, plan, plan – I’m talking about meal planning, something I’m notoriously bad at and will almost certainly need help with.
- Stockpile snacks – for when the inevitable moment of weakness creeps in and I feel like re-installing Just Eat.
- Cut out the cafe coffees – and lunches…and dinners…and anything that I really don’t need to be paying to eat.
This isn’t going to be easy. I’m not the greatest cook in the world and I’ve got a feeling that some of this planning and preparing meals in advance is going to require me to seriously up my culinary game.
However if it saves me the thick end of £200 a month, it’s definitely worth doing, isn’t it?
How much are you spending on treats and takeaways each month? Have a look at your bank statement (if you are) and add it all up to see if you’re anywhere close to the amount I’ve been shockingly splashing out on, and let me know over on Twitter or here in the comments section.
Writer, tweeter and illustrator. Starving artist and thrifting expert. Pen for hire and first-time author at work.