All along we have been staying debt-free and working a budget, but even within that I can see an increase in ‘buying to get through the week’ kind of behavior – unconscious spending. I can tell I haven’t been as mindful with money when I am afraid to see what the grocery spending looks like when I run a report in Quicken. I haven’t run one in a long time, but did so tonight. It was better than I expected, but lots of room for improvement. When I get lax with our shopping and meal planning, it generally costs us about an additional 100.00 a month.
It’s easy to get in the mindset of picking up convenience items at the store, and saying ‘yes’ to impulse purchases, when you are so busy. Yet, that isn’t really how I want to spend the money I go to work to earn. What I dislike even more than the expenditure, is the unconscious part of the spending. Unconscious spending to me means those expenditures where I say, “Looks good, I’ll pick one up. Why not.” Conscious spending is when I might deviate from my plan, but I do so with intention and joy (and a definite plan to use the item soon).
If any persons think some of the maxims too rigidly economical, let them inquire how the largest fortunes among us have been made. They will find thousands and millions have been accumulated by a scrupulous attention to sums ‘infinitely more minute than sixty cents.’
-The American Frugal Housewife, 1832
Meccas for unconscious spending: Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh Market All danger zones! I don’t belong to Costco but I suspect that it also belongs on the list.
So, I am contemplating this summer how to find that balance come fall between minding the food expenses and not running around all weekend with coupons and grocery store flyers. Your input is welcome!