Aug 10, 2012
Budgeting Update: Over-Priced and Over It
It's been two weeks since I put myself on a budget to control my spending habits and start building up a rainy day fund. I must say that while I compared budgeting to dieting, I've found budgeting to be so much easier than a diet. It's just easier to say no to a dress than a cone of Baskin Robbin's Salty Caramel ice cream (which I happened to have today).
That being said, the budget is going well and I think it's because I set realistic spending goals. They are enough to help me start saving, but not so strict that I feel deprived. During the two weeks, I have been able to think twice about spending money on a whim and have managed to keep well beneath my spending goals. It's helped me realize what I can easily live without and just how much I was over-spending on certain things.
Simply put, these are some over-priced and unnecessary items that I refuse to spend money on again.
1. Expensive Shampoo
I hope my stylist never reads this. She told me that the best way to take care of my hair is to buy good shampoo (Paul Mitchell, specifically). So last month, I finally did. And you know what? I hate it. Not only does it make my hair oily, but for the shampoo and conditioner, it was $40! Absurd.
I've tried other brands of fancy shampoos and none of them make my hair prettier than good old Suave or Aveeno.
2. Fabric Softener
One of my old colleagues is an Executive Housekeeper and she said that the best substitute for fabric softener (and a more eco-friendly alternative) is good old fashioned white vinegar + baking soda. So I purchased two giant bottles of white vinegar from Costco and a huge bag of baking soda. Works great and no, you cannot smell the vinegar (even with fragrance-free laundry detergent).
3. Fountain Drinks
As I mentioned here, budgeting has helped me make better choices health-wise and Diet Coke happened to be one of them. When we dine out now, I simply refuse to spend the $2.00 on a diet drink that will do nothing for me but give me a caffeine rush.
We have Tivo and a premium cable package and neither of them are cheap. Also, we find ourselves only turning on the TV to watch the Olympics or for viewing Netflix/Hulu Plus (which are cheap). So with our next Tivo renewal, we are pulling the plug.
5. Dry Cleaning
I love my eco-friendly dry cleaner. She's adorable and she happens to be the magic behind every hemmed pair of pants and dresses I own. But, after finding a fragrance-free (I'm sensitive to perfumes) at home dry cleaning sheets, I rarely, if ever, take something to her for dry cleaning. I use these sheets and if something gets really nasty, I'll take it in to her, but only once or twice a year.
6. Plastic Shower Curtain Liners
Those liners get so nasty and pink, despite my obsession with cleaning them all the time. I normally just buy a new liner every few months or so...until I found a $15 fabric liner from Target. Simply toss in the laundry and you have a brand-new looking liner.
I used to go every 2-3 months for a pedicure. I wear sandals out her in sunny CA 8 out of 12 months of the year. Recently though, I stopped the habit and opted to cut, paint, and buff my own feet. My mom had gifted me a Ped-Egg one year for Christmas and the thing works wonders. What also helps is that I'm really into the au-natural look and a coat of clear or light pink does the trick (and thus easier to apply than darker colors).
I think that budgeting really helps you figure out what's important to you and what's not, spending-wise and that's what these weeks have shown me.
What areas are easy for you to cut budget-wise and which will you never cut back on?
at 6:07:00 PM