The great thing about personal finance is that it’s personal. Some people take “personal” to mean that it’s private. I think of the “personal” in personal finance as meaning that it’s about your individual choice. No one can tell you what you should do with your money. The choice is yours! It’s personal.
The way you spend your money is an outward display of your values. You can tell what’s important to a person by the way he or she spends money.
Our priorities might be most obvious in the more discretionary spending categories like entertainment or savings, but really, all of our expenses reflect our priorities.
- Your utility bill might reflect your priority of keeping the house at a comfortable temperature.
- Your car payment reflects your priority of having a reliable, new vehicle.
- Your money saved for a family vacation shows that traveling as a family is important to you.
While we don’t want to embrace a scarcity mentality, for most of us the reality is that we don’t have endless available funds.
That’s normal. That is fine!
It just means we can’t buy everything. We can buy anything, but we can’t buy everything. We have to prioritize.
If you don’t consciously prioritize your spending (with .. ahem.. your budget), then the default is that you will spend your money on whatever comes up first. Does it seem like you somehow never have money for the things that you think are your priorities? If so, it’s probably time to rethink the way you are allocating your money. It’s time to get serious about budgeting
But that’s a conversation for another day. Today I want to share with you 7 normal things that our family doesn’t spend money on.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t spend money on these things. If some of these are among your priorities, that’s totally fine! No judgment here. This is just an illustration to show how we intentionally try NOT to spend money on things that come up if they aren’t priorities. There are probably things that I buy that you don’t!
Starbucks gets a bad rap in the budgeting space, but I’m not just talking about “fancy” coffee (that’s certainly included though). We don’t drink coffee at all, ever, so we don’t need to budget for it.
Food at Events
Whether it’s a swim meet, football game, theme park, or the county fair, our family doesn’t buy event food. Our kids don’t ask for snacks, treats, or drinks when we go to events because they know that we aren’t buying them. When it’s an event that allows outside food, then we pack our own food to bring in. If food isn’t allowed, we are conscious to eat before we go. If we’re at an amusement park that doesn’t allow outside food to be brought it we will go out to the car where we’ll have lunch and dinner packed in a cooler. We’d rather spend that money on fun activities than overpriced, non-nutritious food. We’ve saved so much money over the years with this “rule” and our kids have learned delayed gratification and money management skills in the process.
I know some women who have a closet full of purses and others who care a lot about designer labels. For me, that doesn’t matter at all. For years I didn’t carry a purse at all because I brought a diaper bag everywhere I went. At the risk of making some of you cringe, I’ll admit that I usually just buy a purse from the thrift store and use it until it wears out. Seeing the price of designer purses does not make me regret this decision!
Besides a little mascara, I don’t wear makeup. While make up is a completely normal expense for most women (and that’s totally fine!), it has never been my thing. I have my mascara on Amazon’s subscribe and save, so it automatically gets purchased and delivered to me every six months.
My husband and I don’t drink when we’re out or when we’re at home. Our decision has nothing to do with money, but when I see how much others spend in this area I can’t help but appreciate that we don’t need a budget category for alcohol.
I’ve never paid to have my nails done or to get a massage. Having nail polish or anything else on my nails makes them feel like they can’t breathe, so I prefer naked nails. I paint my own toenails in the summer, but it’s nothing fancy. For some, these expenses are priorities, but for me they just aren’t.
Haircuts, colors, etc
It probably doesn’t surprise you that I’m also very low maintenance when it comes to hair. I’ve always kept my natural color. When I was as in college my roommate and I would get our hair cut very inexpensively at the local beauty school, but other than that I’ve had my hair cut by my mom or husband. My husband cuts his own hair (with touchups from me) and our boys’ hair. I usually cut the girls’ hair myself.
You do you!
Some of you nodded along with me through that list. Others are screaming inside about our deprived life. Isn’t it wonderful that personal finance is personal!? We don’t spend money on things that aren’t priorities for us. We would rather spend our money on things that are important.
I want the same for you! Decide what things don’t matter to you (or that matter less than your higher priorities) and limit the money that you spend there. That frees up your money to spend on the things that are most important to you.
Whether your spending priorities are totally the same as or completely different than ours, harnessing the power of priority-based budgeting will get you to a better place financially. So own your spending and the lack of it. You do you!
How about you?
What are some “normal” things that you choose not to spend money on?