Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goal #1 - Money Money Money

I'm awesome at budgeting. Seriously. I can spend hours calculating the averages per month of every conceivable expense and fitting it all into a neat little chart that shows exactly what is coming in and what should be going out. However, what should be going out never seems to match with what does go out. Because I am what is known as a hardcore fritterer.

A fritterer is someone who spends a lot of money in small amounts, so it doesn't seem like a lot of money is being spent. A coffee here, a magazine there. Some Tic Tacs while buying milk, a new type of Black & Green's chocolate that I notice on the shelf at the local hippie shop while I'm stocking up on rolled oats and chia seeds. A $5 mascara in a throw out bin conveniently located while lining up at Chemist Warehouse waiting to pay for my vitamins. I think you get the point - I piss away a lot of money on fleeting, pointless, impulse purchases.

So my first goal for Year of the Tight Arse is to rein in the frittering. For the past few months I have been using an app called Toshl (there are loads of expense tracking apps out there, this is just one of them) to keep track of my spending. I haven't been religious about it, but just noting down for a couple of weeks here and there everything I buy. In one 7 day period I spent $36.70 on coffee. COFFEE. In the same period I spent $30.30 on lunch, and I have no idea how that happened, as I take my lunch to work almost every day. Other expenses in that week:
  • magazines - $16.90
  • macarons - $10.00 (note how they get their own category!)
  • downloads - $14.18
  • beauty products - $30.21
  • cakes - $8.45 (again - own category!)
  • water - $14.80

So you can see why what's in the budget doesn't match up with what's left in my hand at the end of each fortnight.

I haven't entirely figured out the best way to go about this. I am half-considering doing a summing up post each fortnight (as that's my pay cycle) of what I spent money on that I didn't need. Maybe seeing it written down might spur me to reduce that list each time. But I don't want to bore people senseless with lists of stuff. I don't know...

Are you a fritterer? Any tips to avoid impulse purchases greatly appreciated!


  1. Yes, I am! And I didn't know there was a term for it!
    Coffee and bargain bin items are my weak points too. A little calculation about just coffee: $3.50 coffee, at least 5 times a week = $70 a month. Now I'm a bit terrified!

  2. It's the coffee one that always freaks me out, Su. Such a small thing and then when you add up how much you spend on it... eek! It would be the same for a person who drinks Coke - I'm sure Ben (my ex) spends about $15 a day on Coke Zero!

  3. Well done on recognizing the frittering! Years ago I used to spend hundreds on magazines each month - Aussie and International. I had no idea until I tracked my spending for a month. DVD rental was another big one. Now I don't spend any money on mags unless I must have the freebie! I can't wait to see your posts!

  4. I'm not bad with saving, but I must admit that there's not a whole lot around here to spend my money on! I'm looking forward to your budget tips Dee. I might need them when I have a salary ;)


  6. Coffee = $20 (make that $40 if I get a snack as well)
    Lunch = $30-$40
    Parking = $15-$20 (that can be up to $40 a week in winter)


    I can blow half my pocket money on crap each week without even thinking about it. I think I can wear the coffee expenditure if I can cut back on lunch and parking

  7. Karyn, I added up what I spent on magazines monthly years ago and nearly had a heart attack! Since then I've cut down dramatically but I'm still a sucker for a glossy now and then.

    Sarah, maybe that's my problem - I need to not have a salary, lol. ;-)

    Natalie, nice to know I'm not alooooone.

    Jodi, does parking count as frittering? That's kind of a necessary evil, isn't it? Or do you mean it's days when you can't be bothered walking?

  8. When I have to drive, that's not frittering. But when I am too lazy to walk... that's definitely fritterings! In all honesty, I should pay for parking once a fortnight.

  9. I've been trying to go to stupid Starbucks less but the office machine is unbearable sometimes. I try switching to black tea for every other caffeine hit and it's cut down caffeine craving and reduced $ spent somewhat. (Buy a nice package of tea which still costs less than $y x z cups per day = $shock!) I fritter but wouldn't classify myself as a fritterer. More like a monthly exploder.

  10. Fritterer is a word that suits me perfectly. It's £10 here , £20 there and it very quickly adds up!

  11. Liz, get yourself a fancypants tea cup for work and make it an event.

    Gaelle, I suspect a lot of beauty bloggers are fritterers. What better way to spend a bit here and a bit there than on cosmetics? ;-)