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Monday, March 27, 2017

My Money Blind Spots

Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 16, 2010

There is a bit of downside of having a well developed budget, I tend not to look at it all that much anymore.  As such I’ve noticed an interesting problem lately.  I’m developing some financial blind spots.  I don’t look for savings anymore as such I’ve had some creep of spending in areas where I’m wasting some money.  The amounts are minor so I suppose that is why I’ve been neglecting looking at them.

Here are a few examples:

  1. The Second Cable Box - We have two cable boxes in my house.  Why?  We just decided to hook up both TV’s when we moved in.  Yet here is the thing.  I don’t really watch much TV.  So 99% of the time I’m using the second TV to watch a movie.  So I’m paying $3.50/month for something I use perhaps once a quarter if that.
  2. Food Waste – As a family we used to be really good about not letting food go to waste, but now it seems every garbage day that something is going into the trash.  It’s become rather systematic lately and I’m not entirely sure why it is happening.  I suspect it has to do with poor meal planning and making sure to use up things before they go bad.  I would estimate perhaps we waste $15/month in food.
  3. Eating Out – A secondary fall out from our poor meal planning is we have been spending more money on eating out.  We used to eat out perhaps twice a month.   Lately it’s been at least double that.  I know I’m partly to blame for not planning some of my lunches so I end up eating out from a lack of being organized.  Estimated wasted spending $40 a month.
  4. Not Putting Aside the Raise – I recently got a small raise at work and I’ve managed to forgot to adjust my saving amounts to capture that raise.  As such the raise is currently vanishing into the regular budget and getting spent.  Estimated waste $60/month.

Each item itself isn’t that much money yet when you add it up it is $118.50 a month that I’m letting slip between my fingers.  It’s time to get back into a habit of checking in on my spending every few months to reduce wasteful spending.

Have you ever developed blind spots because your are too comfortable with your budget?  If so, what are a few of your blind spots?  If not, how do you managed to keep track of the little items like these?

Comments

7 Responses to “My Money Blind Spots”
  1. deegee says:

    This is not an expenditure for an actual item, but over the years I noticed the cost of an optional item on my landline phone bill called “Inside Wire Maintenance” rising quickly. It is like an insurance policy (or extended warranty) which enables the customer to avoid being charged for a visit from the phone company if the phone’s wiring problem is inside your residence.

    When this charge was a dollar or two a month I did not see it s a big deal. But recently they raised it to $7.50 a month ($90 a year) so I had enough of it and dropped it. It was probably always a ripoff even at one or two dollars a month; it just took me a little longer to realize it (when it became a BIG ripoff).

  2. George says:

    We have slack built into our budget so that we can spend freely for the occasional meals out, travel, books, DVDs, etc. It is what some would consider significant slack, yet compared to our savings, not so much.

  3. George says:

    Thinking about that slack a little more… we spent a significant chunk in the past 30 days: computer gadget $100, refrigerator compressor $700, tires $600, winter coat $200, plants $80, and yarn $100.

    However, that’s more like 4 months’-worth rolled into a single month. So the slack in the budget must amount to about $6000 annually? Wow, that’s more than I intended!

  4. Talk to the cable company and ask them if it’s possible to get the second cable box for free. We use SHAW and when we called about the charge, since we are in good standing and have been a customer for a while, they canceled the charge each month.

    We barely go out for dinner anymore either. In Edmonton, even on a Monday or Tuesday, you can still wait 20-35 minutes to be seated at the good restaurants. In 40 minutes I can have steaks, corn on the cob and garlic mashes potatoes ready to eat, at a fraction of the cost of eating out. Plus I know who made it! All the extra money for tip and drinks can be used else where or on good meals at home more often.

  5. Canadian Dream says:

    George,

    Thanks for sharing…I’m not the only one then.

    Addicted2dividends,

    Oh, I lived in Edmonton for a few years…good to hear things don’t change. I didn’t eat out much when I lived there either.

    Tim

  6. b foot says:

    Totally agree, there are a few things one can go without — cable tv, landline phone, newspaper subscription, daily timmy etc.

    Ever since I dropped my landline phone in 2003, I’ve cut my phone bill + oversea long distance call from $100/month to about $8/month.

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