Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 2, 2012
I’ve recently just started to admit to myself that I have a new habit and its measured in grams. No, for the record it is completely legal. Yet I do get a little thrill paying for my little bags of black, green and multiple colours looking mulch. It also involves varies types of compounds steeped in hot water at precise intervals…yes I have a loose tea habit.
For years, I’ve been mostly a coffee sort of guy and yes I’m ok spending $10/lb on decent coffee. So you might think this new habit must be expensive, but I recently worked it out and no it really isn’t much more money. I’ve spent perhaps $30 total over the last three months since I already had most of the equipment. Instead it is a shift in spending, which actually happens fairly frequently around my house. You see I don’t believe in being purely a creature of habit. I change my interests in reading fairly regularly, as do I on my eating and drinking habits. I consider it an ongoing evolution.
So the point of the matter isn’t that fact I have a not habit, but rather what am I reducing my other spending on to support the new habit (mainly through less coffee drinking). You can have anything you want, just not all at once. The fact of the matter is if you really want to retire early you will have to master this concept. The overall level of your spending needs to stay fairly constant, but that doesn’t sentence you to a boring life or the exact one you have now. Feel free to splurge once in a while on something or try something new. Just remember that something else is going to have to give to support that.
Overall this isn’t a bad thing if you keep in mind your level of satisfaction/happiness from your spending on something. You need to get something out of your discretionary spending, and if you aren’t getting something positive out of it you need to reconsider what you are spending it on. Or another way to free up cash is to look at some frugal ideas around your fixed spending. There really isn’t a wrong way to do this, but rather find out what works for you.
After all spending money is the easy part, as I can always find something to spend money on. The trick is to keep the total the same, which involves a balancing act.