One of the biggest concerns I have in my budget each month is guilty spending. While I do a pretty good job tracking my expenses, there's always a shady area when it comes to some of my mindless spending. By the end of the month, I'm usually experiencing some guilty spending.
For some people, guilty spending can involve shopping trips or using a credit card instead of cash. My weakness is spending money on coffee. On any given day, I am faced with the temptation to grab a coffee and it can be really hard to say no!
Not too long ago I used to drop over $80 a month on coffee each month. Talk about experiencing feelings of guilt!
After I decided to get serious about my budget, I decided to calculate how much I was spending on coffee. Let's do the math on this one. If I was spending $80 a month on coffee, that's $960 a year. That means I was spending almost $1,000 a year on something that isn't even a tangible good or that I could reuse.
This was a serious wake up call! I knew it was time to reassess my spending and take action.
Create a monthly budget
Each month I post my monthly budget. This helps me stay accountable with my spending and track where my money is going. Before I created a monthly budget, my spending was all over the place. I didn't even realize how much money I was spending on coffee each month!
Nowadays, I always put aside some money for fun spending. Instead of spending $80 a month on coffee, I have cut this amount down to less than half this amount each month. Some months I only spend a few dollars on coffee, which is amazing and means more savings!
Planning ahead on purchases will help stop the guilty spending. This goes hand in hand with creating a monthly budget. By planning ahead, I am in charge of my finances and know where my money is going. When I am prepared to purchase something, I am able to avoid feelings of guilt.
Get it for free
Using reward programs and cash back programs are a great way to stop the guilty spending. I use Ebates for nearly every purchase I make online. This year alone I have received more than $65 cash back for shopping online.
Ibotta is another free cell phone app. You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It's basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.
My favorite part about this app is that it's not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you'll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate. For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. Crazy, right?
If you want to grab the Ibotta app and start making money off your grocery receipts, click here to get started. You will receive a cash bonus of $10 when you scan your first item!
I also like to use Shopkick. This is a mobile app where I receive kicks every time I'm out shopping at big box stores. My favorite part about this app is that I earn points just for walking into retail stores and no spending is required. I can cash in my kicks in for gift cards, like Starbucks and Target.
The bottom line is these gift cards and cash back programs help me stop spending money and free up my money. Which leads me to my next point…
Reallocate your money
Instead of grabbing that daily coffee or drink after work, put your money to work! Pay off debt, transfer it to savings or invest it. Try to track everything so you can see how much money you are saving instead of spending it on guilty purchases.
Right now I am saving nearly $500 a year by cutting down on my coffee habit. There is so much I can do with $500. This could pay for:
- Nearly 1 year of auto insurance
- 7 months of cell phone service.
- All new tires for my SUV
I could also put money towards my Roth IRA, pay a few extra payments towards my student loans or put the money in my emergency fund.
Now that I'm excited to see how much I'm saving each month on coffee, I'm ready to explore how else I can save with my budget.
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