Mindful Spending: Common Issues to Look For

Recently an article was posted on MSN Money about 30 money mistakes people make and how to avoid them. While I don’t agree with the whole list or that the things on the list rise to the level of a mistake, I do think they are interesting talking points when discussing how to be more mindful when spending money.

Some of the issues mentioned in the article I have discussed in previous posts such as, the importance of a budget, having an emergency fund, setting goals, and financing costs. I won’t repost the authors whole list; you can find the article at the link in the reference at the bottom of this post. What I would like to do in my post is look at a couple of the items on the list that captured my attention.

The first thing on the list, eating out a lot, is one that I am probably guilty of. The reality is I am a terrible cook and hate the hassle of making a meal when a lot of the time it is just me. This is not necessarily a mistake but it can be a costly habit. So, I have to ask myself, is eating out worth the hit to my budget? Or is this a place where I can find savings to meet other goals. Honestly, the answer changes from time to time.

Another item on the list is paying for subscriptions that you don’t use. This one caught my attention because it was also the focus of a commercial for a bank. The bank commercial is touting their new app that lets the user easily identify recurring payments. You hear a voice saying “Mike has 2 music services, that he does not listen to, 4 video streaming services, that he does not watch” …. And so on.  When I saw this topic highlighted in two different ways it got me to thinking about the things I pay for and if I get value out of it.

I have a Pandora account that I listen to every day as I drive to work, the $12 I spend on that is value added to me. But as I examined my spending, I noticed that there were a couple of things I purchased, used for awhile, but then stopped. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Now I have to decide if I want to start using these services or do I need to stop paying for them.

Let’s be honest, if I have neglected the services for a while it is probably time to turn the subscription off.  Two of my services I paid the whole year up front so that I could get a discount. What I did was go to the subscription service and turn off the auto renew. This is where I think some companies are sneaky, they have you pay up front and then by the time renewal comes around you forgot to turn it off. I suggest if you have a similar situation, turn off the auto renew and make a conscious decision about whether the service is still worth the price.

If you find yourself with this money issue, you are not alone. In fact, I was helping a friend with her budget, as we looked through her expenses she came across a $10 monthly game subscription her son has signed up for 2 years ago. He had her permission at the time because it was a gift. But she totally forgot about it and the auto renew was still on. The kid has moved on from the game but mom was still paying. 

As mentioned above, the whole list can be found at the link below, the article is food for thought. If a reader interested in exploring a particular topic, please share in the comments section. If you found this information interesting please let me know by liking the posts.

References

Notte, J. (2019). 30 money mistakes you’re probably making and how to avoid them. Retrieved from http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/30-money-mistakes-youre-probably-making-and-how-to-avoid-them/ss-BBTu0Ot?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=ASUSDHP15#image=1

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