Thursday, August 1, 2013

Austerity August? At least be more mindful of those little decisions that impact spending

I've seen quite a few bloggers referring to "Austerity August" and think it is a good month to really look at household spending. In looking at our expected and hard to impact expenses for the month,  they add up quickly and include cable bundle, cell phone, haircuts, homeowner's insurance annual payment, new lenses for my glasses (new prescription post cataract surgery), that darn external USB case for the old hard drive, gym membership, dog grooming, utility bills, Hubby's life insurance quarterly payment, and payroll deductions for health insurance, health savings account, retirement accounts, and taxes.

That leaves only these areas to impact - Books, Clothing, Entertainment, Eating out, Gasoline, Travel, Food, Toiletries, Household supplies, and Home maintenance.

I realize we could postpone the haircuts, reduce the cable package, etc. but that is not my focus as we can afford them and have our lifestyle and still save money.

My focus is on the ongoing variable spending and how I, as a decision maker, impact the amount we spend. I may be spending on travel by booking a plane ticket to visit my Mom if DB thinks early September will be a good time for a visit.  And on eating out as I have one lunch with a group of friends planned and will go to that. Hubby really wants to see the new Woody Allen movie and that is ok and an entertainment expense.

What I can do in August to tighten our spending:

- Asking before any spending, "Is this essential?", "Do I need it right now?", "Can I substitute something less expensive?" "Am I ok with spending on it anyway?"
- Menu planning and using what we have first
- Not initiating eating dinner out as I am the primary cook and if I don't plan - well ...
- Continuing to limit driving by grouping errands to save on gas
- Not buying any books or ebooks

I'm sure I'll think of more things I can do such as washing our cars ourselves if they need it but you get the gist of my financial focus for August.

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