Money Talk – Learning to curb my spending!


Money Talk1

I am a natural spender! I love to shop and love the feel of new things (clothes, shoes, household items, etc.) in my hands. I am also an impatient shopper and don’t like waiting for things that I want. For the last couple of years I have wanted to change my ways and learn to curb my spending. Mostly because I feel like we have too many things and I was getting tired of feeling like I was wasting money on things like food, going out and having a closet full of clothes that I don’t have time to wear. After some trial and error, I decided to take some serious action and make some big changes.

shopping mall picture

I started by looking over our expenditures for last year and realized that I overspend in specific areas: Clothes for my daughter, clothes for me, food and eating out. I started thinking about my shopping habits and realized the following:

  • I was not shopping out of necessity and instead was emotional buying
  • I often shopped without any planning. I would go to the outlet mall if I had an hour to kill, or run to the grocery store without any plan or list. I often ended up bringing things home that we did not need or food that ended up in the garbage
  • I was not thinking about money which made it really easy to overspend
  • I was accepting too many invitations to go out and not really thinking about the cost
  • My husband and I were not a team as far as it came to our budget and spending. The bills got paid but we never talked about our budget or our spending

We then took action and made some changes! Setting a budget, working as a family and simply being thoughtful about money has made a big difference. My husband and I decided to to work on a budget together once a month. We felt that committing to one hour once a month gave us a chance to look at what we spent and to set a budget for the upcoming month. We also put a plan into place for our spending and saving and after the first month, we noticed a huge improvement.

Balancing The Account


The changes that we made work for our family and I know there are many other ways to save, but we have to be realistic and do what works for our household. I am hoping that you will find these tips helpful:

  • Work on the budget with your partner and talk to your kids about money and spending especially if they are older
  • Set financial goals. Setting goals like saving more for retirement, beefing up an emergency fund or saving for a special trip will help you stick to your planMoney Talk
  • Use cash to shop for the categories that you tend to overspend on. It may seem very inconvenient to run to the bank once a week to buy groceries, but this has been the biggest money saver for us. I have realized that the ease of swiping a credit card makes me not pay much attention to the cost of the item. Its also amazing how my spending habits changed once I had a set amount in my wallet to pay for things
  • Review your subscriptions and drop the ones that you don’t use. We have basic cable and were paying for Hulu Plus and Netflix. We also have an Amazon Prime membership. We realized that our daughter was the only one using Netflix so we dropped it knowing that she has access to PBS Kids and other kids shows and movies on Hulu and Amazon.
  • Organize your closets. Get rid of what you don’t wear and what does not fit (yes that means the little bitty jeans that you hope to get into at some point) – You will find pieces of clothing that you have forgotten about. Incorporate those items into your wardrobe and it will feel like you have a bunch of new clothes
  • Think before buying and make a plan for everything you buy. Meal planning and bulk shopping can mean big savings on food. Planning clothes shopping and making inventories of what you have will make you less likely to impulse shop. Always check online especially for big tickets items. Often a simple Google search will result in a coupon for online retailers
  • Buy used when possible. Local consignment and resale shops are a great resource as are online resale retailers such as ThreadUp
  • Don’t be afraid to return. In the last couple of months, I have had instances when I buy a big bag of fruit such as oranges or grapes only to come home and find some rotten fruit in the bag. In the past, I would just throw the bad fruit away, now I make sure that I return it to the store for a refund or exchange. Same goes for clothes, shoes and accessories. I make sure my daughter tries on all new clothing so if something does not fit, it goes back to the store. I also make sure that I try on new shoes in the house for several hours to make sure they don’t hurt my feet as they can’t be returned once worn outdoors
  • Make more food from scratch. We have always been a family that cooked most of our meals but to try to find ways to save money, I started to think about items that we bought a lot of that could make myself. My family loves bread and we go through a ton of it. So I tried a fresh pita bread recipe and it was a huge hit. It was easier than I thought it would be and having fresh bread has been amazing
  • Shop ethnic stores. Some items such as rice and spices are significantly less expensive at ethnic stores

So far, I am happy to report that these changes have made a significant change in my spending habits as well as improving our family dynamics. It feels like that my husband and I are on the same page with our financial goals that makes us feel more united as a family.

I would love to hear your tips on saving money.

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A city girl at heart, I moved to Vermont in 2005 and now can’t imagine calling any other place home. Born and half raised in Iran (I moved here when I was 12), I moved a lot before making Vermont home. I live in Essex with my amazing multi-cultural and multi-racial family. My little family consists of my wonderful Canadian husband, my strong, smart and beautiful little girl, Zara (June 2010), and our sweet chocolate lab. I work for the State of Vermont as a Housing Program Officer and own Tala, Taste of Persia, specializing in delicious Persian sweet treats. I am a reluctant runner, love to entertain and shop. My passions are social justice and politics and travel.


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