Monday, September 28, 2009

What are your priorities?

I have plans to have a No Spend month in November. To me this means I will not spend money on anything that is not necessary. In reality this means no dining out, no outings (that cost money), no clothing purchases, no treats.

When I was considering doing this I realised that for this to be successful I needed to figure out what my priorities are. Of course I could spend money on a meal out but that would mean less money put aside in my savings account. Please don’t think I am one of those people who save, save, save and never spend their money. That is definitely not me. I have some goals to achieve and to be able to succeed with those goals I need to save money. So, for me, it is a no-brainer. If I want to be able to have my lounge re-plastered and painted I need to put money aside. If I want to upgrade my ugly, aging bathroom I need to put money aside. If I want to landscape my front garden I need to put money aside. Getting that work done is more important to me than going out for a meal.

Having a No Spend month should boost the coffers quite nicely and will provide me with an incentive to look at what frivolous spending I can curb without too much pain.

All those small expenses add up to significant amounts of money that could otherwise be saved for those higher priorities. If you are a coffee drinker and spend $3.50 each working day for a takeaway coffee, that mounts up to $840 annually (calculated at one coffee five days a week for 48 weeks of the year). I’m not a coffee drinker so my estimate of $3.50 for a takeaway coffee may well be incorrect but you get my drift right?

Consider what your goals are that require money. Would you like to buy an investment property? Would you like to upgrade your home or car? Would you like to take time out from work? Would you like to rid yourself of debt?

Write your goals down. Work out how much you need to save to achieve those goals. Figure out which goals are most important to you and review your goals regularly. Consider what you are spending on items you could live without. Next time you are about to spend money think about your goals and consider whether the expense is necessary or not. If it’s necessary is there a cheaper option?
For anyone who thinks my bathroom upgrade is frivolous here is a photo of the current bathroom. I’ve lived with it for 8 years and fervently hope that I can upgrade it within the next year.


  1. Dear KC,
    You're absolutely right! I realized when I cleaned up my sewing/craft room that I spent over 4,000$ on craft and knitting magazines that I never used. Isn't that awful? We don't think when we spend 6 or 7$ on a book that it adds up pretty quickly. If you think your bathroom is bad, you should see mine that I've been living with for over 10 years. With the money saved on books I would have enough to redo my bathroom. Makes me want to cry but at least I'm changing my ways too. Thanks for your blog and excuse my english, I'm french from Montreal Canada. Keep up the good inspiring work.

  2. Hi Marguerite
    Yes, it is easy to look back and see how we would have done things differently. Now the challenge is to not make the same mistakes again.

    Thanks for your comment - your English is a million times better than my French. :)