Personal finance: Sweating the small stuff

I absolutely adore personal finance blogs. When I’m looking to curl up into a nook of the internet for a few hours, they’re my first port of call; I’m obsessed with reading about tips for saving, frugal living, paying down debt, planning for retirement. Initially I wanted to run a personal finance blog, with my own take on all of these topics.However when planning what I would write, I realised how totally out of my depth I was; I’m a half-assed saver, I live in a magical universe where I have no debt (standard millenial receiving extremely-appreciated support from my family through uni), and I still have zero idea what I want from my life, despite being 2.5 years into a legal career.

Felt even more acutely is my total inability to curb my big-ticket spending. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately. I generally stick closely to the standard tenets of a thrifty life, like packing my lunch and healthy snacks during the week, spending my weekends meal prepping, curbing how much I spend on takeaway coffee, not drinking at bars (also read as being a nanna), borrowing books from the library rather than buying them and living in a location where I can walk most places or take free public transport. However these small wins over the course of a week are quickly outweighed by the huge losses of impulse buying.

I also have a personal definition of impulse buying. Rarely is the thing I’m impulse buying not well thought through. Typically I find the product online and obsess about it. I save it to wish lists, and do daily procrastination check-ins on price and availability… or just to look at it. I’ll ponder on it for a month, or more. Obsess, obsess, ponder, and reject. Then one day – boom, buy. So my impulse buying is more obsessive-stalkerish than  My Garmin Fenix is a perfect example of that – I’d been desperately wanting one for 8 months, thinking about it, looking at it online, searching for the best price, and then telling myself it’s an outrageous outlay. Then one day (okay, my birthday, the most dangerous of treat yo’self events), I just decided I was going to buy it. No saving or planning, or sacrificing other things. I just found it for a slightly better price than normal, added it to my basket and pressed ‘buy’. My Amex was debited $660, and I had an absolutely beautiful watch in my hand a few days later. (I don’t regret the purchase at all, but more on that in another post).

Trying to recover $660 from my budget by not buying a $4 coffee or bringing my lunch to work is just impossible. So is the amount I outlayed on participating in a handmade market this past weekend. Or the amount I want to spend on two absolutely beautiful work blouses I found online to replace my very gross ones. Or the amount I need to spend as a bridesmaid in my friend’s upcoming wedding. Or the entry fees to upcoming triathlons I want to participate in. Or the new desk stationery I want to purchase. These are inevitable impulse purchases for me, but ones I know that my day to day behaviour can’t accommodate for.

And that is why I could be a personal finance blogger. I sweat the small stuff, and am wilfully blind to the big. I’m a living and breathing embodiment of the penny-wise pound-foolish philosophy. I battle with the competing desires of embracing a life of less expenses, particularly expenses wasted on things I know I don’t want, and spending on my (very wide) array of hobbies – crochet, running my etsy store, triathlons, fitness/activewear, stunning stationery, and generally keeping up with the latest activity trends.

I’m feeling very reflective on this topic, and I think it’s something that’s worth exploring further. I’m back on board with tracking my fritter expenses, which will provide a great insight into what’s going on and what my triggers are. I’m very confident it’s hobbies, but we’ll see how true that is!

One thought on “Personal finance: Sweating the small stuff

  1. ronprestonjr says:

    I enjoyed ur post, especially that u had no problem admitting that u are a “half-ass” saver 😂. You are doing all the right things, we all have lapses of judgement and give in to impulse here and there. I wouldn’t let it get you down, your foundation is very strong and your budget will recovery and leave u with a lesson learned.


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