Let’s Waste Some Money!

September 14, 2012

There’s no doubt in a lot of minds that the government spends more money than it should.12

Like, waaaaay more than it should.

The numbers are big and scary.  The national debt topped $16 trillion last week.

But let’s not have a big political argument today about spending.  Because the fact is, we all overspend on something.  Admit it!  It doesn’t matter how holy you are, how good a steward you are of God’s money, or how much you tithe.  You have some money you’re throwing down the drain, indulging in some luxury you don’t need, and you know it.  I do it too.

For a little Friday fun, let’s confess what we’re overspending on today.

Cable TV

Yeah, our cable is packed with our internet service.  But really, with Netflix streaming, there’s hardly any reason for us to still have cable, aside from watching the last season of Jersey Shore.

The Gym

I’m not alone.  The gym membership I bought for the summer went really underutilized.  But 4 out of 5 gym memberships go unused, making gyms equal to churches in numbers of people who call themselves “members” but never show up.  And just like church, you just feel better by saying you’re a member while you sleep in.  Yea, health!

Insurance

I think the Amish are right.  Insurance is a form of gambling, and the house always wins.  Last week, my wife and I were pouring over some new insurance quotes.  Conclusion: this is the biggest crock in the history of humanity.

Restaurants

My wife and I are food nerds, I admit it.  She reads Bon Apetit magazine.  Yes.  And not only does this hoity toity, foo foo magazine tell her about all the exotic ingredients she needs to buy, but we eat at restaurants just way too much.  We go out to eat, and sometimes we don’t even have a conversation…except about the food.  The food is our topic of conversation.  We are a lost cause.

Vinegar

Yes, vinegar.  If you had told me a week ago that I would be overpaying for vinegar, I would have slapped you in the ear.  That was, until we discovered a local store, purveyor of fine specialty vinegars and olive oils.  Yes, this is a thing.  Picture a few dozen flavors of vinegar and olive oil.  Plus, it’s a Christian establishment.  Let’s just say we have a new favorite condiment…for everything.  Cinnamon pear vinegar with blood orange olive oil should now be on everyone’s bucket list.  And by that, I mean you should buy a bucket of it.

Presents

It’s a fact of human nature.  Gifts get regifted.  You just can’t always know what someone wants.  Sometimes, a gift is obligatory, even though you don’t really want to give a gift.  Either way, we’ll soon be gearing up for gift-giving season, and I know we’ll be blowing cash on crap that no one wants.

Taxes

Dear government: I know how to waste my own dang money, thank you very much.

What do you willingly, eagerly overspend on?  Don’t deny it!  What corners have you cut lately to save some unnecessary spending?

26 responses to Let’s Waste Some Money!

  1. We could do without cable, but enjoy the NFL ticket and a few other specialty channels too much. I agree with you that insurance is a rip-off–it seems like legalized extortion to me but we have to have car and home insurance so no choice there. Fortunately, we have good medical insurance through work.

    We save money but not traveling, only going out to eat once a week for breakfast at Denney’s (the value meal is just $4!), and neither of us smoke or drink alcohol so we save on that as well. All this money we save though goes for our pets care and vet bills. They are our furkids though and worth it to us!

  2. We cut the land line to our house a couple of years ago in an effort to save some pennies. Honestly, there still more to be done. We reduced our cable bill, but maybe we should cut it all together. There’s nothing but junk on the TV most of the time anyway.

  3. We don’t have cable or sat t.v. We do have NetFlix or may go with HuluPlus in the future. But we do spend money on luxuries. We want to make sure we at least tithe. We want to be good stewards of our time, money, possessions and be good neighbors. We want to save for retirement so that hopefully the kids won’t have to take us in someday. But we don’t expect to leave them an inheritance.

    Even though we may not consider ourselves rich, compared to other parts of the world we are spoiled rotten. And we expect the gov to maintain that spoiled rottenness.

    • I hope investing for retirement does not turn out to be a waste, or a luxury. But right now, we’re losing money by investing! We realized the interest on our loans is greater than the return on our investments! We’re better off spending ourselves out of debt rather than saving up!

      • I followed Dave Ramsey’s advice on this… pay that debt down first, then work on the retirement. In this case, you’re net negative on the Interest so it’s even better. My wife and I are debt free except for the house….and that’s not far away. Then, we hope to STAY that way so we can go completely from spending too much to giving.

  4. I’m always in favor of grown ups being able to waste their money if they wish.

    But govt. is in the business of wasting other people’s money.

    It’s really a crime…or oughtta be, anyway.

  5. We cut the cable cord a few years ago. Now we only have broadcast and Netflix. Been trying to get my wife to cut the cord on the home phone. May be able to get her to agree to going with Verizon or AT&T wireless home phone service (19.99 for unlimited nationwide calling). My wife is a dedicated couponer, so we save about 50% on groceries.

    We still spend too much on:
    * Eating out – b/c we are constantly at marching band practice, band fund raisers, guitar, field trips, etc
    * Entertainment – we love movies and laser tag. :)

  6. Dark chocolate Kit Kat, chocolate extreme blizzards, chocolate milkshakes from hardees and Terry’s dairy king (extra chocolately) and good n plenty’s. Which doesn’t belong? Going out to eat is a bad one for us.

  7. Me and my family probably overspend on books the most. We have a habit of going to Barnes & Noble after church for coffee and scones (or, as my husband calls it “the second sacrament”) and rarely leave there without a new book–the shelves might as well be stocked with crack. It’s worse now that the kid is reading–he’s usually gotta have a comic book once in a while and it’s hard to say no to that.

    Then the real money gets spent on coming up with places to store it all. My husband will unload a few at Half Price Books once in a while, but even at those trips he just uses the money to buy more.

    I have a Nook and I’ve been trying to do the e-book thing more, but it’s not the same.

    • I prefer to consider this investing – so as to not make myself feel bad. I have a nice collection of books, less than half of which I’ve read. But it makes me look smart to have two shelves full in my office!

      • Yeah, that’s kind of what I tell myself, too :)

        I’m probably the worst with children’s books. Ever since I had a kid I’ve been going nuts buying them–I usually remember a book that I really loved at his age and decide that we need to have our own copy. I’ve filled up his bookshelves quite a bit that way.

        On the flipside, though, I have to remember that half the pleasure I got out of reading as a kid was discovering good books myself–most of the ones I remember really loving as a kid were books that I just found myself at the school library. So, while I want to introduce him to all my faves, I have to remember to give him space to discover some on his own, too.

  8. While both deal with risk, Insurance is not gambling. They are the inverse of each other.

    Gambling creates risk where none previously existed.

    Insurance deals with situation where risk already exists (loss of life, loss of property, etc.) and the purpose of the policy is to help mitigate it.

    • That, and the Amish get by without insurance because they’re much better at living communally–“taking care of their own”, if you will. Everybody chips in to make sure there’s a pool of money available in case someone needs it (which is basically like insurance but without all the middlemen, when you think about it.)

      The Amish have the right idea, but we’d all have to be willing to actually live like them in order to make the “no-insurance” thing work.

      • Not true: http://www.samaritanministries.org – we haven’t looked into it seriously as a family because they believe that ADD can be treated in all instances without meds and my family is living proof that sometimes that is not the case…….but if that weren’t an issue for our family, we’d be considering them. It’s a much more Biblical approach, imo, but takes more work. Basically, you submit bills/receipts for your medical care, they send a “bill” each month telling you how much you need to pay and to whom. When you need medical care, the community sends you personal checks, and you pay your bills. I think they base the amount you send to other people on how many are in your family (so a larger family who would likely have more needs themselves would pay more each month, but I think there’s a guarantee that it won’t exceed a certain amount). It’s an interesting concept. Literally, bearing one another’s burdens.

  9. I probably spend too much on art supplies. 😀 Well, not so much anymore since I switched mediums, but I certainly have a surplus that I may never use.

    We already had Netflix, but the husband just got a Tivo so he can watch football games in HD.

    We eat out a bit more than we should… but I’m not a great cook and the husband is too tired to cook when he gets home from work.

    I hate shopping, so I don’t spend much on clothes and shoes and purses and the like. We ditched our home phone line a long time ago, since we both had cell phones anyway and the home line was more of a nuisance than a useful thing. (I hate answering the telephone, and it’s intrusive when it rings — especially when it’s a telemarketer.)

    Sure, we “waste” some money on ourselves, but we also give a lot. Bonus: The more you give to charity, the less you have to give to Uncle Sam to waste. :-)

  10. I love your take on this issue! It is just like what Jesus told us to do, remove the log in our own eye before taking the forest out of your friend’s eye (okay, it was a splinter in the Bible, but with the Federal government, it is a forest).

    LEGOs. My oldest daughter and both sons LOVE LEGOS. Sorting the entire LEGO collection, which are sorted by function in my house, is a three hour process.

    ENTERTAINMENT: We cut the cable cord over ten years ago because we didn’t have time to watch anything. However, that is when our movie collection started to grow. We just gave away our extensive Veggie Tales collection to our church. My husband and I are also music lovers and have about 5,000 hours of music in our library, maybe more, since we have switched to music downloads. Most of it was collected when we were single and part of music clubs. The only thing that has slowed the flow is Spotify.

    BOOKS: Some of this is a result of homeschooling. However, when we went up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this summer, my youngest son and I each bought books. Mine was about Powell’s first trip down the Colorado. One of the reasons we chose the house we did is because it had eight (8!) built-in bookshelves. And yes, we are Kindle owners. I am totally safe in a clothing store, but put me in a book store, especially a used book store, and I become dangerous to the budget.

  11. I won the gamble in the insurance game when hurricane Irene crushed my house. Wow, at the time, it didn’t feel like a win. Thanks for the list. I’m low in the money tossing group I’m not worried, I know there are enough of the entitled to make up for my frugality. :)

  12. Junk! Seriously, I have a very unhealthy addiction to craigslist and thrift shopping. I prefer to call it treasure hunting, not money wasting 😉

  13. You mentioned cable, but how did you miss telephones? I am giving free money to two phone providers on a monthly basis. Example: used 18 minutes on cell phones last month, which comes to just over four dollars per minute. I’m an idiot.

  14. Gotta say, I never expected vinegar to be on anyone’s list of cutbacks. :-)

    My husband and I made major cuts in our spending several months ago: cable TV, land line, health insurance, sold my car and now share one (saving car insurance as well), my credit cards are non-existent now so it’s debit only, and we combined our 2 separate cell phone plans into one shared plan. All this is in an effort to recover from the recession and my job loss. Now we live indoors, eat good food prepared at home, have transportation, and buy clothes if we can. We leave the rest to God.

    I make darn good salad dressing with cold pressed EVOO and balsamic vinegar from Costco. You can too, Matt. 😉