You have already spent a ton of money today

Have you ever had a day where you just felt like spending some money? Maybe you have some “extra” money burning a hole in your wallet or you just feel like you deserve to treat yourself to “a little something.” While you definitely do deserve to treat yourself, the fact of the matter is that spending money on unplanned, unneeded items on a whim is a sure-fire way to break your budget. Lucky for you, I know a fact that is sure to burst your balloon: You’ve already spent a ton of money today.

Next time you feel the urge to splurge, take the time to figure out how much money today has already cost you. Maybe you haven’t done the slap-the-credit-card-on-the-counter kind of spending, but believe me, you’ve doled out your fair share.

To figure out how much exactly how much you’ve spent today, I invite you to do the math. Figure out what it costs you to live a day of your life. For example, divide your monthly home or rent payment by the number of days in the month to approximate what it costs to live in your home for a day. Then, do the same for all of your other expenses. Here’s a quick list of expenses you incur (though not necessarily pay for) daily to consider:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Food (at home and away)
  • Clothing (plus the cost of cleaning your clothing)
  • Insurance costs (medical, dental, life, auto, home)
  • Transportation costs (car payment, registration fees, gas)
  • Utilities (phone, Internet, cable, gas, electric, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies and personal items
  • Donations and gifts
  • Childcare or school expenses
  • Recreation/hobbies/lessons
  • Medicine and/or vitamins
  • Taxes

For me, the realization that—without buying anything—I’ve spent hundreds of dollars just to live through the day was a real eye-opener. How about you? Are you surprised at how much you’ve spent today? (And this doesn’t even take into consideration outstanding unsecured debts!) Does thinking about your expenses in this way change the way you feel about spending?

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.