10 things we usually overspend on. And the question to ask yourself when making a purchase.

For quite a while now I changed completely my way of shopping. Actually, the way I look at prices.

How do we pay for stuff? With money. How do we get the money? By working – around 8 hours a day, from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. The more stuff we want, the more money we need. So the more we need to work. It’s an exchange of our time for money, an exchange the robs us from our freedom. We’re almost never home during the week and we spend the weekend cleaning, cooking and organizing. So when do we spend quality time with others or just by ourselves?

So here’s my eye-opening exercise. Calculate how much you make per hour. Next time you’re out shopping and debate whether something it’s too expensive or not, ask yourself “how many hours do I need to work for this, is it worth it?”

If we buy less, can we work less and spend more time doing the things we love? I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so.

By looking at our budget throughout the years, I managed to compile a list of things we usually overspend on (without even noticing sometimes!). And if you read the Budgeting 101 post and used the budget sheet you may have found something similar yourself. If not, I suggest you do the experiment and see where does your money go every month. It might be a surprize.

The money series - Things we overspend on. After revisiting our budget, I made a list of overspending regular offenders. A few tips on saving and deciding if you want to make the purchase or not.

  1. Rent. By rule of thumb, it shouldn’t be more than 30% of your household income.
  2. The little things that add up. I’m looking at you, Starbucks regular!
  3. Work week lunches. A reasonably priced store-bought ready meal is somewhere around £5 in London. You can make yours at home for less than a pound. You do the math.
  4. Big brands – food. When it comes to food, supermarket own-brands are as good and sometimes better than the big known brands. Big brands sometimes have more fat and more sugar – they need to keep you addicted, remember that! So next time you’re in the store, hold side by side one cheap product and one expensive product and compare the ingredients.
  5. Big brands – clothes. I used to be obsessed with big brands and it came with a price. Looking back, I wouldn’t pay so much money for clothes anymore. What’s the point? When I was purging last summer, I donated many clothes that were brand new. And I’m not the only one who does it. So when you need something but you’re in trouble money-wise, don’t disregard charity shops or e-bay. You never know what treasures they may hide.
  6. Health stores. Our normal shop from a supermarket is £30. Whenever we visit a health store, we pay around 60 – sometimes for products we can find in supermarkets too. Yes, there are things that we can only find there and we enjoy from time to time, but don’t make a habit out of shopping from health stores. They’re expensive.
  7. Pre-cooked, pre-chopped, pre-washed. Seriously, why pay 1 pound extra to have someone cut your carrots? Don’t be that guy.
  8. Buying on offer or sale stuff you don’t normally use. That’s not saving money, that’s spending money.
  9. New furniture. There are tons of reasons why I don’t recommend new furniture (environment, ethics, etc.), but let’s stick to price. We’ve recently been through a move – from a semi-furnished flat to a non-furnished house. We needed stuff, so we had a look on websites and boot-sale apps. For 180 pounds we bought a recliner sofa, a recliner armchair and 4 chairs and we paid the man & van that helped us collect them from people who were selling them. That recliner set that we got for almost nothing has the retail price of £3500. New furniture is expensive, but your neighbours might want to sell what you need. And really think twice if you actually need the items. For example, we don’t have a bed – we sleep on a mattress and we don’t have a kitchen table – we use the kitchen counter.
  10. Addictions. When we decided to stop drinking alcohol regularly, our supermarket bill dropped by the hundreds. If you drink, smoke or have any other habit you can’t give up, try to figure out how much it costs you per month and that might be an incentive to quit.

How many of these are you guilty off? Do you have any other examples?

15 Comments

  1. This is a great list of where money can be wasted. I now will be asking the question how many hours do I have to work to make this happen and is it worth it.

  2. Thanks for sharing! We have been working on our budget recently in hopes of saving more & spending less.
    I must admit that I can’t stop my Anthropologie & Francesca’s addiction. They often have amazing sales at their stores & online, I try not to shop too often, but it’s hard to beat a brand new dress, pants, or top that’s on sale for $9.95 plus 40% off! 😉 I do however know that I overspend on my husband’s clothing & that is definitely something I need to work on. Thanks for the encouragement & tips!! 🙂

    1. Author

      Well, at least that means you’re a very loving wife! 🙂 I know what you’re saying, some things are hard to resist… Thanks for taking the time to read! <3

  3. Thanks for sharing I found out I’m doing great and still need to work on a few things but living is good

  4. The thing I spend way too much on is eating out. I have so much to do during the day and usually cave when it comes to dinner. I usually don’t want to cook so I’ll just run and pick something up.

    1. Author

      I’m a fan of meal prepping. 2 hours on a Sunday spent in the kitchen and I have lunches for the whole week. It doesn’t have to be cooked, even prepping a sandwich at home must be cheaper than a store bought one.

  5. This is a great list of expenses to consider scaling back on – I really like the idea of asking myself how many hours I’d have to work to afford something! Definitely puts it in perspective 🙂

    -Clarissa @ The View From Here

  6. You are so right..particularly on the new furniture. It is so expensive. Of course rent take the most of the expense. Eating out is ok for occasional splurge..but it does add up a lot of our expense.

    1. Author

      Everything is ok occasionally. But we have to be careful what occasionally means haha

  7. Absolutely great tips! I try to especially remember the ‘furniture’ tip as I’m walking through target!

  8. love this list. We are currently working on each of these items. I have started to not get the big brand new food, it is saving us so much money!!

    1. Author

      That one takes a while to understand, because they are so well printed in our minds. Well done and keep going!

  9. This is very true. The only time I buy name brand clothing is if it’s on the thrift store lol. I don’t like paying full price for something that I can get for less. And the eating out we think it’s cheap yet once we add it up it’s actually cheaper to cook at home. I love this post.

    1. Author

      Exactly! Well done and thank you for taking the time to read! xx

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