Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Epic List of Fail

In my reading of multiple other Frugal blogs it occurs to me how often they seem to be living a life of perfection. While I utterly admire what many of them are doing to achieve their own personal version of financial freedom, I'm also struck by how unattainable some standards seem to be.

Get this - they seem so perfect that I occasionally rebel and sneer inwardly. It's unfair of me, and it's jealousy rearing its head, so I want to make it crystal clear that I am absolutely imperfect, and I screw it up quite often. In fact, there are some areas in which I am unashamedly a money-waster. I will eternally be a work-in-progress at this frugality thing.

With this in mind I have a few imperfections terrible habits and I am going to own up to them here and now.

#1 - Meal Preparations. I've said I'm lazy before, but for perspective, I am tonight cooking schnitzel and oven wedges, both of which arrived in my house pre-prepared. Yes, I am wielding the frypan and the oven tray, and they will be accompanied by my home-made coleslaw, but (a) the mayo in the coleslaw was not home-made, (b) I made no effort to prepare or crumb the schnitzel myself, (c) I didn't cut potatoes to make the wedges. As you can gather, I would have had the time and capability of saving more money on this meal. This makes us only partly frugal in regards to eating at home on the cheap.

#2 - We Still Eat Takeaway. Not all that often, but more often than just for special occasions. Sometimes fast food comes home with my husband simply because I can't be bothered cooking. This is bad, especially since I barely work, and I want to try and work on this. I hope my determination wins out.

#3 - My Coffee Addiction. I say addiction, but more than actual addiction it's part of a ritual when I sit down to catch up with my online friends and play games on the computer. This is one expense I'm really not tackling and if I'm honest, I probably won't in future.

#4 - Soft Drinks. Actually, at home I drink almost none, because I drink a lot of water. It's when I do my work that I tend to "reward myself". One or two cans of drink in a week is hardly breaking the bank, but it's still money I don't need to spend and rewarding myself is just another way of saying I want to waste money. Update June 2016: Habit mostly gone. I no longer drink anything at work at all and buy far fewer of them to take home. 

#5 - Electricity and Water use. We're fortunate that our heating and hot water is at a fixed price, shared throughout our apartment block. Living in Helsinki there's also no need for air conditioning (saves big bucks). But even so I could be doing more to limit my usage of utilities - I've noticed that the tv seems to be on despite nobody really paying any attention to it, for example. Update March 2016: Habit broken! The tv is now almost always left off. We rarely use it AT ALL, my son turns it on some evenings while he eats dinner but he turns it off when he leaves the room. At first the apartment seemed "too quiet", but we've quickly become used to it and it's no longer strange living with an absence of mindless tv. Small victories :)

#6 - My Toys. By this I mean my computer because there's very little else that I spend majorly on. Another area I won't be changing anytime soon, because it supports pretty much all of my entertainment, with a couple of exceptions.

#7 - Movies and Games. I am not a movie fan really, but Netflix also gives us access to a bunch of TV shows. More irony since I don't watch much tv, but I do have a penchant for a good British comedy or three. The Netflix subscription easily trumps the cost of pay tv (seriously, who pays for that anymore?) and the bonus is that all four of us can use it to watch shows on our computers. As for games, there's one particular online game that burns a hole in my pocket. It also forms the bulk of my social life but even so I'm aware of the predatory nature of such game developers. I really should spend less on it and it's something I'm working on, but I won't be stopping playing completely.

What's your biggest spending indulgence?