October 11, 2012

Choosing to Close Money Leaks

Posted in debt, personal finances, Perspective at 9:24 am by otherdeb

Erica, of Northwest Edible Life, has an excellent post on “The Latte Factor” up. In it, she addresses all the little leaks that money disappears through when we aren’t being cognizant .

While I have not been participating in her “No Spend Month – October” project, I have been attempting to spend less, and I have mostly been successful.  I have eaten out twice this month, instead of four times, and will likely cut out at least one restaurant meal a week for the rest of the month. I went to a used bookshop with friends on Saturday, and kept my purchases to what a friend had offered to subsidize me for.

In fact, pretty much the only thing I have spent money on was groceries, and a keyboard shelf/drawer for my computer because the laptop keyboard is dying and if I have the keyboard shelf/drawer, I will be able to use the external keyboard without it falling off the one-inch wide piece of desk that it is currently being used on.  And a friend and I looked around to find it on sale.

The groceries I got have largely been turned into meals — a batch of crockpot buffalo chicken, a huge pot of beef stew, and a huge pot of chili.  These have all been portioned out, with half in the freezer and half in the fridge, so that I won’t be tempted to order take-away every night when the roommate is out of town next week. My next cooking projects will be tonight and Friday evening, and will entail side dishes.  Steamed broccoli, with half set aside to make a broccoli/cauliflower mash), spiced cauliflower, and baked pumpkin.  This works both in terms of saving money, and in terms of supporting my weight loss project.

The biggest leak I need to work on next is fees.  Because of the roomie’s financial screw-up this month, I was hit with a barrage of bank fees, late fees, etc.  It’s really scary how fast they add up, too.

Anyway, the upshot is that watching the little money leaks and using that money, instead, to pay down the debt and lessen the hole I am in is an ongoing process.  Some months are better than others; some are worse.  I am human.  It’s not easy, but it’s a process that will ultimately work to my favor.

Where are your little money leaks?  Which of them are you willing to stop to get out of your hole (however deep or shallow it is)?  Which ones are you not willing to give up just yet (if ever)?



  1. Janet Wilson said,

    Since my little money leaks seem to be connected to my son, who goes out and works to support his share of the expenses (whereas I don’t any more), I don’t feel right about giving them up. The LARGE money leak (payment on credit card debt) I could fix to some extent by negotiating with creditors, but not enough to compensate for how incompetent I’d feel. Using the cards, well, that I’ve almost given up.

    • otherdeb said,

      I’ve tried negotiating with creditors, and you have my complete empathy on that one. I hear all these stories about people successfully negotiating down their rates, or getting creditors to waive fees and charges, but I never seem able to do so.

      Regarding the money leaks relative to your son, I realize (as we all should) that there are always one or two things that are not negotiable for one reason or another. On my diet, for example, I will willingly give up ice cream, but I will not give up chicken skin. Only you can determine which leaks are appropriate for you to close at any time, since no one else walks in your particular shoes.

      On the other hand, knowing what is and what isn’t negotiable in your life gives you a great deal of power, so your clarity is a wonderful thing.

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