Are you really saving?

Today’s guest post comes from Miss Lizzy Lucy. Here’s a blurb from her: I’m just a NoVA based girl that likes to run, has always known how to make money, but is just figuring out how to be responsible with it. You can follow her at

“look at how much I saved” vs “look at how much is in my savings account”

Like Ninja, I am sexist. I believe that in general men are better with money than women. I remember getting an email with something along the lines of this in it: men will pay $2 for a $1 item that they need, while women will pay $1 for a $2 item that they do not need, then proclaim that they just “saved” $1. I am, or should say was, one of those women.

I am horribly emotional when I shop. I shop when I am happy, sad, excited, whatever. See my problem is I can rationalize any purchase. I can find something to waste money on at any store. Believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders in money slipping through the cracks is 7eleven. And what do I buy at 7eleven that damages my budget so much? Drinks and chips – in small packages that cost more than their grocery store counterparts.

This whole ‘financially responsible’ thing is still super new to me. It was just last year that I was looking at receipts where I had spent over $200 on junk (clothes, girl stuff – things I liked but didn’t need) proclaiming “look – this says I saved $357!” In reality, I hadn’t saved anything. My savings account never grew, my checking account dipped down around $100 right around the time for each direct deposit.

Finally something clicked in my head – when you’re spending money, no matter what, you are never saving that money! They only way to save money is to not spend it! All of my life my parents had been telling me “pay yourself first” and “put 10% of each paycheck into savings.” But it’s only now that I really get it. Sure, I can buy $170 jeans for $40, but I haven’t saved $130, I’ve spent $40. I guess – if I had budgeted $170 and then threw the surplus $130 into my saving account then I would have ‘saved’ that money – but who does that!?

So its not really that I don’t know how to save, it’s that I lack the self discipline to plan my spending and then save the surplus when I get things for a good price. My solution that I have come up with is to place myself into a shopping detox program of sorts. I am going to go cold turkey wasteful spending! For the next 30 days, I am putting myself into shopping rehab. I am leaving my credit cards and bank cards at home for one month and only making planned purchases: groceries – bought from a list made the night before, gas, bills, and already planned purchases.

The trick will be, after rehab – how do I start shopping without wasteful spending? Any ideas and advice is welcome!


3 thoughts on “Are you really saving?”

  1. hi MissLL,
    I think before you start shopping you could spend some time in reflection about where your core values lie and maybe draft a loose shopping budget in line with that. Maybe designer home decor or following fashion changes each season will come out on top when you consider what you value and are working towards; so work out a system which satisfies those wants but maybe strictly control other shopping, like cosmetics and things for the kitchen if they are less important. Also you could begin to consider your shopping more like buying groceries rather than an activity for leisure, write a list, only take the approximate cash you will need. It is all about knowing your values and being able to stick to them. Good luck!

  2. I am so with Kalie on this! You won’t know what to budget until you know what you value. Obviously, you don’t value the “junk” that added up and caused you to see the personal finance light, so what do you like?

    I’d suggest making a budget – first list realistic savings targets, then your bills, and then you’ll know what you have left for the extras you value. Prioritize and enjoy! Email me if you need help budgeting – seriously, I love it. budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail *dot* com.

  3. There are ways to shop that are really frugal. Window shopping is a good start, but can also take a lot of restraint. Thrift store shopping is a good way to shop for items at incredibly low prices. How about shopping in your own closet? This entails going through your entire closest and bringing out clothes you haven’t worn for years and giving them a fresh start by pairing them up with new things.

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