In my quest to shake off my addiction to spending money, I’ve been doing my best to analyze my triggers and patterns that result in spending. There’s definitely a correlation between not being as organized as I’d like to be and how much money I spend. No, it’s not the sole reason or even the lion’s share, but I can confidently say money gets frittered due to my struggles with being organized with my time and my space.

For example:

  • I haven’t banked enough time on the weekends to cook food in large batches; I might have to resort to buying a lunch out whilst at work. A money-spending situation that could have been avoided
  • I didn’t wake up early enough so I didn’t have time to make coffee at home (we only have an espresso machine, so no timer) so I grab one on my way to the subway. Money that could have stayed in my pocket
  • Didn’t check out any cool free events in the city when planning a night out with old friends and resulted in a last minute going to the bar where I contributed to the apps and snacks ordered. I could have avoided that if we went to a free performance I checked out earlier
  • New clothes. This has always been my weakness, but if I had an efficiently organized closet where I can see all my things and gain the most use out of them, it’d be even more obvious to me that purchasing more is simply not necessary and that I have more than enough to suit my needs

Besides the ones listed above, there have been so many situations where I could have avoided spending money if I was more organized.

I wanted to delve deeper. I know I need to be more organized, but it’s not a matter of not knowing how to go about it, it’s about how I haven’t been putting in the work required to do it. After long days of the office we all are prone to fatigue, so re-organizing my closet doesn’t sound as good as laying on the couch with a book, and batch cooking for the rest of the week when there’s enough food in the fridge to fulfill my immediate needs isn’t as pressing as studying for my course.

So why am I so fatigued, to the point I’m finding it hard to stay organized and always plan ahead? Could it be that this is a vicious cycle – I’m too tired to organize my stuff because my energy is always too sapped from owning too much stuff? Let’s go even further – am I not sleeping well at night worrying about all the debt I’ve accumulated by buying too much … stuff?

I think the root issues to why I’ve felt powerless to stopping the spending cycle are becoming more clear. I’ve written about how my weakness for clothes and beauty supplies comes from not feeling good enough as I am, so to cut that issue off at the root I need to work on my confidence. I’m learning that my sapped energy is related to being disorganized which comes from owning too many things; so besides not buying any stuff, it’s imperative I need to dump a lot of my things and work on organizing my space. I’ve already cut off contact with the spendthrift friends that like to blow all their money on food and drink, so I don’t have the peer pressure to waste my money on food and booze anymore. What’s left is me and the decisions I make from this point forward. It’s time to take care of my roots.

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  1. I am sorta in the same boat on all this. I do find that experimenting helps to find your way. Every now and again I batch cook but it does take more effort (for me) than it seems to for others. I don’t necessary need or sometimes even want a proper meal for lunch. So some weeks I will cobble together a bunch of snacks. It’s far easier for me to purchase at the grocery store and then grab from the fridge yogurt, granola bar, fruit, nuts, etc. than it is to think about making a lunch. Some days it works, others times I end up buying something. (Other times a simple pbj works for me or even just bread/butter/jam.) But it is an alternative and money is saved vs always buying lunch out.

    Maybe pick one day and start bringing lunch just that day no excuses. Make it a Monday so that you can do what you need to on Sunday. And when that feels like it is a habit, add another day.

    Remember all of this is about finding what works for Frugal Desperado and no one else! And it sounds like you are on the right track!
    ~ Pru

    1. You’re right, Pru – the experimentation stage is ket to figuring out what works for building (and sticking to) a habit. Big thanks for reminding me it’s experimentation – we’re easier on ourselves when we recognize that, because we know it’s a work in progress where things will go wrong and need to get tweaked, so no need to get hard on oneself during this stage.

      You know, the cobbled together lunch is a good idea – with some yogurt and snacks easily available on a “grab and go” basis, there’s always portable food handy to take to work in the morning and that way I won’t have no choice but to buy lunch. Must buy more “snackables” on the next grocery run!

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