I had to pick up a pair of jeans the other day, and it reminded me how much I hate spending money on clothes. I’m not a fan of shopping at the best of times, but there’s something about having to buy clothes that I find completely frustrating! If it’s for my family, I have no issue with it, but even if I desperately need an item of clothing for myself, it feels as though I’m throwing my money down a drain. It got me thinking about other stuff that I hate spending money on, and I ended up compiling a list, which I’ve included below, along with ways to make the experience less painful.
Please note, I’ve excluded debt and taxes because, well, those are no brainers….here’s the other stuff!
I’ve never been a clothes guy. I don’t own more than 2 pairs of jeans at one time, a couple pairs of shoes, and a handful of shirts, mostly tees. The clothes I have are always worn well beyond their expiry date. Too me, once a shirt has more holes than fabric, it’s still a perfectly good shirt, I just wear it around the house, that’s all. I often think that if I was in government, and in charge of the public education system, I would push to mandate school uniforms. I LOVE hearing stories about people far more successful than me who wear the same clothes everyday. Joshua Becker has a great article on why folks like Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have chosen to simplify their wardrobe.
There is one caveat to this. I wear suits to work every day, and tend to fork out the extra money for quality suits because they last longer and are much more comfortable to wear. Regardless, I still hate spending money on them.
Solution: Take a minimalist approach to clothes. Avoid thinking about clothes as a fashion statement. Chris over at Keep Thrifty has a 2 part post on Escaping The Fashion Money Trap, it’s a great resource if you hate clothes shopping as much as I do!
The first car I owned was an old, 2-door Volvo. Unfortunately, it was completely unreliable, and a financial disaster in the 12 months that I owned it. It seemed as though every time I spent a few hundred dollars on a repair, it was back in the shop with another issue. It was too bad, because I really loved that car. I was just out of college, and in a way it symbolized my newfound freedom. It was silver, with a black leather interior, sunroof and was pretty fun to drive.
Solution: Fortunately, I’ve had much better luck with used cars since. In fact, I’ve developed a winning formula of sorts, which involves purchasing Toyota’s which are about 8 years old. This way I get the benefit of owning the most reliable brand in history after someone else has paid for the vast majority of the vehicles depreciation. Trust me, more often than not a 10 year old, high mileage Toyota will run better than most other brands half its age. Top-down, Toyotas are my top choice for reliability, although there are other quality brands out there.
I really detest spending money on fuel for my vehicles. Mind you, it’s not at the top of my list, because I clearly don’t hate it enough to move closer to work. I do commute everyday, and having a fuel efficient vehicle takes the sting out of filling the tank. I know that if I owned a pickup, or any other number of wealth destroying, poorly engineered trucks or monster SUV’s, this would be at the very top of the list.
Solution: Look for alternative forms of transportation. Walk, bike, take a bus wherever possible. If you are driving, make sure it’s a fuel efficient vehicle, and not a pickup truck or monster SUV!
Ask any parent, school supplies can be a significant expense! Teachers tend to do one of two things: they either provide a very, very long list for parents to shop from, which usually includes their preferred brands for specific items. Some teachers actually purchase the supplies themselves, and simply ask parents to cut a cheque to cover the cost. Needless to say, that’s my preferred method, because it enables me to avoid the mall. Also, it’s tough to save money on school supplies, because the individual supplies aren’t that expensive, it’s that the list is so long. When you factor in back-to-school clothes and sports registration, August and September can be more costly than Christmas. It certainly is in our case.
Solution: It’s tough to avoid back to school costs. My advice is two fold. Don’t overdo it on the discretionary items, only buy what’s absolutely necessary. Also, consider saving throughout the year for back-to-school. By setting aside $25 bi-weekly into a savings account throughout the year, you’ll have $650 when the school year arrives.
There you have it, four things besides debt and taxes that I hate to spend money on.
I’m sure you can add several items to this list, and I’d love to see what others come up with. Please feel free to share yours in the comment section!