First Person: My Spending Habits Have Changed Since My 20s

Yahoo Contributor Network

Looking back at some old bank statements, I was shocked. I used to spend a lot of money. Now that I'm almost 34, I have tightened my budget. As a result, my bank statements looks a lot different. Here are some of the ways my spending habits have changed since my 20s.

Going out to Eat

I used to go out to eat on a regular basis. While I brought my lunch to work, I would often go to quick serve restaurants for dinner. On average, my husband and I would spend about $15. On the weekend, we would go out for dinner at least once. Often times, we stayed local and spent about $30. I also noticed small $3-$5 purchases at fast food places on my bank statement. Overall, we spent about $150 a month eating out. Nowadays, I mostly cook at home. We spend more money on our food bill. However, we haven't eaten fast food in almost five years. Now, we probably go out to eat once a month.

Services

We used to have a cable package with DVR. While we didn't have premium channels, we still paid $112 a month to watch television. In addition, we had a landline for $20 a month and a gardener for $75. When I turned 28, we had our first child and I stopped working full time. By the time I turned 30, we had to start removing some of our luxuries. First the landline went and then the cable. Finally, we eliminated our gardener. This saved us over $200 a month. Now, we have Hulu and watch television much less.

Shopping

I love to shop. I still do. However, before having kids, I had the time and the money to shop on a regular basis. While looking at my bank statements, I noticed a lot of $30 purchases at clothing stores. I also spent more money on things like nail polish and makeup. After adding up my shopping sprees, I spent an estimated $500 a year on clothing for myself. Now, I shop using gift cards I get from rewards programs. I purchase a lot less makeup too.

Travel

As a newly married couple, my husband and I went all over Southern California. We had Disneyland passes most years. We took small weekend trips to San Diego and Malibu. For our anniversary, we would stay at a hotel by the beach. We even took a two week trip to Italy. Now, we usually go to the beach (about an hour away) once or twice a month. We also visit family in San Diego about three times a year. This year we are planning a short (and atypical) family vacation to Disneyland. Overall, now I spend about 75% less on traveling.

In the last five years, I have drastically reduced my spending. Interestingly enough, I am still living life to the fullest.

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