As we enter 2018 and I think about what I may achieve this year, I think it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year in which I started learning how to save money.
I recently outlined my Flawed Consumer achievements for 2017 and the changes I implemented over the year to take my net income savings ratio from 5% to 25% in 6 months.
However, it would be remiss of me not to reflect upon my failures as well. Soooo… Here are the top 5 Flawed Consumer fails of 2017:
1. Booking a trip to Europe whilst trying to save money and cut debt
So, this one has to be my biggest fail for the year. However, my beloved and I couldn’t resist as we’ve been desperate to go on a big European adventure for years and the timing from a non-financial perspective is perfect.
This trip is likely going to cost us $10-12,000 all up. Which is a large chunk of cash and probably could have paid off our credit card and car loan instead.
However, as outlined in my post “How I’m funding an epic Europe trip whilst trying to be frugal!”, we are funding about half of our trip by selling some of our stuff.
Additionally, we are going in the off season to save on flights and accommodation, have been sourcing only the cheapest accommodation prices using promo codes, and have sacrificed our creature comforts by booking 1-3 star hotels instead of 4 star hotels as per recent holidays.
Nonetheless, travel/holidays is one of our largest expenses to this day and we therefore get an F for prioritising travel over debt reduction.
2. Redrawing from my car loan account to replace our pool chlorinator
In addition to having a pool in the first place, I get an F for redrawing from my car loan excess funds to pay for a new pool chlorinator.
On a plus, I had money in my car loan account to redraw from and the expenditure was necessary as the existing pool chlorinator broke down.
However, regardless of this, I should have taken this money from savings as the monthly interest debited to my car loan is about three times as much as the monthly interest credited on our savings.
Therefore, I was just plain stupid.
3. Drinking more because it was home brew
A couple of months back, we started brewing our own beer to save money.
This works great and we have cut down our alcohol costs significantly. However, I started drinking more as I tricked myself into thinking it was cheap.
The problem is, if you drink 6 bottles of beer at a cost of 76 cents a bottle instead of 3 beers at a cost of $2 a beer, then you’re only saving $1.44 per sitting.
Alternatively, if you drink 3 beers at 76 cents each, then you save $3.72 per sitting.
So to summarise… There’s not much point brewing your own beer to save money if you just end up drinking more than you would if you had to buy it from the bottle shop.
4. Being a tight-arse rather than a smart money manager
On numerous occasions this year I’ve made poor shopping choices because I was a tight-arse.
For example, as outlined above, we recently needed a new salt water chlorinator for our pool. As this wasn’t cheap, we hesitated for about 6 weeks before buying a new one.
In the meantime, we had to buy chlorine to keep the water quality ok. Additionally, we had to run the pool pump for 8 hours a day instead of four.
As a result, we spent about $150 on chemicals and will cop a higher electricity bill as a result.
Overall, this approach was a failure with a capital F. We still needed to spend the money on the chlorinator; but ended up with unecessary chemical and electricity costs too!
5. Turning the second fridge on for December
Over the Christmas holiday period we turned on our second fridge to accommodate beer, wine and soft drinks for the Christmas period.
Whilst it all wouldn’t fit into our primary fridge, we probably didn’t need to put all of it in the fridge at once.
If we had staged it out, we probably could have fitted it in our primary fridge. Alternatively, over the extra social days, we could have made some ice and put it in our ice box.
Whichever way you look at it, turning the second fridge on was a fail.
At the end of the day, I’m still a flawed consumer in a lot of ways.
Despite this, I have made a lot of spending and frugal lifestyle improvements since starting The Flawed Consumer in May of 2017.
In 2018, I’ll be using my achievements and failures of 2017 to help guide me to become less of a flawed consumer in order to achieve wealth, the easy way.