Caution: Approaching Your Spending Threshold


The more we talk about budgeting, money and spending habits, the more I am fascinated with understanding why we spend money the way we do. Mostly, I find myself entertained by how I decide to spend my personal money. A quick recap for those not familiar: Kelsey and I each get a bit of personal money ($44 per month) to spend on whatever we want, no questions asked. Sort of like an allowance. It's mostly for clothing and sporadic things that we want that have nothing to do with the other person or our family.

We both seem to spend our personal money in waves, we save it up for a few months and then buy until we have $2.38 left. I guess it's kind of like binge spending at that point. I think we do that because of our spending threshold. We all have them, but maybe haven't thought much about it before.

For me, there are three instances when I consider my spending threshold: personal money balance, individual purchases and percentage of personal money.

  1. Personal money balance: I don't like when my personal spending category dips below $20. I think Kelsey is similar and maybe your number is higher or lower. It probably has something to do with how close it is to the next month when it will replenish. Or, it could simply be related to the amount of money we receive every month for that category. $20 is about 50% of what we get every month.
  2. Individual purchases: The second way I think about my spending threshold is when trying to decide to buy something (again, usually clothing). I don't like paying full price for clothes. I just figure I can get it for cheaper somewhere else, or there has to be a coupon somewhere for that particular item. And then, I hunt. I scour Google for a coupon code or current promotion for the item. But it certainly causes me to think harder about the purchase if it's over $20.
  3. Percentage of personal money: This is probably the most crucial factor. If I buy this item, how much of my personal money will be gone and how much will be left? I suppose other factors include: how long it's been since I've bought something (money burning a hole in my pocket), perceived need of that item (a joke anyway, because I don't "need" anything) and the urgency (am I in the store right now, or shopping online and can sleep on it?).

I know what you're thinking: What a nerd! Who thinks about this stuff? Well, if you've read this far, I'm betting you've now thought about it too. Ha! Just kidding. But, I think it's important to think about this stuff sometimes. Maybe, it will inspire you to change your spending habits.

That's why I wrote this post. I'm reflecting on my own spending habits and why I do certain things. Because I'm constantly struggling with wanting things I don't need and the knowing that nothing in this world is going to make me happy. Things are nice to have, things can be useful, practical, productive, help with efficiency or be entertaining, but they can never make me happy.

Over to you: How do you approach your spending threshold?

What's your biggest money struggle?

Leave a comment below.