The dictionary defines Groceries as products you get from a grocer. Ergo, this could be cat food, laundry detergent, and celery. But, the money you put aside for weekly groceries needs to reflect the things you are buying. If you have a pet, wouldn’t a Pet category give you a clearer picture on how much you are spending on Furperson? And wouldn’t a category called House Supplies give you a more exact read on how much you spend on laundry, like maybe too much, or too little?
When you Lump all these things under Groceries, it gives the impression that this is food. So, when you look at your category and see that you are spending about $50 a person a week on groceries, you immediately think that there should be enough food in the darn house, so why is dinner always such a problem? While the truth is that you are spending about $5 a week on Furryface, $10 a week on laundry, and that leaves only $35 which is actually food.
This category Lumping happens around other categories, too, like Clothes, my favorite. If you are putting aside $25 a pay for your clothes, each month you should be able to buy a nice shirt, or new unders, or silver hoop earrings. So how come you can’t? Well, did you get your winter coat drycleaned last week? Did you need your boots repaired? That’s why. Clothes are not shoes or dry cleaning. It’s easier to be clear, even if you have to have a million categories.
Get this: men only have seven categories, but then, that’s their strength.
Another manipulation of categories is what I call Raiding. Here’s an example: Trying to stay within your Spending Plan, you look to see how much you have in House Decor. You want new curtains for the curtainless bedroom. You need new curtains as the daylight wakes you up too early on the weekends. You want new curtains because they’ll look so pretty in the bedroom. And you know your friends have lovely curtains in their bedrooms. All sorts of triggers to make you want to spend, right now.
In your House decor category, you have $26.89. You can look for curtains which will fit into that amount of money. But, you prefer to Raid. You say to yourself, curtains go in the ‘house’. You will ‘supply’ the curtains to the house. Therefore, the amount in House Supplies, $20, can be added to the amount in House Decor, and voila, you have $46.89. Now we’re talkin’!
Fly in the ointment. When you go shopping in a couple of days for toilet paper, there will be no money in House Supplies. I’ll skip the bathroom humour.
Lesson? Scout out the stores to find what you love, without bringing your wallet. Get the prices. Then save more to get the curtains you want. Soon you’ll have the curtains you’ve dreamed of, and toilet paper, too.
Clarity is your friend.