Splurge Day Spending

by Karen McCoy


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Convenience vs. Your Wallet

It's a common American scenario. You run into the local convenience store with your two kids, leaving with three drinks and a handful of snacks. Now $14 poorer, the kids are still asking what's for supper.

We live in a convenience society. Just about everything is readily available for a price. Convenience stores are now more than just gasoline and a pack of gum. You can fill up, get a full meal, and purchase grocery staples such as eggs, milk, and bread. Store owners know consumers are extremely busy and willing to pay for convenience, so prices are generally much higher than your local supermarket. A few extra dollars spent here and there can total up to big bucks. Spending just $5 per day results in a whopping $1825 a year. Spending a mere $2 a day equals $730 a year.

Saving money doesn't mean you'll have to ban your favorite convenience store. Elimination of just a few stops can add up to substantial savings. For a lot of people this will take discipline, commitment, and a new way of thinking. After calculating the figures, I realized how much my own family was spending. So I invented Splurge Day. This isn't a new concept by any means. Many dieters allow one day a week to lay their diet aside and splurge on whatever they desire to eat, without sabotaging their overall goals. Splurge Day spending is an effective way to "trim" your budget.

I geared myself up, ready for the protests from my kids. The moans and complaints that our (almost) daily stops at the convenience store would be ending. I explained how much we were spending at our pit stops and how this money could be used elsewhere in our family budget. To my surprise, there were no complaints and they were very understanding. So thus began our Splurge Day, which we agreed would be every Friday. We decided it would be a nice way to end the week and give us all something to look forward to.

Can you commit to Splurge Day and curtail some of your convenience store habits? Take the following quiz to find out.

1. You can't live without your morning coffee. You…

A. go by the convenience store after you drop the kids off at school (your little secret)
B. buy a coffee pot and make your own at home
C. take aspirin to treat your caffeine headache

2. You buy your lunch from the deli counter every work day. You…

A. go to your favorite fast food place instead
B. pack a lunch
C. eat a huge breakfast and skip lunch

3. Your motto is, "A soda a day keeps the doctor away." You…

A. only purchase your soda and nothing else
B. buy your soda in bulk from the grocery store
C. get it out of the vending machine

4. The convenience store is a hang out place for you and your buddies. You…

A. go on in…you won't buy anything
B. call them
C. stand out front and wait for them to come out

5. The car is approaching "E." You…

A. get gas knowing you have the willpower only to get gas
B. go down the street to the gas-only service station
C. use your credit/debit card at the pump

Score 5 points for every A, 15 points for every B, and 10 points for every C.

65-75 points: You can do it! You have what it takes for Splurge Day to work for you. You are focused and willing to make the necessary changes.

40-60 points: You won't be 100 percent committed to Splurge Day, but will cut back on the amount of trips you make to the convenience store. Try to incorporate all B answers into your routine for Splurge Day success.

25-35 points: You need a revamping in discipline and commitment. Start by eliminating just one extra stop per week and build up to Splurge Day.


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