Before we get started, can we just talk about how perfect this stock photo is. Nothing says no regrets more than a woman double fisting rose. Thanks Unsplash for coming through big time on this one! 

Last week I shared with you five money mistakes I’ve made in the past, and am trying not to repeat. This week I’m continuing the trend. This round, I’m highlighting five things I continue to spend on that other people may consider faux-pas.

One of the best parts of personal finance is the fact that it’s personal. At the end of the day, it’s entirely your choice how you manage your finances. Sure, us bloggers like to drill down on what we consider best practices, but you’re the one that has to live your life.

In that spirit, I’m going to share a few things I do that some of you might think are a complete waste of money. In my world, you would be wrong. But in your world, you’re allowed to set-up any set of rules you like. Just remember to keep your judgements to yourself. We all get to decide how we spend.

More House, More Mortgage

If you haven’t heard, I’m moving. And it’s a slightly bigger, slightly more expensive house.

But Sarah, isn’t housing commonly known as one of the biggest money sucks? Don’t you know that living tiny can save you a fortune in the long run?

Well sure, but that’s not for me. I want a house that I love. One that is slightly larger than our current place because we could make do, but we’re feeling kind of cramped. One that is filled with items we love and maybe spent too much money on. The bf and I are still agreeing to disagree on how necessary a blue velvet couch is, but trust me, it will be finding a place in our new formal living room.

Housing is something I’m willing to spend on. It’s also something I’m willing to go into debt for. Whether you think mortgages are good debt, or that all debt is bad, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re comfortable making your mortgage payments and the math makes sense (aka your investments are earning more than your mortgage rate), then you’re all good. That’s exactly how I feel at this point. I’d rather focus on building my savings and not go crazy on my mortgage right now.

Eating Out

Eating out is a budget buster. There’s no denying it. Cooking for yourself and consistently packing lunch are two of the most common tips for cutting your expenses. And the logic is right on. The problem? Eating out is delicious, obviously, but it’s also one of the most popular ways to connect with friends, family and colleagues. Sure there are other things you can do, but I know how challenging it is to be the person who always says no.

That’s why eating out is still a part of my life; and not a small part. My goal is to limit restaurant visits to twice a week (super limiting, I know). Once for lunch with my office crew and once with the bf. I try to stick to the plan, but I’ll be honest, life often gets in the way. Sometimes a trip to the farmers market turns into dinner from a food truck, or a tough day at the office calls for pizza delivery.

I know I could save money by cutting back on restaurant visits, but I just don’t want to. Instead, I try to cut back in other areas and keep my fun money for food.

Life happens, and when it comes to eating out, I’m willing to embrace it (most of the time).

Fur Babies

If there is one thing in my life that is going to devour my emergency fund, it will be my critters. We’ve learnt the hard way this year that pets can be ridiculously expensive, even when you’re prepared.

With the recent cancer diagnosis for one of our pups, we’ve been forking over money almost weekly for his chemo treatments (and that’s after insurance). And now, one of our cats needs to have a tooth extracted. It has been a hella expensive year for pets. But they’re so darn lovable!

I grew up with dogs and can’t imagine not having critters in the house. They can turn a bad day around with a tail wag, they get you out of the house for walks, and they make an empty house feel full.

We currently have two dogs and two cats, and sometimes it feels like a lot. It’s quadruple the food, supplies, and vet bills. Sometimes I think it might be too much. In the future, we might consider a less is more approach to animals, but right now I’m keeping all the cuddles and tail wags I can get.

Ignoring My Investments

It’s funny that investing is popping up on both of my money mistakes posts. Let me explain.

Last round I admitted that not starting to invest earlier was a big mistake. This time I’m admitting that I still take a very limited interest in my investments. The difference? I do actually invest now, but it runs pretty much on auto-pilot, so I don’t take an active role.

Some people love the research and number crunching that goes into choosing investments. I don’t. I hate it. I’d prefer someone else do the work for me. Maybe that means I’ll never knock it out of the ballpark with a killer stock pick, but it also means I won’t lose everything on a bad gamble. I’m fine just rolling right along with average returns.

My strategy? Automatic deposits and a good robo-advisor. Every month my contributions to my WealthSimple investment accounts come straight out of my bank account the day after payday. I don’t have to do a thing. I’ve been using the WealthSimple platform for about a year and have only good things to say. They use a variety of low-cost ETF’s to build you a portfolio that fits your risk profile. You can even choose portfolios that only invest in socially responsible or halal companies.

If you are avoiding investing because you think it’s too complicated, stop. It really can be simple.

Not Side Hustling

The side hustle life ain’t the life for me. I value my free time too much, and more importantly, I’m lazy. Sure, I have this blog. But it doesn’t earn enough to be considered a side hustle. At this point, it’s more of a side hobby. Maybe one day it’ll be an income producer, and I can knock this off my list, but for now, I’m not a side hustler.

I’m so impressed with people who work full-time and then also blog, podcast, and run a kombucha subscription service.

*Cough* Erik from Mastermind Within *Cough* 

I don’t have nearly that motivation to get shit done. A lot of that comes down to goals. Extreme goals call for extreme measures, and that’s why many in the F.I.R.E. community (financial independence, retire early) are avid side hustlers. I don’t have aspirations of retiring in the next ten years, so I have more flexibility to savour my free time now.

Again this comes down to the personal in personal finance. Neither way is right or wrong. You have to find a way to strike that balance between what your goals are and what you need to do to hit them.

I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments. What are some common money mistakes you aren’t willing to quit?

Personal finance is personal, and that's why its up to you to decide how you'll spend your money.

This post was proofread by Grammarly

24 Comments

    • Sarah Reply

      I find there’s so much less pressure when calling it a side hobby versus a side hustle. Makes me feel less guilty for slacking 😉

  1. I’m not willing to work three jobs at a time, or work 80-100 hour weeks anymore, not unless I MUST. I did it when I absolutely had to but no thank you, I would like to be able to sleep and spend time with my family!

    Our furbabies though. $$$$$.

    • Sarah Reply

      Those darn furbabies! Sometimes I think I need to get another job just to support my critters.

  2. I’m with you on all of these except for the not investing. I’m trying to invest more because we were holding a lot in cash for a while instead of investing (long story on that one).

    I still like to take nice vacations. I take less of them than I used to and have cut back, but if I make the decision to do something, then I’m going to do it RIGHT.

    Oh the fur babies…they can get quite expensive. So sorry about your pup. We spent a fortune on one of our cats. Did you know there is such a thing as a cat cardiologist? Hope you never have to go there though.

    • Sarah Reply

      Sometimes you need that cash buffer, don’t feel guilty about that! I just recently discovered how many specialists there are for pets. The clinic we take our dog to for his chemo treatments is full of different specialists for all sorts of things I never would have imagined.

  3. I’m with you that spending on housing is valuable, Sarah! We are both homebodies, spending so much time at home. You have to enjoy that place where you spend much of your time! Our new place is about 40% larger than our current place and has a whole new room! That’s going to be awesome.

    I find eating out can be so valuable sometimes, so we work it into our budget. It’s great for date nights, can be great to get you out for a walk at lunch time or sometimes to reduce stress when you have plenty going on.

    No side hustling for me either. I’m in my thirties now and I love routine, sleep, and hanging out time far too much for that. I’d rather spend my time working out than earning more money! I know that’s not the answer for everyone, but it is the right one for me with where our finances are.

    • Sarah Reply

      So we’re basically the same person 😉 We are also homebodies so it makes sense to spend money on the place where we spend the majority of our time, makes complete sense to me.

  4. Mine is working. I have no need of a paycheck and I’m officially retired but I still have four or five active consulting side gigs that pay me well with money I don’t need. I never side hustled when I had a 9 to 5 but now I find it gives me some structure, travel and an expense account I enjoy even if I only work a day or sometimes two a week. It also provides me the fancy phones and computers I would buy anyway for free. I’m the only retired guy I know who is working solely for the enjoyment of the job, my rich retired friends don’t work and my working retired friends couldn’t make it without the supplemental income. So I think I must be breaking some kind of money rule to be working for fun.

    • Sarah Reply

      I think I would do the same if I was retired. I enjoy work and I’ve always felt I would get bored without the structure work provides. Having flexibility and less stress would be essential though!

  5. I love your list! Food spending is also one of my musts. We normally go out once a week for a nice dinner, and I would have to lose that time experiencing some delicious food with Mr.TA just to have an extra $100 bucks in the bank (woof, that’s a big number).

    • Sarah Reply

      Restaurant spending adds up real quick! That number stresses me out sometimes but I rarely regret a dining out experience.

  6. So many!

    I don’t have a defined emergency fun, don’t budget, buy individual stocks. I don’t side hustle, because I’m fine with my salary, but if I were making less and was single, I’d consider it. My blog makes a little money, but I’m over the idea that everyone has to make their blog into some kind of money funnel.

    • Sarah Reply

      Yes, yes, yes! I have an emergency fund but it’s primarily for the house. Our place is old and could (will) have pricey fixes come up but if I were renting I doubt I’d have one.

  7. I’m with you on the pets. I have 6 fur babies and I sometimes joke that I had to buy a house so my cats would have a place to live. They are costly but definitely worthwhile!

    • Sarah Reply

      And I thought 4 was a lot 😉

      It also wouldn’t be wrong to assume that we’re moving to a bigger house because we need critter space!

  8. My house is basically a glorified kennel. And when I was developing the block where my old house was and I needed a place to live, I went 750K in debt to buy a house on bridging finance, because I knew no landlord would rent to a family with 2 dogs and 2 cats. There’s no way I was going to get rid of them, so I had to bite the bullet and do it.
    That bridging finance cost me over 60K over 18 months. Yikes! Fortunately, the house value went up by another 300K so I ended up coming out ahead, but I certainly didn’t know that going in!!
    (I’m writing from Melbourne, Australia. We live in one of the biggest housing bubbles in the world. )
    Also – pet oculist. No, I’d never heard of them either but I’m sure they make a very good living. But the one we went to saved Molly’s sight and she lived out her life without having to bump into walls.

  9. Wow, I could have written this exact post (minus the ignoring my investments part).

    We also recently moved into a much larger house – don’t regret it at all.

    I probably eat out more than I do at home – and although I may try and at least make it 50/50, food, and more importantly the experiences of going out with friends is just too damn good.

    I don’t even want to say how much we’ve spent on our dog over the last 10 years, between treats, surgeries, food, dog beds, etc but again – no regrets

    Side hustles? Ain’t nobody got time for that! hah

    Ignoring your investments tho…that’s where i draw the line…

  10. Love the honesty! I’ve also decided that super frugal isn’t for me… I’m still splurging on manicures, lunch out weekly, ladies spa days a few times a year and daily coffee. I know these things add up, but they make me happy so why quit? I’ve stopped doing other things that used to cost a bunch like retail shopping (its thrift only now), buying high end products (drug store brands can be just as good), taking a yearly vacation south, and I moved to a smaller place so I can rent out my house and have someone else pay the mortgage. I’d say this is enough to justify nice nails and a good cuppa joe.

    Great post!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Marie 🙂 I completely agree that you are doing so many things to save significant money that the odd splurge is a-ok.

  11. Love this list – especially cause I don’t agree with you that “ignoring your investments” is a mistake! Mainly cause I do exactly the same thing…but if Warren Buffet says that investing in index funds/low-cost ETFs like you’re doing is the best way to go, then it’s a “mistake” I’d love to continue sharing with you 😉

    • Sarah Reply

      You’re right, it could certainly be argued that the best thing you can do is ignore your investments. I do think I take that a little more to heart than might be recommended though 😉

  12. Am I Making Cents Reply

    Great post! The money “mistake” (that isn’t really a mistake) that I willingly make is that I buy packaged (more expensive) vegan foods at the grocery store more often than I “should “ because I am committed to showing the demand and advocating for cruelty-free choices. 💚🌱

    • Sarah Reply

      You really have to decide what’s most important to you and if that’s being vegan then it’s worth it to spend the extra money.

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