New Spending Psychology: Focus on what matters to me

I did a quick skim on my spending over the last year and I seemed to have phases. For a while I would eat out a lot. Then spend a fair bit on travel. Then I would buy a few gadgets or things for the house. It was based on whatever "mood" I was in at the time. This, in the end, but a damper on getting closer to my goals.

I now vow to be more focused.

Overall my major personal interests are travel, food, and finding excellent deals on the first two. I am going to follow this school of thought: spend on what you are passionate about and skimp on everything else. Easier said than done as I learned from last year's spending data. The good news is I am much better than 2010 at it.

My budget has now evolved where I save money for travel specifically. I use that money not only to have while I am on the road but also pay for taxes for award tickets, annual fees for points earning credit cards, and the odd long weekend away on a cheap airfare domestically. This part of my budget will certainly grow with my income. Travel is top priority in my life!

I have a larger than average food budget for a few meals out and so I can cook less boring stuff at home. Cooking is something I am doing a lot more of as of late and intend to continue. It is a skill that is never bad to have and from what others tell me I am pretty good at it! A friend and I are always experimenting and sharing cooking ideas. It works well for me.

Finding deals on travel and food spawned from the first two. The biggest being credit card churning. I sign up for cards with large initial bonuses, use them, and then cancel the cards and repeat. This has gotten me a lot of points and as a result some awesome trips. For food I mostly look for the best price/quality ratio for my cooking ingredients. I also keep an eye out for discount coupons for my favorite places around town. They are rare but do come up now and then!

I find that when I spend on things I truly care about I feel better about it. If I spend $100 on airline taxes for a flight to Bangkok I have no problems. If I spend $100 on a night out with friends I most certainly regret it for the rest of the month and beyond. Breaking the bad habits so I can keep the good ones is my key to success. Now let's see if I can actually pull this off...