I recently admitted on facebook that I always hit the “Print Receipt” button on ATM’s and gas pumps, even though I just throw them away in the nearest trash can seconds later. It’s not that I enjoy wasting paper, or am begging to have my identity stolen, but I feel like telling the machine that I don’t want a receipt would be like telling the machine’s owners that I’m negligent with my accounting. I know it’s dumb, but I truly believe that if I don’t print the receipt, it would encourage “them” to steal from my account, since they figure I wouldn’t even notice the missing money anyway.
And to tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t. There are some weeks when I’m shocked by how much money is still in my account, and others when I’m wondering where it all went. I know the great majority of it goes to paying bills, but a lot of it just…goes. I don’t mind spending money, but it would be nice to have some idea what I spent it on.
I know for a fact (because I just got the receipt) that I spend $50 on iTunes the other morning downloading songs for our New Year’s Eve party that I will probably never listen to again (I only play the music of people who died during the year, and let’s just say Lena Horne, Ronnie James Dio, and Jimmy Dean are not in heavy rotation on my iPod) – but if you asked me how many songs I bought, I would have guessed 15 or so. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind blowing $50 for a few hours of music that hardly anyone even paid attention to, but I do get a little concerned with how oblivious I am with how much I’m spending
Couple that with how much I’m not saving, and we have a real problem. And I’m not talking about savings accounts or IRA’s or college funds, I mean the money I literally throw away. I must drag $15 to the curb in recyclable bottles and cans every two weeks . Frankly, I can’t be bothered sticking sticky cans into a machine for a handful of nickels, and I like to think that the man who always stops and sorts through my trash needs the money more than I do, but if my math is correct (which I doubt) I’ve given away over $3000, just in recyclables, in the eight years I’ve been a homeowner .
I’m not going to start pinching pennies (I toss those suckers out anyway) but I would like to start paying a little more attention to where my money goes - and paying a little less for things I don’t need. I’m hoping that with a little self-control and awareness, I might be able to save up enough for next year's New Year’s soundtrack, because if the Mayans were right, 2012 is going to have a rather long playlist.