What Is Your Weakness?

Posted by Madison on September 29, 2008

We all have one. Something we love that we can’t bring ourselves to give up even when we’re busy paying down debt or saving for a really important goal. And our plans are only as good as our weakest financial link.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Not all weaknesses are bad. For example, if you’ve given up everything so you can pay down some credit card debt except for your weekly movie rental, then you are doing pretty good.

Sure, you could save more by eliminating the movie rental, but would you give up the only fun thing you do? It’s also important to enjoy the journey to wherever you are going.

How can you determine if your weaknesses are good or bad? Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is my weakness?

2. How many weaknesses do I have?

3. How big are my weaknesses?

4. How much money does my weakness cost me per year?

5. How hard would it be to eliminate my weakness?

6. If I eliminated my weakness, would I be happy?

Only you can answer these questions and determine how your weakness is impacting your financial freedom.

Common Weaknesses

Last night I stumbled across an old article on the Top 10 money drains from Bankrate. I’m sure many of them still hold true:

  1. Coffee
  2. Cigarettes
  3. Alcohol
  4. Bottled water
  5. Manicures
  6. Car washes
  7. Weekday lunches out
  8. Vending machines snacks
  9. Interest charges on credit cards
  10. Unused memberships

The majority of this list doesn’t apply to me. I used to eat my lunches out, but now that I’m at home, I don’t feel the need to go out for lunch every day just to get out of the office.

My Weakness

Since it’s fall, our current money drain has to be college football. We’re season ticket holders, but the price doesn’t stop at the tickets. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Ticket price: $640 for 2 (including seat backs)
  • Donation required to buy tickets: $200
  • Tailgating food and drink: $50 per game
  • Food and drink at the game:$20 per game
  • Ordering dinner since we’re gone all day: $30

Some other typical costs that we don’t have to pay for because we’ve made arrangements with family and friends are: babysitting and parking.

With seven home games a year, it costs us over $200 per game, or over $1,500 per season. This is just for the home games! We used to travel for at least one away game and tried to go to the bowl game each year. (Although that’s on hold this year, since we have two toddlers.)

Talk about a financial weakness!

What is Your Weakness?

It’s time to confess…

What is your weakness? And how much does it cost you?

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Comments to What Is Your Weakness?

  1. Interesting post. I have three weaknesses that I can think of off the top of my head:
    – beer and chicken wings on Thursdays, $20 per week
    – computer hardware and consumables, about $1000 per year (on average)
    – contract out lawn maintenance, $1000 per year
    Of those three, I don’t regret the beer and wings at all, it’s a good stress reliever near the end of the week and gives me a chance to relax with some friends. I definitely won’t be giving up my computer hobby, but I could probably shave some money off the budget. There really is no excuse for the lawn maintenance though. As a healthy guy in his mid-forties, there’s no reason I can’t cut my own grass and do a little fertilizing etc and save several hundred a year.

    The Simple Bachelor’s last post: Eating Healthy

    The Simple Bachelor

  2. Cable TV/Internet. We are currently debating what to remove from our monthly subscription:
    Digital cable + 4 premium channels – $87
    DVR – $16
    High speed interent – $40
    Taxes – $13
    Total – $156/month, $1,872/year (more than our yearly natural gas bill!)

    Also, eating out lunches at work – my plan is now that the weather is turning, to get back on track with bringing my lunch – $8/lunch for crappy fast food is ridiculous!


  3. My weaknesses – or as I like to call them, luxuries.

    Caller ID – $8/month (insane # of phone solicitations for charitable donations)
    Basic Internet – $25/month
    Blockbuster just mail – $17.29/month since we have no cable this lets us rent the crappy kid movies instead of buy them, and keeps my husband out of the theater.

    Since we don’t have cable, cell phones, a second car I don’t feel bad of the few luxuries we still have left.


  4. My weaknesses are more time-eaters than money eaters… too much computer gaming, college football, etc.

    I pine for an HDTV and HD programming from DirecTV… but I’m holding out.

    I’ve got to ask: what college football team? 🙂

    No Debt Plan’s last post: How We Prepared for Our First Home Purchase

    No Debt Plan

  5. I wrote an article about 10 little sacrifices which make a big difference, in essence this is the same type of list as above.


    I decided not to put Cigarettes or Alcohol into the list since I’m saving those for another time.

    I also didn’t put bottled water on my list since I don’t buy it but you’re right, it is a top ten one.

    Retire at 40

  6. Some of these I never thought of as weaknesses, but i guess they are luxuries:

    1. Coffee — It’s a staple in my home, so I have no clue how much I spend on it.

    2. Alcohol — again, no clue on monthly cost.

    2a. Going out — probably about $100 – $200/month.

    3. Lunch out – twice a week $150/month

    4. Housewares — don’t want to know


  7. I would have to say that my current weakness is DIY projects. I’m not really sure if this is a real weakness or not, because for the most part the DIY projects are aimed at greater self-sufficiency and long term frugality. The garden is by far our biggest ongoing DIY project. Yes, we spent money on it, for fencing and such. I also like to try to make things rather than buying them. I made a really big smoker to preserve some of our food out of a metal garbage can, which I bought new, along with a drill bit to let me make a really big hole in it. It cost me money, but much less than buying a ready made smoker would, and I’ll be able to use it for years to come.

    So yeah, DIY. Money saver or money hole, I’m not really sure.


  8. My weakness is most certainly clothes and clothes. I don’t drink coffee or soda, don’t smoke cigarettes, can forgo eating out a lot of the time, don’t really drink alcohol, etc. But sometimes I get the urge to shop and decide I’ll just go get one shirt or one pair of shoes. Then I leave having spent $150 or sometimes more. I did this the other day during my lunch break. I feel so guilty afterwards, but I always love the new stuff I got and usually always end up wearing it. I didn’t used to be this way but really started getting into fashion in the last few years. At least I usually go to a store where I can get 5 things for $150 instead of shopping designer and leaving with 1 thing!


  9. My weaknesses are that I cant concentrate 🙁 Also I dont know how to say no 🙁 i have to work on them…


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