MyMint interview, I should stop eating out

Have you ever caught yourself questioning a purchase at the cash register – the energy drink, the triple shot, a new piece of hardware, or a new article of clothing? I know I have. Unfortunately, the disciplined side of me – the side which decides whether or not I should make a purchase – was not as outspoken during previous years. Rather than questioning the long-term advantages of a purchase, I would live for the moment. Even now, from time-to-time, I crumble and find myself spending $3 on a coffee when the honest truth is that I probably don’t need it.

Many other young individuals face the same types of challenges regarding decisions and overall financial management. Analyzing and understanding your expenditures is the first step in gaining better control of your finances. MyMint hopes to improve your finances by providing an online tool designed to help you save money. By analyzing your habits, MyMint hopes to provide specific ways you can save money.

Noah of MyMint recently interviewed me, the results of which can be found on the MyMint blog: Personal Finance Interview with Derek Punsalan of 5thirtyone.com. Answering the questions helped me realize some of the faults, or areas that I would benefit from improving. Mainly, my continued efforts to minimize expenses on anything considered to be "non-essential" in my life – frivolities or excessive entertainment related expenditures.

I invite you to visit the MyMint blog which offers general financial tips as well as additional interviews including: Trent of TheSimpleDollar.com, Lazy of LazyManandMoney.com, Devin Reams of DevinReams.com, Joel Mueller of Macupdate.com, Cap of StopBuyingCrap.com. Aaron Patzer of MyMint.com, and Paul Stamatiou of PaulStamatiou.com. All worthy reads if you’re interested in knowing how other bloggers manage their finances.

What’s in your wallet, and how do you pinch pennies?

What's in your wallet?

I try to keep my wallet thin – a few misc. cards, cash, and ID. Click through to see the bento box on Flickr

Aside from a few business cards, a bank card, drivers license, Metro pass, and a little cash (usually $10), the wallet contents are at a minimum. Ideally, the best route is to carry a minimum amount of cash limiting your spending for the day. However, there are some scenarios when an actual debit / credit card is more appropriate. If carrying a limited amount of cash is not an option, limit the funds in your debit account (moving amounts to other accounts). What are you doing to limit your daily spending?

Discuss - 23 Comments

  1. noah kagan says:

    Derek? Honestly! I was so damn surprised how meticulous you are with your money. It is an inspiration to us all. I currently do monthly check-ups on my finances using Excel. Lately, I have only been buying coffee on Friday to reduce that expense. The other days of the week I bring my tea packet to the coffee place and ask for hot water. Cheap, I know.

  2. Derek says:

    My meticulousness makes up for my casual, live it pay-check-to-pack-check, irresponsible habits during high school and early college. As with many things in life, it’s easy to dig yourself a hole to trip into, but always harder to get out.

  3. Glenn Wolsey says:

    What’s in my wallet? ATM card, $10 cash, library card, bus-card, and a picture of my girlfriend.

  4. Andre says:

    What’s in my wallet? Nothing – I hate carrying one around. 🙂

  5. Sean says:

    My wife and I have recently begun to do an actual budget and we’ve swore to stick to it. It’s shocking how much money can become available when you make a plan. It’s not like we’re instant millionaires, but it did reveal that we wasted a ton on eating out and drinking at Starbucks. Those dollars are better served eliminating debt – which is what we’re doing with them now. (We’re also buying a house – which is expensive all by itself.)

  6. Derek says:

    I hear ya Sean 😉 Drinks at Starbucks for two ($3.25 * 2) * let’s say 4 times per week is $26 up in smoke (or down the toilet – however you wish to interpret it). I think eating out is probably one of the hardest habits to curb if you’ve grown accustomed to sushi or other dishes that you would not regularly make at home.

  7. Myke says:

    Well I’m a waiter so the majority of the time I have a lot of cash on me. And I will hit the bank once a week to deposit the majority of it.

    At first it was ridiculously easy to start buying little things here and there since the cash was available (I feel dumb buying a 20oz soda with a credit/debit card). But Ive improved and can usually hold onto my money until I can deposit it. For a period of time I couldnt believe just how much I was spending on the small things (soda, fast food, iTunes, eBay, etc.) It added up.

    But most of the time I live on a week to week basis. I figure out any bills that are due that week, pay them off and spend the rest. Needless to say, a habit I would love to break.

    I also have to credit cards. One was for when I first started college and another was just for emergencies. After I got over the initial “Wow a credit card!” spending, I found that its better that I don’t even carry them on me anymore. Unless Im going on a long road trip or something similar I found I can pay them off a lot faster If I dont have those funds available to me. Come to think of it… I cant even recall where they are of the top of my head.

    The contents of my wallet right now consist of a debit card, license, cash, a blood doners card and some unimportant receipts. Im doing better with my funds but cant wait for MyMint to launch so I can really get into detail with where my money goes.

  8. Myke says:

    Derek, do you happen to know if there is a Windows equivalent of Cha-Ching?

  9. Unfortunately, my living situation is a bit dis-heavled (I think i spelled that right) currently so a LOT of my cash goes to eating out since I don’t have a kitchen to call my own currently. Trust me when I say that I know I would be saving a bunch if I didn’t have to live this way.

    As far as paying the bills, I’m a lot like Myke in that regard: I know when most of the major bills are due (MediaTemple, Joyent, cell phone, school tuition), so i just make sure that i have the cash on hand when they’re due and spend the rest on my day-to-day, week-to-week stuff. Hopefully, my living arrangments will be changing for the better soon and I can break some of these habits.

  10. Paul says:

    My wallet: I carry cash once in a very long while, my debit card, license, Metro pass.
    Nice business card by the way Derek, I wouldn’t mind seeing a close-up of that.

  11. Paul says:

    [quote comment=”48296″]Nice business card by the way Derek, I wouldn’t mind seeing a close-up of that.[/quote]

    Never mind, I saw your Flickr pics.

  12. tom says:

    in my wallet you can actually find a student-id, driving license, a pic of an girl, 238€ cash, a telephone number of an girl, my burton-id and till im back home a mastercard

  13. Shawn Blanc says:

    Just the necessities: Usually twenty bones, plus my ID, debit, and Sheridan’s Frozen Custard card.

  14. Derek says:

    What’s a Burton-ID Tom? And Shawn, Sheridan’s looks like a tempting place to visit.

  15. tom says:

    a burton-id is a keycard for my work @ burton snowboards. a security-card, without your nothing 🙂

  16. My wallet is usually filled with random things, and usually very little cash (under $40). I just emptied it out, and I have:

    My student-ID, Debit Card, Lunch Card (for school), Starbucks Card, Bubble Tea card, CareCard (health insurance here), and my SIN (social insurance number) card. I need to clear this out. I may get myself an incase wallet like you have, as I find myself almost always carrying my nano and wallet, as well as cellphone.

  17. Derek says:

    If you can make do with something like the Nano wallet, go for it. I enjoy having both valuables close at hand – usually a front breast pocket. The idea of having a wallet in my back pocket always worried me.

  18. […] the past several days I have been working on an article about finances. When Derek posted about his spending habits and his MyMint interview it gave me the idea to put up this little teaser […]

  19. Stephan says:

    I am a big proponent of cash, simply because it allows me to limit my spending by actually physically seeing what goes out.

    My wallet consists of cash, health insurance card, debit card, airline credit card, corporate card, and my airline FF cards. I try very hard to not use the debit card unless I absolutely have to.

    The airline credit card gets the most use of the cards, with things like gas being paid for that way, then paid off as soon as the bill comes. How do I pay it off? Well, I budget every month and put the cash that I assume I will use in a separate account that is untouched, then I use that account to pay bills and the like. I leave as little in the checking account as possible.

  20. Derek says:

    What is the purpose of carrying a frequent flyer card with you at all times in your wallet?