Money Waste Rage

I’ve never handled the loss of money (either in the form of actual money or the stuff money buys) very well. I am someone who loses things and I take it very hard when I throw cash away with items I’ve misplaced. If I had a dollar for every minute I’ve spent looking for things in my life, I’d be a wealthy, wealthy woman. If I had a dollar for every minute I’ve berated myself for losing something, I’d be the richest person on earth.

I’ve noticed that tracking my spending has exacerbated this issue. Where once wasting money made me angry, now it sends me into a blind rage, which eventually settles into a despondent disappointment.

It’s not just since the spending freeze either. At the beginning of the year, when I was tracking my spending with YNAB, and trying to stay within a set budget, I got a ticket on the bus for forgetting to swipe my card and then the next month I got a parking ticket because I didn’t realize the block parallel to ours had two-hour parking without a permit (our street, and the ones that run perpendicular have no permits or restrictions). Both of those losses sent me into angry, despondent spirals for days. I was so frustrated that I had to make room in my budget for significant expenses (the bus ticket was $109!) that were totally preventably made me rage. It took a long time for me to forgive myself. I was miserable.

Last night I conceded to a pizza because they are so cheap and we basically get six $4 meals from one, and plus we hadn’t gotten one in over a month and mostly because I really wanted some bacon pizza.

And then my husband didn’t put the leftovers away (it was agreed that he would do it) and so not only did we not get to have left over pizza for breakfast this morning (a tragedy in and of itself) but we had to throw away $14 worth of pizza. I realized this right after I noticed that the goat’s milk I asked my husband to get expired the day be bought it, and was all chunky when I opened it just two days after that.

To say I was frustrated was an understatement.

He felt terrible and I reigned in my upset, but it’s hard when I’m counting every penny to just nonchalantly blow off the throwing away of $18 in pizza and milk. I just abstained from enjoying a meal with a friend to save that kind of money, and three days later we’re dumping it down the drain.

I’m not sure quite how to strike a healthy balance with this. I don’t want to be someone who lingers over losses she can’t recoup, and yet I want to be upset enough that I take the necessary steps to ensure it won’t be repeated.

Blerg. So much to learn with this money stuff. So many emotions wrapped up in it all.

How do you feel when you loss something or get a ticket or lose money in preventable way?


  1. Oh, I am exactly the same way. Before I got to the paragraph discussing the ticket, I had already been thinking that’s how I feel about tickets: you don’t have to get them, so when you do, it feels like such a waste of money. Wasted food, misplaced items, things broken due to carelessness — all of it feels like I’m shredding dollar bills.

    1. It really is, and it makes me see red. I am such a distracted person, I have lost so many things in my life. Once I lost a brand new pair of Rx sunglasses the day I got them. THE DAY! That one still chafes.

      If there is a heaven, I will be able to sit and watch a slide show of where every one of the things I lost went.

  2. I understand those feelings really well. For me they went away naturally once we had a decent emergency fund and our retirement savings were on track (we weren’t making big salaries at the time either, this was just regular scrimping and saving). It went from me getting really upset to me looking at our savings account and saying, “well, thank goodness we have that emergency fund.” And “that’s what the emergency fund is for.” Those feelings are a really big reason that we did cut to the bone early on in order to pay off DH’s student loans, get an emergency fund, and start saving for retirement.

    It is important though not to get resentful of the other person because we would both make mistakes. One thing that worked for us was DH having an allowances which meant he could pay for his mistakes out of his allowance and we wouldn’t worry about it anymore (he still does this occasionally to ease his conscience). There wasn’t really anything I could do with my mistakes though other than feel cruddy about them since I don’t have an allowance system set up.

    1. I am much better at forgiving other people when they lose things or make us lose money. Way better. It’s only when I do something stupid that costs us that I get really upset. Besides, my husband felt terrible about it. And he bought the pizza.

  3. Oh my God, I just got on my laptop to calm myself down from the same kind of rage! My MIL wanted to buy a gift for the kids so she (uncharacteristically) actually asked for my advice and got them puzzles (they are super into puzzles right now, and it’d be nice to have some new ones)—she was looking them up online and ordered them. Off our amazon account, i.e. charged to our card. I don’t think she realized it until way later, and then, instead of offering us the cash, she told me she’d buy them something else (which will be clutter we don’t need). I was really annoyed about the $, even though its not a lot, because it was not something I planned to buy. I also just threw away a BRAND NEW bag of pretzels G bought because he accidently bought the unsalted ones, didn’t realize until he’d opened and thrown away the package, and the kids tried and hated them (I don’t want to eat pretzels, I don’t need those empty carbs). I also threw away so much food—expensive veggies from the farmer’s market, more expensive berries, because with my MIL here and feeding the kids during the day, we don’t know what is and isn’t being eaten. I always make the kids eat whatever is about to go bad and we have much less waste on my watch! I’m trying not to make a big deal (Everything I wrote about probably comes to $50) but $50 is $50.

    1. (I know my stuff is way smaller than the tickets, oh god, I’d totally beat myself up about that!, but that was just the stuff that happened within the past hour. I’m trying not to think back for more examples because RAGE)

      1. I wrote this post because of less than $20 of wasted food. Those tickets happened MONTHS ago. Even little things make me ragey. Like my son always goes through my wallet and today I realized a $35 credit at a local record store (where I sold some of our DVDs) is missing. I’m so freaking annoyed that he lost it. I might as well have left those DVDs on the fucking street!

  4. I totally beat myself up the one time I got a ticket (I got towed for not having my parking decal for the apartment I lived in in college and I had borrowed my mom’s car). But as a rule I don’t forget things so tickets, late fees etc. are not an issue.

    My husband and I are diametrically at odds on food though. He was raised to never, ever leave food on a plate or throw it away because “children are starving” somewhere. I was raised to “not eat” (and have the calories/fat etc) if you aren’t hungry throwing something away was perfectly fine and I’m still okay with that vs. eating something I don’t want/need.

    What does drive me crazy is if we have a gift card or something and it doesn’t get used until it starts losing value! This used to happen a lot because husband would forget he has them. Now they just get handed to me so we use them because of the whole I don’t forget things. (This is not always a good trait I also don’t forget things like the date any bad thing ever happened, or any fight anyone ever had, you get the idea). But it does mean we use the gift cards. 🙂

    1. Gift cards cannot lose value or expire in California. (If you buy a Groupon or Social Living offer, you can never lose the actual amount you spent, but the deal can expire). I am usually good about using gift cards (I get quite a few as a teacher) but sometimes I’ll forget about them and find them years later. Sometimes, if it’s for a place I know I’ll never go to, I just give them to someone else. They can be great, but they can be a burden too.

      I used to feel like I had to eat food to not be wasteful, but then in a book about compulsive eating it was put another way: When you eat more than you need you are creating a situation where you have to work those calories off. Either way the food is wasted (because in neither situation is it actually used to nourish you in a meaningful way), one way just requires way more of your time and energy. After that I stopped feeling bad about not finishing food on my plate. I still get annoyed if we don’t eat our leftovers in time, but not if I don’t want to finish my dinner.

  5. I know it’s a few months on, but I just wanted to say thank you, as I really needed to read this tonight. I also get really angry with myself if I waste any money, vouchers etc, & it churns up at me for months/years afterwards, adding it up in my head, hoping I’ve saved enough to balance it out but still feeling really bad. The bit about, “It took a long time for me to forgive myself.” just leapt out at me & I realized this may well be why I feel so down after wasting money. Ok, so I tell my husband, “wastage happens, it’s unavoidable in life and you just have to allow for it”, but I’m so much more harsh on me! I remember years ago a talk about forgiveness, how it can be healing, & how it’s simply a decision, not something that we have to leave until we feel able to, & she advised that we just say “as an act of my will I chose to forgive … ” (fill in the blanks!), it’s done, can be repeated if we forget, and the better feelings follow. I’ve been happily doing this for years, learning to apply it asap to other people so I don’t get churned up & angry about them, but not for myself! Right, off to forgive myself, and a massive heart-felt Thank You!!!

    1. Thanks u so much!!!!!! ” wasteage is unavoidable” that helped me calm down immediately. It’s makes me think that it’s just life. Wasteage is just like making mistakes on a test it happens.

  6. I just wasted 20 dollars worth of slime SO ANGRY HELP WHAT DO I DO!!!!!😡😤😫☹️😠😭😭😭😭😭😭🙏🏻🙏🏻

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