In “how to make and have more money,” we looked at the 4 steps to tackling your budget and money goals. The first step to creating a successful budget is to look closely at the way you are currently spending your money.
Let’s focus more on this first step: analyzing your current spending. Here are a few things that people routinely spend too much money on – and by spending too much money on these items, you’re throwing your money (and your hard work) down the drain. Here are some of the items that we spend too much money on each day (with credit to Yahoo Finance for reviewing items 3 through 6 in this article).
1. Gas – We often think of gas as a fixed cost, but did you know that having a car can actually increase your unnecessary driving trips? Many people start driving instead of walking to places as close as 1 or 2 blocks away. These trips – often done multiple times on a daily basis – can really accumulate over time.
2. Food – Food can often be unbelievably expensive. For more information, see how much money does food cost me? For strategies to save money on your groceries, check out how to save more money on groceries.
3. Cell Phones – We often pay more than we ought to by not shopping around or reviewing our cell phone statements. Double check that your bill is exactly what you agreed to pay – and that you are only paying for the services that you actually use.
4. Credit card and bank fees – with so many of our statements now coming through e-mail, people often disregard their statements – and the fees that are accumulating – by not paying attention to their bank balances.
5. Convenience store purchases – according to Yahoo’s Top Six Money Wasters, convenience store purchases can add up. We often pay a premium on the “convenience” of getting sodas or snacks or small items – but they can often be triple the amount that you would pay at a regular grocery store or a discount warehouse. Stay away from the Walgreens!
6. Drinks – Drinks of all kinds are the biggest money makers – and it’s no wonder Coca Cola and Pepsi are vying for your attention with billion-dollar advertising campaigns. Coffee (Starbucks) at $4 a pop, Coke bottles at $2 a pop, vending machine drinks, drinks with meals, and then, drinks on the town in the evening can run your credit card bill up in a jiffy. Watch what you drink – and while I’m not advocating drinking alone at home, just make note of how much those little liquid calories can eat away at your hard-earned income.
7. Electricity and Gas Bills – Setting the thermostat down a few degrees, opening windows instead of using air conditioning, sweeping instead of vacuuming, and setting your hot water heater to be cooler can help kick your electricity and gas bills back into an affordable range.
Good luck saving money! Spend less than you make, and you’ll be on your way to financial security in no time.