For this Monday - I want to look at some things that nickel and dime your budget away, leaving you asking, "Where did it all go?" at the end of the month. Here are a few that come to mind this morning.
Purchasing coffee out each morning - I know a lot of people like their morning cup of coffee from [insert favorite cafe here], but you spend so much more money than you would if you made your coffee at home! If you're a Starbucks/Dunkin' Donuts fan - even consider purchasing their brand to make in your own coffee pot!
MONEY MATTERS: Here's what coffee's costing you and how much you can save by dripping your own. Data received from Financial Edge.
Leaving Lights On - We're having such a hard time with this since we've moved. There are light switches and lamps everywhere. There are no overhead lights, so we need to make a conscious effort to shut off the lamps. There are always lights on! Pay attention to how much light you need and switch them off when you leave the room! Consider purchasing the lower wattage fluorescent lights.
MONEY MATTERS: You can save 10%-20% on your energy costs simply but turning off lights.
Not planning ahead (errands/trips/purchases) - If you plan ahead, you can save a ton of money on plane tickets, clothing, gifts, and gas. By knowing at the beginning of the money/day/year what you need to be prepared for - you can plan by looking for sales, deals and coupons.
Something as simple as running your daily errands can cost you more money than necessary. If you know what needs done in a day - plan your route so that you're not backtracking or forgetting what needs done - so you have to make extra trips. Try to do all your errands in one day (even if you're tired and don't feel like it!) You'll be glad it's done and your car will use MUCH less gas!
Letting the water run while brushing your teeth You can save up to 8 GALLONS of water a day by shutting of the water when brushing your teeth!
Skipping the meal planning/shopping list/coupons Now - I've been lazy more recently, but if you don't plan for your meals, you spend A LOT more money.
MONEY MATTERS: By scanning sale ads, meal planning, digging for coupons and checking my cupboards so I don't make double purchases - I'd say I save at lease $80 a month. Now when we were hard core and paying off all our debt, our grocery budget was $150-$200 per month for the 3 of us and less than $40 a month was spent on eating out. I don't go THAT crazy now, but our grocery budget (including toiletries, paper products and cleaning supplies) is at about $300 a month which still isn't bad.
Buying school lunches At $2 a day that's $40 a month per child for your kid to eat CRAP - but that's another story. Making your own lunches can be very quick if you plan ahead with freezer cooking, much healthier and definitely cheaper!
Interest and Fees
Overdraft fees, parking tickets, interest payments, and NSF fees are all a result of poor planning. Budget, know what's in your checking account and work hard to have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses to avoid these fees.
MONEY MATTERS: According to a study produced by Dartmouth College it is reported that the "average cost of annual fees for a share draft account at a bank was $183.14. Of those fees three-fourths of them came from NSF/Overdraft fees."
So in the end, walk away with this. The little things do matter. They can add up to a lot of cash that leaves you wondering why there is so much month left at the end of the money. Small changes add up to big ones that may just help you get started on your road to financial freedom.
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