With the new year come all manner of well-intentioned resolutions, including — for many of us — financial resolutions! You’re determined to make this year more prosperous for your family. Where do you start though? You feel as though you’ve been saving and sacrificing, but where has your money gone?!
Enter the budget leeches . . . sneaky, unobtrusive expenses that can blanch your rosy financial optimism or lead to full-blown exsanguination.
Over the next few posts, I’ll look at some of the biggest money-suckers out there with tips for prying them off of your wallet . . .
A dinner here . . . a working lunch there . . . a double-mocha-frappucino-with-extra-whip a few times a week . . . some snacks from the office vending machine when the hunger pangs kick in mid-afternoon . . . it adds up! You might not even see how much if you’re using cash to buy candy bars, purchase coffees, buy a round of drinks at happy hour, take a spin through the drive-through, or visit the office cafeteria with any frequency.
The Solution: Write it down.
Track your spending on any non-grocery food for a month. Jot your expenses in your phone (or a trusty, old-fashioned notepad) or — even easier — charge everything to your credit card so you can see it all on your statement. At the end of the month, add up your dining-out expenses and multiply by 12 for a rough estimate of how much you might spend for a year.
Are you shocked? (Remember: This total doesn’t even include your regular grocery spending!) Does the experience of those meals equate to the year’s estimated total? Be honest — do you even remember some of those meals?
Make a resolution today to avoid unconscious spending on food. Take it a step further by allocating only a certain amount of money — whether it’s $10 or $100 — each month toward eating out, and make those experiences memorable!
Where are you sinking the majority of your dining-out dollars?