Planning a budget is something that you can’t do without these days, but many people complain that it’s hard for them to stick within the boundaries as they end up spending more money than they planned, even though they didn’t buy anything big or expensive. What’s the catch then? The problem lies in the fact that small and seemingly insignificant amounts of money add up without you even being aware of that. That’s why it’s important to keep track of everything you spend, even if it’s a dollar or two so that you can identify the biggest budget killers and eliminate them.
Cash Or Cards?
Plastic money has been extremely popular for quite some time and it was expected that millennials would be the first generation to go absolutely cashless. However, that didn’t happen. Statistics say that 80% of millennials carry cash and this is exactly what can lead to overspending. Namely, when you’re using your card you can see what you spent your money on down to the last detail, while it’s difficult to trace where your cash went unless you wrote everything down.
If you prefer cash, make sure to keep track of every single transaction so that “miscellaneous” is not the most frequently used entry in your expense journal. You do keep one, right? On the other hand, having some cash on you is good for a psychological reason. According to a popular financial blogger Leah Ingram, people are likely to spend more if they’re using their credit cards, because they don’t see the cash literally leaving their wallet. She suggests paying for small items such as a coffee or a bagel with cash only, as that will help you visualize how much money you’re actually spending on your favorite Frappuccino. The bottom line would be that cards allow you to monitor your expenses and balance and that makes them the best option, but make sure to carry some cash for small expenses.
A Monthly Subscription For Years To Come
Internet and cable TV subscriptions or gym memberships might seem like excellent bargains, especially if you get bundle deals which are great in the beginning, but once the rate goes up you’ll realize that you are stuck with a pricey subscription you’ll have to pay for a year or even more.
Nobody denies that a fast internet connection and a good selection of TV channels are a must in the 21st century, but you can opt for alternative solutions, such as services that let you stream movies, sports events, or TV channels directly to your digital devices without having to pay a subscription to a cable provider. That keeps you out of a contract and gets you more for a significantly lower price.
When you’re 20-something, your internet or data plan is much more important than your pension plan, but it’s actually the best time to start thinking about your old age. Before you splurge a ridiculous amount of money on various multimedia services, make sure to check out a reliable age pension income test and understand how it works.
These sneaky budget killers can completely derail your monthly spending plan, especially if you tend to leave your credit card bills unopened, as only one late payment can lead to significantly increased fees and interests.
Although this might mean only a few dollars more on a monthly basis, you should bear in mind that there are also less obvious, hidden fees that you don’t pay attention to, such as ATM fees, and when combined, all these expenses can add up and turn into some considerable amounts of money. That’s why it’s important to pay your credit card fees on time and find ATMs that don’t charge you when you want to withdraw your own money.
Grocery Store Trips
Frequent visits to grocery stores can prove fatal for your budget. Every time you forget to buy an ingredient for your homemade dinner and make another trip to your local store can cost you a lot because that tomato sauce for your pasta easily turns into a full shopping cart.
Instead of that, do as Kimberly Palmer, the author of “Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family” suggests and make a detailed meal plan for every day of the week as well as a shopping list that you’ll stick to when you go to the grocery store. That way you’ll eliminate the need to make extra trips and you’ll be able to get exactly what you need.
Besides that, you’ll also manage to prevent food waste. A research study has shown that almost 40% of food in the U.S. ends up in the trash, which translates into $165 billion a year being wasted on uneaten food. Don’t be a part of this spendthrift statistic and purchase wisely.
The first step towards becoming more responsible with your hard-earned money is being aware where it goes and the fact that an average millennial wastes spends approximately $1,000 a year on coffee can really be a real financial eye-opener.