Discover the money eating culprits in your life and eliminate them before it’s too late. Ever felt as is your life is eating away your hard-earned salary? Ever dreamt of having some “spare” cash? Where does all the money go? The check comes in on the first of every month, and the numbers look great. You convince yourself—the way you’ve convinced yourself hundreds of times before—that you’ll spend a little less this month: you’ll skip lunch, cook dinner every night, back out of shopping sprees…yet, at the end of the month, you invariably find yourself broke.
Where does all the money go? And how can you stop the flow? Read on to discover the money-devouring culprits lurking in your life.
Culprit #1: Your cell phone bill. Newsflash: cell phone companies sometimes bill you for services you never use, and only remove them when you discover the fact.
Remedy: Next time your phone bill comes in, go through it carefully. Check for start-up fees, Internet access fees or other services you never use. Then call up your phone company and ask that they stop billing you for things you don’t even know how to use.
Culprit #2: Gym memberships. “I’ll work out every day. Twice a day. Maybe even three times a day.” Yeah, you’ve said that before, when someone’s trying to get you to buy a gym membership, and it’s “really really cheap…one time offer only”.
Remedy: Okay. Face it. If you haven’t used your membership much since January of 2001, then you probably aren’t going to use it anytime in the near future. Get a dog. Go for a walk. Buy some jogging shoes. And cancel the gym membership. Save yourself some cash.
Culprit #3: Sales. Those “buy one, get one free”, “20 percent off” signs are just so tempting. Because you need that new jacket. And that china teapot. And that what-do-you-call-it…And come on, it’s so cheap.
Remedy: Consider carefully. List three ways or occasions you can use the item in question. And if you end up not using it in the end, wrap it up nicely and give it to friends at Christmas; you’ll save on present money.
Oh, and every week, before grocery day, clean out your fridge. Dig out the perishable food: the fruit and vegetables. Find a recipe and make dinner. (Note: almost every combination of vegetables makes good soup.) Don’t let your “on sale” food purchases go to waste.
Culprit #4: Kids. Yeah, that’s right. Your kids. Because they’re just like you. They can easily get waylaid by money-devouring culprits, just like you do.
Remedy: Sit your kids down at the table and lay down some ground rules. Let them know exactly how much money they can count on you for every month. How much allowance they have, what expenses you’ll be paying (school supplies, bus fares, etc), which expenses you’ll pay part of (phone bills, gas for their car, etc), and which expenses they’ll have to save up or work for (movie tickets, magazines, CDs, etc). Be prepared for little kids trying to trap you in the supermarket or the department store. Stand firm through tantrums, and they’ll soon learn that no means no.
Culprit #5: Unrealistic budget. You know what these are. The “I won’t eat lunch for a week” promises. Many times you make unrealistic plans when you’re working out your budget, and when you overspend, you feel as though your whole budget’s going off track, which in turn makes you feel as if it’s okay to spend more. After all, the budget’s already down the drain, so it can’t hurt to spend a little more…
Remedy: Factor in all the expenses: allow yourself three meals a day, gas money, a clothing budget, and add a little extra in for unexpected circumstances, if you find yourself overspending, then at least there’s some wiggle room.
It’s hard to earn money. It’s also hard to save money. But it’s easy to get some spare cash to save if you can keep an eye out for things you’re paying for that you don’t really need to.