Friday, May 24, 2024

Is Your Money Leaking?
by Diane Palmer
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Diane Palmer

Does your budget have leaks?.. or would you rather not think about it.

Most people don't realize how much money actually slips through their fingers in an average week. We are all working hard, trying to get somewhere and make a nice life, and in doing so, we don't pay much attention to the nickels, dimes, quarters and more that are slipping through our hands every day.

You know the scenario, you basically get out of bed running before your feet hit the floor, and the change you plop down on the counter for that coffee you need to keep you going doesn't seem that big a price to pay, nor does the vending machine in the afternoon at work because you are tired, nor does the takeout pizza on the way home since you are too tired to make dinner. But it DOES matter.

Stop for a few minutes, and actually think about it. I am not suggesting that your life should consist of work and sleep and no fun, but if you could save even just a few dollars during the week, you would have that much more for the fun stuff on the weekends or weeknights and even save some along the way.

A friend of mine told me that she barely had enough money for her car payment, and yet she made good money. Other people in her pay range were not doing too badly, and yet she was having trouble. She figured she would turn her heat way down and eat less food in order to save money. But in reality, she was a hard-working woman who put in many hours and just didn't pay attention to the money she was spending in order to get through those long days at work.

We actually sat down, went through her average weekday, and found that she stopped for a latte and muffin on the way to work (cost $3.50). At lunchtime, she visited the deli with other co-workers and spent $10.00 dollars on a vegetarian lunch. In the afternoon, she felt the slump, and would get a coffee and a chocolate bar from the vending machine (cost $4.00). On the way home, she always picked up the latest rag magazines (which she never had time to read, it was just habit) at a cost of $5.00.

So, in the course of one day, she was spending $22.50! In five days, that is $112.50! Multiply that by four, and there was her car payment. I could see her eyes widening every time we added a new expense. She just didn't realize, her head was elsewhere and these were habits. She pulled money out of the cash machines and spent it.

Now, she gets up a bit early, puts on a pot of coffee, makes her lunch and snacks. She still buys her rag magazines, as this is a treat she really wants. She still saves a lot of money. I am not suggesting we all spend our cash like that. But really look at your daily habits and the spending, and see if you can cut something. You will be in control, plugging the leaks in your budget, so it can be used for more fun stuff!.

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