It wasn’t until I sat down and created a budget that I knew exactly where my money was going every month. I always had enough to get by, but I didn’t want that for myself anymore. I didn’t want to be paying debt off for the rest of my life. I realized that there were just certain areas where I was spending too much money and had to make the necessary adjustments.
As a society, we have to be smarter about where our hard earned dollars are going. Below I’ve listed six areas that, in my opinion, I believe we spend too much money on.
- Technology – To get your hands on the latest new gadget can be expensive, but why do we feel like we need the latest and greatest? What is wrong with the model that we currently have? Is it still functional? Why are upgrades constantly being pushed onto us? An example is my cellphone. As soon as an upgrade is available my cell phone provider will constantly keep reminding me of it. No thank you. I’m okay with my old model as long as it’s still functioning.
- Cable TV – Cable prices are so ridiculous. When I was looking for ways to cut expenses, cable was one of them. I currently have basic cable. When I did have a cable package, I almost felt forced to watch TV because it was so expensive and I wanted to get my money’s worth. I also felt that I was constantly flipping through the channels, but there was rarely anything good on to watch. With Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime nowadays there really is no reason to pay so much for cable.
- Late Fees/Overdraft Fees – If you’ve missed the deadline for paying a bill chances are you will be assessed a late fee. If you don’t want to set up an automatic payment each month, then set a reminder before the bill is due. I know life can get hectic and things slip through the crack (this actually just recently happened to me!), but think about what you could’ve done with the extra money you just lost out on because of the late fee. Which brings me to my next point – overdraft fees. If you don’t have a budget and keep track of your money, you might end up with an overdrawn account. Overdraft fees quickly add up too. Do yourself a favor and keep track of how much money you have in your account. Budgets are your friend.
- Convenience – Let’s face it we can get lazy sometimes so we go out to eat instead of cooking at home, we drop off our laundry to get done instead of doing it ourselves, we grab that cup of coffee instead of brewing it at home, and visit the vending machine instead of packing a snack. Try keeping a list of these items and how much you spend on them. You will notice that all of these expenses quickly add up.
- Education – I am a huge fan of education, but not of these tuition price tags. They seem to be getting higher and higher every year. Graduates these days are leaving school with a ton of student loan debt. It’s seriously a crisis when the current student loan debt total is at $1.3 trillion. I have discussed my thoughts on this in another blog post. This is one area I wish I would’ve educated myself more about when I was going to college.
- Food – I remember when I used to head to the checkout, stare at the total and ask myself how did I spend so much? $50 and one measly bag of groceries later, I knew that this didn’t make total sense. I couldn’t afford to sustain that in my budget. I realized that I was going to the grocery store on a whim without a list and I was shopping while I was hungry. Of course, I’m going to overspend. Now I take time to look over the sales on the weekly flyer and create a meal plan. I hate throwing away food as that is money literally tossed in the trash. I also use coupons on items that I will actually use to help cut my costs further.
Remember that any small change that you make in your budget can add up to big savings. The next time you create your budget for the month to take a closer look at every line item and see if there’s a way to save in that category. You can put the extra money towards debt or into your personal savings.