These spending habits are killing your budget. Find out why.
Are you having budget problems? Many do not realize the “little things” add up and although you may think – it’s only ONE coffee – buying these “little things” can totally kill your budget.
One snack from the vending machine means $1 per day, five times per week. Yes, that is $20 per month you could have used to invest or pay down debt. Over time, these little money-wasters will put a dent in your budget and leave you wondering why you don’t have any money.
Why Should You Budget?
It is best to budget so you can live within your means and stay out of debt.
If you are new to budgeting then head over to my budget post here. This post will show you an easy way to budget anyone can follow.
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Are You In Debt?
According to a recent study, 8 out of 10 Americans are in debt. Often we think putting small purchases on credit cards is a normal way of living. However, it is best to adopt the notion that cash is king.
If you create a budget and add some “fun money” in as a category, then, by all means, treat yourself to that morning coffee fix if you have the cash. Just be sure you have more money coming in than going out and you won’t be at risk of killing your budget.
Yet, if you want to pay down debt and save, then consider cutting these budget-killers from your spending. And this post will show you how.
Top Budget-Killers that Keep You In Debt:
Budget Killer #1: Morning coffee fix
Do you waste money on daily coffee? This is a true budget killer. Save your Starbucks fix for a treat and buy reusable k-cups to make your coffee at home.
Check out my favorite way to make coffee at home on a budget here.
I know, I know. Coffee is kind of a -well, you know- habit! We all LOVE our coffee, including me. It is a socially acceptable form of chemical dependence I personally cannot live without.
Yet, I have found some ways to save on coffee and if you love gourmet coffee, you can even make that at home too.
Are you a stranger to investing? Try robo investing for a good cause by clicking here.
Imagine what that money could do for you. You could pay down debt or invest and earn interest on your money.
Consider cutting out your morning coffee fix and make coffee at home. You can also treat yourself on payday if you can’t cut back completely.
Learn how to get free Starbucks gift cards here.
Budget Killer #2: Afternoon salad
Do your co-workers often ask you out to lunch or do you have a cafeteria at your job? Maybe you buy a salad thinking it is healthy -and since it’s not a “full meal” it will be cheaper.
Unfortunately, salads today cost just as much as sandwiches or other cafeteria items and sometimes even more.
Just think, your salad could be driving you into debt.
However, this is a quick fix. Stop buying lunch at work and watch your money pile up!
Instead, opt for a healthy meal prep lunch. Make three or four salads at a time and store them in Pyrex containers for the cost of one salad you buy at your work cafeteria. Add your dressing the day off and your salads will taste great.
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Budget Killer #3: Vending machine snacks
Yes, vending machines are so tempting. Especially if you are hungry and craving junk food. If you have one at work, it is hard to walk by without eyeing that Hershey’s bar – my fave!
Maybe there is a co-worker you love to talk to that works close to the vending machine. You may have subconsciously started buying junk food just to stop and talk.
If that is the case, plan a lunch date and skip the vending machine. Many spending habits can be attributed to something else such as craving human attention or filling a void.
It sounds a little wishy-washy, right? Yet, if you look at the psychology behind spending, many spend money to fill an emptiness.
Try buying your snacks in bulk from Costco or Target. Again use your Pyrex containers and split up your snacks for the week. Not to mention, this is also a great form of portion control if you are trying to cut back on calories.
Check out my favorite meal prep tools here
Budget Killer #4: Fast food on the way home
Ahh the marketing behind fast food. Fast food marketing is strategic and looking to make you form a “spending habit.” Yes, fast food is easy and convenient. Yes, it tastes great!
However, considering it is unhealthy and expensive it could be killing your health and your budget. You can easily spend $15-$20 a day for a fast-food bill for a family of four? (believe me, I have)
Instead of spending money on fast food, try meal planning at home. Find meal planning sites you like and incorporate recipes that are easy and that you and your family enjoy. If you know you have the stuff to make burgers or tacos at home, you will be less likely to stop and buy fast food.
Not keen on meal planning yourself? Check out my favorite meal planning service here and get a free two-week trial!
Budget Killer #5: Buying a new car
Don’t get me wrong, I’m from the motor city and I love a great car. I even go to one of the biggest car cruises in the country every year, the Woodward Dream Cruise.
But unfortunately, buying a new car is a HUGE waste of money. A car depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the lot. It is much wiser financially, to buy a new “used” car.
When car shopping, look for something only a few years old with less than 30,000 miles. You will still be getting a “new” car, but you will reduce your costs by thousands. My husband and I did this with our Ford Explorer and saved around $15,000. (We also paid the car off within a year to avoid paying more interest.)
Another rule of thumb when car shopping is to look for something you can pay off within three years.
So leasing doesn’t make sense in this scenario. Sure, it is nice to get a new car every couple of years, but you will always have a car payment if you choose to lease.
Consider buying a new “used” car instead and keep it for three or four years after you pay it off. You can use the years with no car payment to save up for a new car and pay cash for your next car purchase. It will feel amazing to walk into a dealership and pay cash. Plus, you will not have to shop around for a car loan.
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Budget Killer #6: Wasting money on expensive vacations
I will be the first to admit, my family loves to travel! It’s a great way to keep an open mind and relax. Traveling keeps life fun and vacations give you something to look forward too. However, there are definitely ways to save money when I travel and one vacation doesn’t need to mean years of debt.
Try booking during off-peak times to save money. Use Priceline to search for cheap flights and hotels.
Click here to find out how to save a ton of money on your next vacation.
Budget Killer #7: Mall trips every weekend
One way to save money on clothing and accessories is to stop going to the mall. I found when I used to frequent the mall, I would want more stuff. Make sense, right.
If you are looking to shop, but want an affordable shopping habit, try sites such as Threadup and Poshmark. Both of these sites offer new and used clothing at a huge discount. Use my code MASMAX for Poshmark and get $10 for yourself!!
Others swear by Stichfix. This company offers a personalized stylist and your clothing is shipped right to your door. Return anything that doesn’t work for free. The downside is the clothing is pricey, but it is also good quality so you won’t need to replace items often.
You can save money by using this service because you can still get your shopping fix, but you can limit it to quarterly instead of spending $100 every weekend. You are now only spending $50-$100 every four months (you can set up how often you want your fixes delivered.) That’s a savings of around $800 if you are a person that spends a lot at the mall.
Killing your budget conclusion
In conclusion, stop buying the above mentioned and save your budget. If you are guilty of a few of the above, this is good news. It means you have something you can cut to save your budget and get out of debt. If you are out of Debt, use your extra cash to start investing! It is never too early to late for retirement and your future.
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