Featured Image: Lillian Babaian
Article by: Judy Allen
You know when you’re about to spend money, you walk into a store, pull up to a gas pump, sit down to pay bills or are about to click “submit” to finalize an online purchase. Using cash, checks, and cards of all sorts; you know where your money’s going.
We make conscious decisions to spend or not to spend nearly every day of our lives. It sounds simple enough but what about the money we don’t see leaving? What are the silent drains that whisk away our cash?
1. Neglecting to Budget
Life doesn’t happen on paper as it does in our heads. When our income and expenses are in plain sight, we usually take a different approach as to what we’re spending and when. If we come across a great deal on a piece of furniture or some sporting equipment, then come up short when paying bills the next day, it may be because we don’t follow a budget. A budget is not a noose around the neck. It’s a reminder that shields, when necessary, and at other times – gives the go ahead. The Your Balanced Budget (Monthly Planner) is a great place to start when it comes to figuring out a budget that works for you.
2. Having A Casual Attitude Toward Debt
Do you know how much debt you have? Do you ever wish to be debt free? If you continue to think that a credit card here, and another there, is an acceptable way of life, and make only minimum payments each month, you’re handing over hundreds of dollars each year in interest. Take a red marker and circle your interest charges on your statements each month. How could you have productively used that same amount?
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3. Paying Late Fees
How often do you pay late fees? Every time you do, you fork over the free cash. You receive no benefit – no goods, no services – when you pay late fees. An accounting system or even a simple, budgeting spreadsheet could save you some bucks and come in handy. Utilize a reminder feature to pay on time; making sure you pay what you owe and nothing more.
4. Not Investing
Investing comes in many forms. It may be a piece of fine art or real-estate purchased at just the right time. Investing may be choosing some introductory stocks, with the help of a financial advisor, and building an excellent portfolio. It could also mean investing in yourself; through furthering education. Investing equals thinking ahead. Missed opportunities that may never come again are another form of revenue that could have been in your hands – but isn’t.
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5. Non-utilized Subscriptions
How many magazines, clubs, gyms or online specialty sites are automatically hitting your bank account each month? How often do you utilize their services or read their articles? If you’re no longer using them, cancel them, it’s that easy. Why sit staring at your bank statement in disbelief and regret? Go to the website, or pick up the phone, and put an end to the waste of your money.
7. Neglecting Vehicle or Home Maintenance
When you ignore an oil change, which can cost as little as $35, you may end up facing major engine repairs, later. If your tires aren’t properly inflated, you’re burning more fuel. If you neglect to change necessary filters in your vehicle or home appliances, you’re using more energy. Why buy more fuel, pay for more electricity or replace an item due to negligence?
8. Neglecting Regular Medical and Dental Check-Ups
You get the picture; it’s the same as your vehicle. Do you hate going to the doctors or dentists for regular check-ups? Letting these things slide can mean lots of costly procedures later; not to mention the loss of work hours. And when it comes to good health, we lose much more than cash.
9. Strict Adherence to Expiration Dates on Food Items
When you look at a package of ground beef, and the expiration date has passed, do you toss it out automatically? If the meat is still red and smells like ground beef should, you may do well to cook it. Why throw out a head of lettuce, which is apparently usable, just because it has passed the “use by” date? You’re online to check out sporting equipment, clothing, cars and gifts to buy why not check out ways to evaluate the safety and quality of your food; for less waste?
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10. Not Being Organized
When you’re not properly organized, you risk buying duplicates of items you already own, or damages to them from improper storage and maintenance. Think about your closets. Do you know what’s in there? What about your pantry? Do you keep buying bottles of ketchup when there are four still waiting to be opened? And back to the frig. What’s pushed to the back, and dying to be eaten, before it grows extra ingredients? If your garage is a chaotic mess with rusted tools thrown here and there, how many will you end up replacing?
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It’s been said that it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines; it’s the same with our finances. Many of these money drains seem small and insignificant, but when added up, over time, they’ll claim their share of the cash you didn’t see leaving.