7 Ways You're Spending Too Much
If the money runs out before the month, you need to take a hard look at your household budget. Whether you make $20,000 or $200,000 a year, spending too much is a recipe for disaster. Here are seven ways you are probably spending too much.
1. Paying Bank Fees
If you are still paying a monthly fee for your checking or savings account, you need to find a new bank. Monthly fees on checking and savings accounts may be common, but there are still plenty of free alternatives. You may need to shop around, but this simple step could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
2. Running a Balance on Your Credit Cards
If you want to stay broke, just charge more than you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. With interest rates well into the double digits, credit cards charge the highest rates around. Those high interest charges are aggravated by any late-payment fees and other nuisance charges. Keep a running tab of how much you are spending and make sure you have enough in the checking account to cover it.
3. Not Saving for Retirement
You might think it costs too much to save for retirement, but not saving for retirement could actually be costing you money. When you sign up for your employer's 401(k) plan, the money you put aside is deducted from your taxable income. That means a lower tax bill for you now -- and more money for retirement later.
4. Hitting the Drive-Through Every Night
Even cheap fast food meals can add up quickly if you indulge every night. Cooking from scratch is much cheaper, and it's not as difficult as you might think. Just set aside an hour or two on the weekends to prep your meals for the coming week. When you come home from work, all you have to do is pop those pre-packaged meals in the oven and wait.
5. Not Shopping Around
Whether you are shopping for a big-ticket item like a home appliance or something smaller like a new dress, it pays to shop around. If you are not comparison shopping, you could be spending hundreds of dollars more than you should.
6. Not Reviewing Your Phone Bill
Phone bills are a prime target for bogus fees. If you are not reviewing your landline and cell phone bills, you could be paying more than you should. The practice of adding bogus charges to phone bills is so well known it has its own name: cramming. Check your phone bills carefully and contact your provider at once if you spot anything suspicious.
7. Hitting the Grocery Store Without a List
If you want to slash your grocery budget, take the time to prepare a list before every trip. Even if you are just picking up a few items, making a list will help you control your spending. Building that list around store specials and coupons can save you even more, and those savings could amount to thousands of dollars a year.
It is not easy to make ends meet these days. Wages are rising slowly or not at all, and meanwhile the cost of living keeps going up. If you are to survive and thrive in this challenging environment, you need to keep a close watch on your spending. Identifying the ways in which you are spending too much is a great way to start, and the list above can help you get off on the right foot.
About the author: Brian Carroll is the CEO of Pivot Insurance and holds CLU & CPCU designations. He has been part of the life insurance industry for over 30 years. He is also an avid runner and has participated in many athletic endurance events. Brian established the anonymous life insurance quote process here at Pivot and takes pride in the caring and professional staff. You can reach Brian at 1-800-651-1953 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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