Posts Tagged ‘financial situation’

How Much Money Do You Really Spend?

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Overspending is an enormous problem for Americans right now and the sad truth is, many of us do not even know we are doing it. If you are finding it hard to make ends meet at the end of the month, or you are desperately waiting for that next paycheck to arrive, you may need to take a hard look at your financial situation, your budget and how much you spend every month.

Track how much money you spend on small things.

We typically consider our rent or mortgage payments, car loans and utilities as the only items that need to be budgeted, but there are many small items that can crop up and eat away at your bank balance. These are typically unnecessary expenses, and over time, enough of them can quickly add up. Let’s take a look at how to determine how much you spend and how you can get your expenditures in line with what you make.

It’s a great idea to keep a little log book and write down everything you buy for the period of one month. Everything, no matter how small, should be noted down in your log. At the end of the month, total everything up and see just how much money you have going out the door. This is probably the easiest way to figure out what needs to be cut, since you’ll have everything right in front of you. Here are some of the most common culprits.

1. Eating Out.

Americans spend thousands, if not tens of thousands, eating out and these expenses can quickly add up. You can save quite a lot of money simply by cutting out one meal out a week, and even more if you really get serious about cutting back. Once you’ve logged how much you spend on food, you may be surprised at how much of your paycheck is missing.

2. Recurring Subscriptions.

This is a problem for many online. You sign up for something, forget to ask for a refund before the trial is over, and before you know it, you’ve got several “memberships” or recurring fees that you don’t even know about, all being taken right out of your account every month. These will add up fast, and can do a lot of damage if they are not caught in time.

3. Superfluous Items.

Even though these items are typically small, they take up a big chunk of your budget. All too often we don’t think about the little, “it’s only a dollar,” items that we see at the store. While each one may be inexpensive, when you add them all up, it can be shocking to see just how much you are spending. The log book of your monthly expenses really comes in handy to see which of these items can be cut from your budget.

By taking the time to see how much money you actually do spend, you can stop overspending before it gets out of control and starts to eat away at your paycheck.

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