‘Money makes the world go round.’ Regardless of where you’re from, you’ve most likely heard this phrase time and again. The quote has been appropriated in every sector and industry today.
What happens, however, when you don’t have enough money to see you through til your next paycheck? Most people fail to budget their funds, which then leads them into financial problems when an emergency strikes.
While a good portion of the commoner’s citizen money goes into essential needs, such as housing and food, a fair amount is spent on luxuries, and treating themselves.
The question then arises, how can you ensure you don’t incautiously spend all your money on things that you don’t need? The simple answer is to curb your spending on things you really don’t need to have.
This, however, is easier said than done, when purchasing a product or service, you likely have seen how it would change your life. Because of this, it’s difficult to classify what is essential and what isn’t.
Nonetheless, there are a few unnecessary expenses that will blow your budget. Here are some of the common things you don’t need to spend money on if you’re saving, budgeting, or planning.
Eating Out & Ordering In
After a long day’s work, the last thing you want is to spend an hour in the kitchen, preparing a meal. Most people will instead eat out or order in. Unfortunately, the cost doesn’t compare: you can spend money eating out for dinner, or use the same money to buy ingredients and prepare several meals to span over a few days. Additionally, the end product is a meal with quality you’re sure of.
Pro tip: If you don’t enjoy cooking every meal, or you’re pressed for time, you can cook in bulk and refrigerate.
Active, Unused Membership Services
Companies have devised a way to take your money without you even noticing it. Almost all stores today accept debit and credit cards. While this created ease in transacting, it may also be the system that companies are using to siphon money from your pockets.
An excellent example of this are the endless streaming services, as well as gym memberships. These companies lure you to a long term membership, and as soon as you’re done, you forget all about it.
The first step to finding a remedy is creating a list of the products you’ve subscribed to. Next, you’ll need to objectively evaluate the importance of these products as opposed to the benefit offered. Take gym membership; for example, you may be charged through a whole year, when you only set foot in the gym once.
Pro tip: Ask a couple of your friends to help you separate the essential subscriptions from the ones you can do without. Then you need to nip it in the bud, and cut off the non-essential products.
You’re living in an era where every other day, someone is celebrating an anniversary, getting married, or has an upcoming birthday. Every small occasion is now celebrated, and in most cases, you are expected to gift the subject.
Ultimately, you’ll end up burning a hole in your pocket after you’ve gifted every family, friend, colleague, and acquaintance. At times, especially if you’re cash strapped or trying to save, you may have to decline some of these invitations.
There are instances where honoring the invitation ends up costing more. Most celebrations have a theme, and this may include clothes or designs you don’t have at the moment. You also have to account for transportation and time.
Pro tip: Have a strict budget of what you’re willing and able to spend on gifts and celebrations. Then comes the hard part: deciding who gets a gift and who misses. You can also opt to learn a new skill to up your gifting game, and save a quick buck. For instance, you can bake someone a cake, or bring some pastries. You can also pick up skills, such as pottery or calligraphy, which will also help you create customized gifts.
While it is difficult to outline all unnecessary expenses on an outright full scale, you can do it on an individual or family level. Go over your spending habits and see what you can spare, and what must be accounted for. Only then will you have a bit of money to spare, and save or use in a better way.
What are some of the expenses blowing through your budget?
Tom serves as the Financial Consultant for Heritage Bank. In partnership with LPL Financial Services, he assists individuals, families and business owners with all aspects of financial planning including retirement.
LPL Financial Consultant • 678-284-3302 • [email protected]