Wednesday, September 15, 2010
$5 at the corner store. A quick dollar menu lunch from McDonald's. The daily Starbucks latte. These little purchases may not seem like much, but that's the problem. It takes a few of these before you are able to really notice a big dent in your account, so it's easy to justify making these purchases everyday. By the end of the month, you may have spent $100 or more than you planned!
This has happened to me too many times in the past. I would buy anything that was under $20, so it was not uncommon for me to check my account after a typical weekend and realize that I had spent $100 in 3 days. The worst part about it was that I spent money going to restaurants and partying, so afterwards I really had nothing to show for the money. Once I became serious about managing my finances, I had to take notice of the little money wasters that were eating up my income. I reviewed my bank statement at the end of a typical month, and counted up all the purchases that I made that were $20 or less. I took note of the places where most of my money was going (Target was the number one place!), and made an effort to limit my trips to those places until I was strong enough to resist the temptation. I also started using cash more, since it hurt me more to break a bill than to swipe a card.
If I could give you all any words of advice, it would definitely be to take notice of the small purchases that are ruining your budget! Remember that every time you swipe that debit card or break that $20 dollar bill, you chip away at the mountain of savings you are trying to build. The same way small changes can lead to a major transformation, tiny, routine setbacks can keep your financial goals at arms reach...Now let's make progress!