Here are 10 ways you’re blowing your budget each month without knowing it:
1. The coffee shop – $100 a month
$4.50 seems to be the average for a flat white these days. With many of us dropping in for a caffeine pick-me-up before we hit the office, we can quickly burn through $100 a month. Try to break the habit by making an instant coffee at home or at work, or try to give it up for a while. It will be better for your health and your wealth in the long run.
2. Bottled drinks – $100 a month
How often do you forget your water bottle when you’re running between meetings, or just feel like a quick bubbly drink pick-me-up? Some individuals can clock over $100 on bought soft drinks, juices and bottled water in just one month. Refill a drink bottle with tap water when you’re thirsty.
3. Electricity – $100 a month
Do you leave appliances plugged in, overuse the heater in winter or the air-con in summer? Not only are you wasting energy, you’re also wasting dollars. Use a drying rack for clothes, don’t fill the kettle for just one cup of tea, have faster showers and put a jumper on instead of a heater. It’s good for your pocket but also good for the planet.
4. ATM fees – $15 a month
You’re at the local bakery, forget they’re cash only but conveniently they have one of those portable ATMs tucked in the corner just waiting for you to pull out a casual $20. You do, it costs you an extra $2.50, and then you repeat the situation again at the petrol station. Those little fees can add up to $15 month which is $180 a year. Think ahead and withdraw what you think you might spend over a few weeks in cash from your bank’s ATM.
5. Throwing out food – $75 a month
Fresh fruit and veggies aren’t cheap. So have a think about how often you end up throwing out over ripe avocados and squishy tomatoes and how much that is costing you. If you know you’re not going to eat at home from Friday night until Monday morning then dedicate Thursday nights to using up what’s in your fridge and freezing it for later. That means you won’t have to get take out when there’s no food in the fridge leading to further savings.
6. Unused gym membership – $80 a month
Unless you’re visiting the gym at least twice a week, chances are you’re not getting the most out of your monthly membership fee. You’ll probably find that paying the casual rate when you actually go to the gym will work out cheaper in the end. Better still why not just go outside for a run around the block?
7. Credit card interest – $60 a month
Many of us simply pay the bare minimum repayments on our credit cards, racking up a huge side-debt in interest. Carrying credit card debt instead of paying it off each month – in full – is a fools way of ending up in a perpetual debt spiral crisis.
Make a plan to pay them off or cut them up if you can’t help yourself. If you are already in crisis mode then consider transferring all the debt to new account offering 0% p.a. interest for up to 12 months and pay off the debt slowly and surely, and get yourself out of trouble before it’s too late.
8. The cinema & the candy bar – $20 a month
Sure we all enjoy a night at the flicks sometimes, but with ticket prices at an all-time high if you add on candy bar expenses, like $5 on a frozen Coke and $7 on a bucket of popcorn, for the whole family, you’re night out is going to blow the budget. Stock up at grocery store on the way to the cinema or take some snacks from home.
9. Smoking – $60 a month
Haven’t quite kicked the habit? With the average price of a pack of cigarettes sitting at around $18, you’re looking at a whopping $6500 per year on a pack-a-day habit. There are also other financial benefits like cheaper health insurance, cheaper life & income protection insurance, and a longer life with less health problems.
10. Dining out – $150 a month
We all love eating out, but is it something you can really afford four nights a week? Improve your home cooking skills and invite your friends over for a pot-luck dinner party once a week, then rotate who hosts the dinner so you can all still enjoy “going out” but at a fraction of the cost.
Source: Yahoo Finance