Where Does Your Money Go?

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Are you a victim of spending leaks that make your money quietly trickle away? You’re not alone. Following are common budget holes and ways to plug them.

Eliminate the expense of conveniences. The phone features you don’t use, magazines you don’t read, television channels in languages you don’t speak – chances are, you can live without many of today’s “must have” products and services. And do you really need to download special ring tones? Consider the fees (access, activation, usage and more) you pay each month, and start simplifying your life by eliminating some of these extras and putting the extra money into a savings account at your credit union or bank.

The Big Cost of Small Splurges

If You Save It Rather than Spend It*

Splurge Monthly Cost After one year After five years After 10 years
Downloading five ringtones/month ($2.49 each) $12.45 $165 $821 $1,761
Downloading 50 songs/month ($1/song) $50 $610 $3,241 $7,005
Monthly digital cable bill $60 $730 $3,879 $8,384

*Assumes a rate of 3%. Rate shown is for illustrative purposes only.

Brew your own. Having a tall mocha cappuccino each day may seem like a small luxury, but at $4 plus a pop, it adds up quickly. If you buy five coffee shop drinks a week, that works out to $1,040 a year!   

Stay in to help your budget out. Most educators underestimate how much they spend on dining out. Of course, you're busy, and it's often easier to take the family out or pick up some take-out food. But even at a moderately priced restaurant, a family of four can easily spend $60 or more on dinner. If you're doing that twice a week, that can add to up $6,240 a year! Instead, try to make large batches of food that you can freeze and reheat when time to prepare dinner is short.

Super-sizing shrinks your wallet. A super-sized meal or an item bought in bulk may be a better deal ounce per ounce, but you’re still spending more. Also consider: Do you ever actually use up the bulk item before its expiration date passes (or you get sick of it)? If you like shopping at warehouse stores, consider pairing up with a neighbor or family member.

Is a membership worth the money? Perhaps your fitness club has the latest technology. If you are paying for it, make sure you use it! Otherwise, consider taking brisk walks around the schoolyard. Start a walking club with other educators (there is nothing more motivating than knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up). If you belong to a CD- or book-of-the-month club, save money on shipping and purchases by patronizing used CD and book stores instead.

Use your discounts. As an educator, you may be eligible for discounts at retailers such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Red Roof Inn, and others. ​Visit here.

With a little effort, you can improve your financial outlook by making your finances watertight.