Every wonder why you can’t save money? Of course you do, in fact it probably permeates through your thoughts constantly particularly when you’re staring at a budget that looks good on paper but you still don’t have money set aside and your bottom line has bottomed out.
What typically happens when you have everything you want from a money standpoint, as far as quality income versus expenses that appear minimal, is you forget to account for the small items, the little expenses that can easily be defined as budget busters.
Food quickly comes to mind as something that we all need as part of our budget but rarely is accounted for on two levels: grocery store and eating out in restaurants.
The latter is the real culprit with the average person spending thousands per year on take out and dine in food that can be easily cut in half by grocery shopping and spending far less to make food at home on your own.
If you absolutely must have food not prepared and cooked in your own kitchen, budget for it. Otherwise, you’ll be fooling yourself into thinking that you have money leftover when you don’t.
Television and phones also tend to expand your budget quite a bit, mostly with the extras that you’re paying for that you don’t need. Is HBO and Starz really worth an extra $400 per year? Do you really need that extra 5 gigabytes of data for your phone or table to stream movies while you’re bored at the office?
What needs to happen is a choice, deciding if you want to belong to team stream and cut cable altogether or stick with cable and let the data and streaming run dry. You can’t, or at least shouldn’t, have both.
Splurging on yourself tends to happen from time to time (or for some, all the time) and no record of that shows on your budget. That $100 massage every month, $60 hair appointment or a multitude of other pampering type items could cost you a few hundred dollars or more per month, yet they’re nowhere near accounted for when you look at your expenses, even though they belong right there with the cable and phone bills.
No one wants to deprive themselves of food, internet, phones or finding time to shop or spend, but doing so has to be part of the budgeting process. A budget isn’t just electric and utility bills or that car payment.
It has to be an all or nothing approach.