The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.
Spend It and Forget It? 5 Overlooked Money Drains
We’re told repeatedly that to manage our money well, keep a monthly budget. Creating a monthly budget is huge, but what about an end-of-month budget assessment? It’s just as important to plan for your future expenses as it is to evaluate your past transactions. The forgotten “unnecessaries” can put a dent in your budget, especially when hidden expenses continue to add up. See if you can trim your spending before it’s time to budget next:
Unsubscribe and Byeee!
It’s like your birthday every time your Ipsy beauty box ($12/month) or Menlo Club men’s clothing box ($60/month) arrives. Wrapped in a beautiful brown shipping box, the surprises inside are exciting to open. Then beauty products accumulate on your bathroom counters. Dresser drawers barely close as stacks of T-shirts grow. It may be time to audit your subscription services and cancel those that have lost value to you.
What’s the Buzz?
Ordering rounds of $9 glasses of wine or $11 cocktails seems like a great time — until the check arrives. Grocery bills can also add up if craft beer or wine makes your shopping list. According to NielsenIQ, adult beverage sales increased by up to 55% during the pandemic!1 Though these numbers have since started to decline, sales of spirits in mid-2021 were still more than 30% higher than they were during the same months in 2019.2 If you’re looking to trim down your budget, paring down your home bar and skipping a few nights on the town could save you big money in the long run.
Resist the Sales
A sale might be a steal, but is it a need? Special discounts are a financial trap, tricking you into buying something because it’s on sale. Your finances can really take a hit as you habitually take advantage of every deal that comes your way. If you love a good bargain, opt out of all marketing emails with announcements like “limited time offer!” or “buy one get one free!” During moments of weakness, think of retailers as predators out to get your money, and turn a blind eye to the temptation. Sales are designed to be savings, but remember, you’re ultimately still spending money.
Quit the Pick-Me-Ups
A small bag of chips from the vending machine or afternoon latte seems harmless. But once you rely on these snacks as everyday stress relievers, distractions or an energy source, your money starts to slip away without noticing. To stop munching at work, try drinking more water, chewing gum or taking a break to walk around the building. Turn your phone off and only look at it during an intentional break away from your desk. This way, reading an article or watching a video feels more enjoyable.
DIY The Little Things
While a “quick-cuts” chain might trim your locks for as little as $20, salon services like all-over color, razor cuts and highlights or balayage can costs hundreds of dollars every time. It might be worth it to splurge on a top-quality stylist if you’re completely changing your look, but you’ll save a mint by doing in-between touch-ups yourself. The same goes for guys with beard trimming and maintenance. Purchase an inexpensive trimmer kit and keep your facial hair neat and tidy without the need for a barber to save some dough.
Keep the DIY trend going by doing small changes in your home, such as painting an accent wall or repairing a broken doorknob, using supplies from your local hardware store. It could mean the difference between a quick $20 purchase (plus a few hours of your time watching DIY videos on YouTube) and a $60-per-hour handyman that can drain your wallet in a day.
Where does my money go?! At the end of the month, comb through your transactions line by line. Identify hidden expenses and those that sneak up on you. Then instead of stressing about where your money goes, ask “where can I cut costs?” You may feel a loss at first but think of the financial gains. It didn’t seem like it, but you can live without it after all.