As the weather starts to turn and winter seemed to be in full force already, though it’s already almost Thanksgiving somehow, I can already notice the furnace kicking on more than normal and can anticipate that the next gas bill will skyrocket. With increasing bills comes Christmas shopping around the corner, so any extra money laying around is taken up and you wonder where it all went. There are certainly money moves you can make to free up extra money, but it’s taking a look at your entire financial picture and assessing where the most damage is done is a great way to start fresh not only in the new year, but right now so you can stop asking yourself why you’re always broke.
Too Many Impulse Buys
Whether you head out on the weekend to go shopping or you enjoy the one-click purchase options of online shopping, the impulse buys can be hard to get away from. Before you leave your house, whether it’s to the home improvement or grocery store, it’s a good idea to make a list of everything you need first. A step further you can even try and list by store and section, that way you don’t miss what you went in for in the first place, let alone come home with extra items. Online shopping is the hard part as you can see the item and have ready to be shipped to you in a matter of seconds.
Spending Every Meal Out
If you wonder why you’re broke, you can probably point to your food bill for the month as a reason why, and I’m not talking about groceries. If you think about how much it costs for going out to lunch at work, picking up carryout for dinner, taking the family out, or even how much coffee is if you stop every morning, it’s no wonder why you could save hundreds of dollars a month by going grocery shopping instead. You probably will even notice the pounds start to drop off as well while eating healthier meals at home.
Not Tracking Purchases
Keeping a budget is tough, which is probably why it’s been said that two-thirds of households do not follow one, meaning that there is a spending free for all every month. While sure, if you end up with more money left than goes out at the end of the month that’s great, but what about funding an emergency fund, paying off debt, or retirement contributions? If you start out by taking a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can track purchases to see where every dollar is going. It may actually be scary where you see your money going, and for fun, you can add up all of the unnecessary charges and see what you could have left. Going forward, hopefully it will make you think twice when you want to make a purchase.
Paying for Cable
While many of us have gotten used to having cable as a part of our lives, those that are cutting the cord seem to be getting by just fine, and with extra money in their pockets every month. If you think about how many channels you pay for, how many you actually watch, and how you spend most of your viewing, whether it’s through DVR or a streaming service, you can ask yourself why you continue to waste hundreds of dollars a month.
Not Using Your Gym Membership
The end of the year gives way to the best deals to join a gym. After all, that is when everyone figures out that they didn’t get as far in their fitness goals as they started out with, if at all. So those seeking weight-loss in the resolution will begin going, and may keep up with weeks, even months, but pretty soon the visits continue to be infrequent and pretty soon your find yourself paying for membership dues every month when you haven’t been in six months. Do yourself a favor, save the money each money and take a nice brisk walk outside and take the dog with you, but both of you bundle up in the bitter cold.
Using a Credit Card the Wrong Way
If used correctly, a credit card has plenty of benefits, such as building your credit score, and best of all, earning rewards by using it on the purchases you would make anyways, adding up to free points or cashback throughout the year. It’s when you use a card without rewards, or carrying over a balance to the next month and paying interest, is where using a credit card the wrong way could be harmful to your finances.