Spending Wisely

By: Bob Guy

Would you be surprised to find out that you and your spouse collectively spend $800 per month on fast food and coffee? Most people don't consider $10 per day a lot to spend on themselves. But do the math and figure it out. If you're married, you and your spouse both work, and you both get lattes in the morning and go out for a fast food lunch, then you could be spending a huge chunk of your income on working. If you were home eating a sandwich or brewing your own cup of coffee, you could save a lot of money. One way to curb your thinking is to figure out what you actually pay to work. How much do you spend on gas to get to work? Tack on food and drinks and your daily trip to and from work can add up to a much bigger piece of your paycheck than you would like to see.

Finding ways to save money can seem like you are depriving yourself. Giving up that coffee house latte may make you feel like you're giving up a small but satisfying part of your life. You need to change the way that you think of sacrifices. Sacrifices generally have a payoff. Concentrate on the payoff and enjoy it when it comes. If you and your spouse gave up lattes and fast food for a month, brewed your own coffee and packed your own lunch, they you would spend around $200 per month instead of $800. Track your spending and set a goal. See if you can stretch that dollar to save more money. At the end of the month, if you've saved the amount that you aimed for, then reward yourselves with a special weekend get away or night out. Chances are you won't spend as much on that as you would on weeks and weeks of fast food. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.

Most importantly, you're training yourself to keep the future in mind. Most people have a very hard time imagining what the future will actually be like. It's even harder to make small moves now that may seem inconsequential at the present, but can make a huge difference in the long run. Small changes can add up to big ones more quickly than you think.

Consider saving a small amount of money. Let's say that you put one dollar aside for your grandchildren. Let's say that you invest that dollar and get 8% compounding interest annually. If you never touch that dollar, then it will grow. After one year, it will only be $1.08. It hardly seems worth it. But after twenty years it will be $4.66. Still not enough? Let's say that you leave it for one hundred years and it grows to $2,200. After 200 years it will grow to $4.8 million dollars. You may not be alive to see it, but your great grandchildren should be taken care of. This is only theoretical, but it helps you look at the big picture. Saving small amounts of money may seem frivolous, but a little at a time can definitely add up over time.

Don't make the mistake of running up your credit cards thinking that it's only a little bit of interest every month. Every one of those dollars that you paid the credit card company could be growing for you. Pay off everything you can as quickly as possible and start saving those dollars. You may find yourself taking out a or to make it over small humps, but just avoid anything that takes a lot of time to pay off.

Money Management
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