- You have credit card debt. That means you have an extra monthly payment. And if that monthly payment was not in your budget before, it can turn into even more charges, higher monthly payments, and paying quite a bit of money in interest.
- You have a large family/group of friends. Are you always buying your niece, brother, cousin, uncle, kids, partner/spouse a birthday, communion, bridal shower, or Christmas present? If you have a large circle of friends &/or family, chances are you spend a lot of cash on events and presents.
- You buy cups of coffee at the coffee shop. It might be convenient because you don’t have to make it yourself, but it adds up. Compare what you spend at the coffee shop to what you’d spend if you make it at home. Some people can spend upwards of $100/month versus probably half of that or less if you bring it from home on a regular basis.
- You travel a lot. You either have a long commute or a combination of that and you don’t plan your trips out very well. When you live in town, it can be easy to not plan trips because everything is only 5 minutes away. However, that can end up costing you money for gas and contributes to wear and tear on your vehicle when you are running all over town multiple days a week.
- You dine out or go out a lot. Movies are expensive. Buying meals out or having cocktails out is more expensive than grocery shopping and eating meals or making your own drink at home. Again, these are expenses that can add up quickly and cause you to spend a lot of money.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to make a plan and take action.
Pay down your debt faster to get rid of extra monthly payments.
Instead of buying gifts, DO more things with family and friends. Make memories. Help others. How good would it feel to volunteer as a group at a homeless shelter over the holidays instead of spending money on things that no one really needs?
Buy beverages and food from the store and bring it from home whenever possible. Also, don’t go out every weekend. Stay in and have a game night, rent a cheap movie, or catch up on a little TV. Or, try some cheaper alternatives to the usual going out activities.
Carpool, bike to work, walk to work, or take the bus. Then, plan your trips around town instead of just running out whenever you need a couple things.
Remember: don’t completely cut the fun out of your life; just be smarter about it…because it’s no fun to be broke!
Need help with your credit card debt or setting up a realistic budget? Call us at 888.577.2227 or click the button below to start online financial counseling. It’s free and confidential.
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.