Do you find yourself short of funds before the next payday or never having enough money left to put into savings? The solution to your problem may be to trim out your dining expenses even trips as simple as your cup of coffee or your take-out dinner.
According to a recent study conducted by Bankrate.com, many Americans purchase brewed coffee at least three times a week, go to a bar at least once a week, and eat out or order take-out food at least three times a week.
Let’s look at the numbers:
- Coffee – At the average price of $5 per cup, that three-times-a-week cup of coffee is costing you almost $800 per year.
- Going to a bar – If you go to a bar once a week, have two beers and go home, you will spend more than $700 each year.
- Eating out – It’s pretty easy to spend $15 per meal for eating out or take-out. If you do that three times a week, you are eating more than $2,300.
- Total – More than $3,800 per year.
There is nothing wrong with any of these activities, but the trick is to plan ahead. Decide each pay period how you are going to spend your money, then stick to it.
Of course, there are some expense items you have little or no control over such as mortgage/rent, utilities, and debt payments. For other categories, you are totally in control.
For instance, if you need that morning cup of coffee to get you going, consider purchasing a good quality coffee maker that you can pre-program to have your coffee ready in the morning. Buy an insulated mug from your favorite coffee shop to put your home-brewed coffee in. While the up-front cost is greater than the daily brewed coffee, over-time you will spend less and have more.
Plan ahead, stick to your plan, and you may be surprised how far your money can go.Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.