Are you determined to cut back on your spending and increase your savings but can’t seem to make it happen? If you find that you spend too much money, and you can’t seem to figure out why, some sneaky expenses may be to blame.
These expenses are often small ones that fly under the radar and cause hard-to-find leaks in your budget. As a result, you may not realize the impact they have on your bottom line.
Once you’ve identified the sneaky costs that are putting a drain on your budget, you’ll be able to take control of your expenses and kick-start your savings. Start today by plugging these common budget leaks.
Splurging at the Grocery Store
This is a common area where people spend too much and don’t realize the effect it has on their cash flow. Maybe you like to try new products when you see them. While it can be hard to resist temptation, impulse buying can add unnecessary costs to your grocery bill, as can purchasing items such as alcohol, processed foods and soda.
Perhaps you simply buy too much and then throw food out. If so, you’re not alone. CNBC reports that the average American family throws away $1,500 worth of food each year.
To cut grocery costs, try these strategies:
- Strictly adhere to a list.
- Never shop on an empty stomach.
- Stick to the edges of the store (where the produce, dairy, meat and other whole foods are).
Remember, small costs add up. Use this Home Budget Calculator from Voya to see how saving that money instead can impact your financial goals.
Wasting Money on Fees
Fees of any kind can sink even the best-maintained budget. Check out your current expenses and look at what they really cost you. Do you incur fees because of late payments or overdrawn accounts? Getting organized can help you keep up. Consider putting bill due dates on your calendar and adding a reminder alert or setting up automatic payments. Track your spending so you know what money is coming in and going out of your checking account.
Make sure to look for, assess and possibly eliminate other types of fees too, including:
- Transaction fees
- Service fees
- Interest rates on any debt you carry (like credit card debt). Using cash to pay off balances today will save you money on interest charges in the long run.
Overpaying for Services
Life costs money — but it doesn’t always have to be expensive. One sneaky way money can slip out of your budget is when you spend too much on necessary services. Yes, you need to pay for things such as your cell phone plan and car repairs, but you can save money by shopping around for cheaper alternatives, downgrading your service level if you don’t need the top-tier option and taking advantage of discount programs such as ADP Discounts powered by Lifemart. Log in to My TotalSource® to access LifeMart’s deals on a wide range of products and services.
If we don’t watch our budgets closely, it can be easy to spend too much money and let our expenses get out of control. But if you track your spending, keep a budget and review your bank statements and credit card transactions regularly, you’ll be able to banish sneaky budget leaks for good and set yourself up for financial success.