We have all been there at some time in our lives, where we have gone over our budget for the month and end up looking at the bills and bank accounts trying to work out a way to move money around so everything gets paid and this awful feeling is avoided in the following month. Well all I can say is best of luck with that one!
Everybody’s financial priorities are different and regardless of who you are there will come a time when an expense arrives and sends everything off kilter. These are normally the small things that you think are in your budget and are automatically deducted from your bank account before you have even though about them. These are budget serial killers, and while you know how destructive they are it doesn’t mean that they are that easy to stop.
1. Morning Coffee
The first budget serial killers could be the couple of dollars that you spend on your morning coffee. It may not seem a lot however think about it if you are spending an average of $5 a day (maybe some days there is a doughnut or pastry) this amounts to over $100 per month on your normal morning activities. You don’t have to ditch this just ensure that you have it in your budget, and if you really cannot do without it then you have to cut back in another area such as shopping or dining out.
Many people take out a subscription to cable for just a few channels, however this budget serial killers can end up costing you hundreds of dollars, so you have to ask yourself is it worth it for one favorite show or sports channel? Think about what you actually watch because you are paying for it whether you watch it or not. You will keep paying for the service so sit down and work out exactly what you watch and cut the plug on anything that is surplus.
Automatic renewal is a real convenience particularly for the companies that have the subscription services. Ok it is only a few dollars a month but if you find that the magazines are piling up and never being read then you are wasting money. Its fine to keep informed but these budget serial killers have to go if you are not getting what you want from the subscription, it’s time to cancel. This is also true of the monthly deliveries that are really popular. However you can try the snacks, makeup and other goodies but do you really need to spend upwards of $20 per month, whether you do or you don’t the subscription will remain active.
Gym membership is a harder one to work out, if you are the type of person that will not exercise unless you have access to the gym that’s fine but ask yourself if the few times a month you actually go are really worth the amount that is hitting your bank account every month. Think about this; is it one of your budget serial killers? After all there are many diy fitness programs online and there are also gyms that offer one off uses of their facilities. Annual memberships are an even bigger budget serial killer as you are likely to forget they are coming, start making notes of when your memberships are due and then you can assess whether you still find the service a necessity.
Think about how many times in an evening that the bartender asks, “Another beer?” It is so easy to say yes before you have really decided whether you want it or not. Could it be that here is a real budget serial killers situation, are you ordering because you want the drink or is it because you were asked. It is known that alcohol affects your judgment and whilst your friends will love you for proclaiming this rounds on me, but your bank account may think differently!
I am not trying to stop you from your morning coffee, cocktails or fun boxes of things or indulging with your cable, but you do need to realize that if you constantly run out of money or go over budget, it’s time to look at your last few months of transactions to figure out what is throwing your figures out before there is lasting long term damage.
Undetected, your budget serial killers may land you in negative finances or further into debt as this could already be the situation and these debts could cost you dearly over your lifetime and also mean damage to your credit score and above average interest rates. Use the Lifetime Cost of Debt tool to get a true picture of what you are dealing with and you may also find revising your spending is a lot easier too.