What I mean by this is all those miscellaneous expenses like food from that vending machine at work and drive-through beverages.
They do add up
If you’re budgeting or just trying to save money, it’s easy to concentrate on the big stuff like your grocery bill, auto insurance or entertainment, and lose sight of the little stuff. But let’s suppose you get a drive-through coffee on the way to work every morning for $2.00 and something to eat once a week for $3.00. Let’s also suppose you get a snack from the company vending machine once a day for $1.25. Add these all up and that’s $19.25 a week or $77 a month. Just imagine – $77 a month out of your budget that may never have occurred to you. You might have a tough time cutting your auto insurance by $77 a month but look how easily you could save this much just by stopping those bad spending habits.
What to do instead
I understand that you just can’t get your day started without coffee but you could make it at home and take it with you. Twelve ounces of Folger’s Black Silk coffee (which is comparable to Starbuck’s French Roast) costs about $6.50 where I live. Since there are roughly two tablespoons in an ounce of coffee, you should be able to make at least 20 cups of Black Silk coffee at home for about 32 cents each, a savings of $1.68 vs. that drive-through coffee.
Take a snack with you
You could also save money by taking an afternoon snack with you instead of hitting the company’s vending machine. I like to add some M&Ms to dry roasted peanuts, pop them into a sandwich bag and presto! I have my own trail mix to take to work and it costs just pennies vs. a vending machine candy bar.
Are you tracking all your expenses?
There’s just no way to create or stay on a budget unless you’re tracking all your expenses, including the little stuff like that drive-through coffee. I understand that tracking all your expenses can be a real chore. Fortunately, there are software programs and smartphone apps that will take some of the pain out of this.
If you have an iPhone, you could get the Mint.com app. It not only helps you record expenses, you can use it to create and manage your budget and even keep track of your credit cards and investments. Plus, it’s free. Other expense tracking apps available for use on the iPhone include Expenditure, Moneybook and Toshl.
If you have an Android phone, no problem. There are also expense tracking apps for Android-based phones. Hello Expense is said to be simple and reliable. EasyEnvelopes has had good reviews and Mint has a version for Android phones.
Put the professionals to work
If you’re having a really serious problem with debt, why not put our professional debt counselors to work? They have years of experience working with creditors to get debts reduced–sometimes for just a fraction of what’s owed–and to develop affordable payment plans. Plus, we charge nothing up front. In fact, you don’t pay us unless we negotiate a payment plan that you approve. If not, you can just walk away and lose nothing for having let us try.