Money comes and money goes. That’s how the economy works, right? But when payday rolls around, you want your money to last until the next one…and maybe put a little bit away at the end of the week. Sadly, that’s not how it goes for most Americans. A full half of all US citizens live paycheck to paycheck. Often, it’s because of bad spending habits. If you want your money to last longer than the weekend, avoid these four ways to blow your paycheck.
Eating Out at Restaurants
The average American spends more than $3,000 annually at restaurants and bars. That’s a huge figure, especially compared to the annual grocery purchases by the same people – $4,000. In addition to spending thousands at restaurants, a bunch of those groceries will end up spoiled and in the garbage. Instead of eating meals out on the town consistently, create a meal plan for eating at home. Buy groceries to support your meal plan and stick to it! You’ll free up a huge wad of cash.
Hitting the Casino
The amount of money lost gambling by Americans is well over $100 billion annually. An average gambling trip loses more than $580. The house always wins you’ve been told, and that’s true. In the long run, gambling will never pay off. Keep your money in your own pocket. Avoid the casinos, scratch tickets, and poker games. Instead, start a retirement savings account or pay down your credit cards.
Counting on Your Credit Card
If you use your credit card on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you pay interest monthly. Most people carry a balance on one or more credit cards from month to month, and the cost is astonishing. It’s not uncommon to see interest rates north of 20 percent for a credit card, and that adds up very quickly. Combined with low monthly payments, you could takes several years paying back just $1,000 on your credit card, assuming the minimum monthly payment. As a rule of thumb, don’t make a purchase if you couldn’t do it without the credit card. At minimum, know how you’ll pay off the balance when the bill arrives. Counting on your credit card is a surefire way to end up in credit trouble.
Service Charges and Interest
Do you wonder what service fees are on your payments? If you’re making monthly payments for car insurance, cell phones, or other services, you probably shouldn’t be. Those service charges are interest payments for financing. Yes, you’re paying interest on some things and have no idea. Whenever possible, pay for your services in full to avoid extra service charges, financing fees and interest. You can even find banks that offer low service charges for transactions, and the odd one has no fees at all! It’s just another way to save a few bucks here and there, and it adds up monthly.