Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Your Budget: Sweat The Small Stuff? (Part 1)

How often do you see articles containing money saving tips? Make dinner more often and eat out less, rent movies rather than going out, bring lunch to work rather than visit a restaurant, take advantage of coupons, and brew your coffee rather than driving-through Starbucks.

Are these tips worthwhile? If we spare the $8 expense of a lunch five days per week, 50 weeks per year, we could save $2,000 - nothing to scoff at! However, what's the cost of these savings? Eating at our desk everyday removes our ability to get outside and away from our work for that important hour, and prevents us from spending time, talking to, and laughing with friends. Is there a better way? According to a new study (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesmy.nr0.htm) released by the Department of Labor, the average U.S household earns $65,132 per year before taxes, and spends an average of $50,631 on annual expenditures (excluding taxes and savings). Of that spending, $20,093, or 39.7%, goes towards housing expenses.

Additionally, $11,211, another 22.1%, goes towards transportation and automobiles. Combined, those elements make up 61.8% of the average household's spending! By comparison, only $10,835, or 21.4%, of our spending goes toward food, apparel and services, and entertainment combined. If we are going to explore ways to reduce spending, shouldn't we start with the elements that are costing us the most?  Let's look at that in Part 2.

Question for the Reader: Where do you suspect you can cut for the most savings?

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