What is taking a bite out of your paycheck?
by Chris Martin
A few months ago, a friend of mine was asked by her brother to take a look at his bank account and figure out why he was always broke at the end of the month. She asked him to place everything on his debit card for one month. Remember to always make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover your expenditures. She told him that even if he spent $1 on coffee to put it on the card. At the end of the month, they took a look at what he was spending and he was surprised to discover that he was spending over $350 a month on eating out alone. When you only make $1600-$2000 a month, which is quite a bit of your paycheck.
When you think about it, the average cost of lunch out today is about $5-$15, depending on where you go for lunch. If you figure $10 a day, five days a week, four weeks a month, that is $200 a month just for lunch. That $4 coffee every morning would cost you another $80. Eating dinner out will cost about $20 on average, which would be another $400. You get the idea. Imagine how much money you would save by making your own lunch or dinner. You don’t have to be a five-star chef to make yourself a sandwich or a salad for lunch. Not only will it be cheaper but it will be healthier too.
Most banks now offer an option for you to categorize your spending if you do online banking. Some banks will even offer assistance with creating a budget and setting a savings plan for an emergency fund, vacation fund or that car you want to buy. Each bank is different and some will offer a way to automatically transfer money to a savings account and will track your goals. Imagine how much money you would have if you put $50 or $100 of the money you save into a savings account or a retirement account.
Saving money is not just putting money in a savings account. It can often mean keeping it in your wallet instead of spending it.