I’m back with another in the Be More series of posts. Today, I want to discuss the idea of “money leaks,” although I think in our case, the term should be money floods. I think of money leaks as those places where you don’t really think about how much money you’re spending until you sit down to look at the totals. Then, you’re shocked at just how much money is going out of your pockets and into someone else’s. In 2017, I want to make plugging up these money leaks a priority in my life. So, I thought I would identify my top five money leaks and then report to you on how my plumbing project is going in 2017.
- Eating out. This is the real flood threat for our family. We eat out constantly. When my husband works a full day, he sometimes eats breakfast ($7.50) and lunch ($12-13) out. That is basically two of his eight hours of pay gone. Such a waste. But, it isn’t just him. I often get fed up with cooking and cleaning the kitchen and will voluntarily go out instead. With the three of us, that is often between $30 and $40 a pop. Today, we went to lunch and although we ate relatively cheap, my husband had two beers and it brought the tab up to a hefty $45! We had a $25 gift card to the restaurant, but that was still $20 even with the gift card. I’m tired of this money flowing out of my wallet into the pockets of others when we often don’t enjoy the food or the experience all that much. When I was younger, eating out was a weekly event. And I do mean event. We went out almost every Friday (when my dad got paid) and it was seen as a big deal. When my dad was off work, we did NOT eat out. And I don’t remember ever going out for lunch or breakfast much. I want to make eating out something that is an experience, not something done out of desperation.
- Food waste. Seriously. This is another flood threat in our house. I throw out so much food. It makes me feel a little ill and very guilty. I just can’t figure out how to buy efficiently. I buy too much of some things. Other things I buy planning to use them and they don’t get used because we eat out instead (see #1). Still other things, I think I’m going to use, so I don’t put in the freezer and they go bad. I want to be a meal planner and in fact, I’ve signed up for Plan to Eat‘s Make Ahead Meal Challenge for January. I am a horrible meal planner. But, I am bound and determined to make it work in the new year so we will eat at home and save money. If you’d like to join me at Plan to Eat, they are having a 30 day free trial for new members right now and it gives you access to all their recipes for the challenge. You can look me up as a friend and we can share recipes! I’m under 2ndheartmom and I focus on cheap and easy food stuffs!
- Cell phones. This is an area I really struggle. I feel like I NEED to have a smartphone with data plans, etc. Because I travel so much for work and I’m constantly going places, I feel like I need to have one to access email, etc. But, obviously, NEED is a strong word for that. I could live without a smartphone with a data plan. I definitely did not need to have an iPhone 6s that is costing me an exorbitant amount of money each month. I’m going to look into Freedom Pop in 2017. I need to figure out if I can get out of my current contract, how much that will cost and what the trade-off will be. But, I have a feeling that getting a limited plan would really save me quite a bit. We spend over $200 a month for two phones. That, my friends, is ridiculous. By the end of the year, we’re spending $2500 just to have a device that 15 years ago, we survived without just fine. Plus, I feel like my phone sucks up a lot of my time and attention that I could be spending on other more meaningful things.
- Stupid Taxes. That’s a Dave Ramsey phrase, but it totally fits these things. I pay a lot of late fees, overdraft fees, parking tickets, and other such nonsense each year. I am afraid of adding it all up as it would easily be thousands of dollars. I’m too smart to be paying so much in stupid tax. I need to get my sh*% together and start doing thing the right way: on time and paid in full.
- Coffee and things at coffee shops. It is a close tie between this and books, but I think this wins out. I love me some Starbucks. I have a Gold Card. I keep track of stars. I buy food there. My daughter likes to get snacks there. Sometimes I even buy bagged coffee there (pretty rare, but I do). I get a latte almost every day I work at some point during the day. That is three or four lattes a week at $4.25 a pop. That is somewhere around $15 a week. Now, there are weeks where I don’t get that much, but there are also weeks where I get much more than that. So, on average, $10-15 a week is no exaggeration. And the funny thing is, I make coffee at home almost every day as well. But, I often want something later in the day or something stronger or something more fun. So, I go to Starbucks. Next year, I want to start drinking the coffee I make at home and nothing else UNLESS I have a gift card balance I can use. And even then, I would like to make it only once a week (because gift card balances don’t usually go real far). I also want to find cheaper drinks there (see this Pin related to this idea – I need to study up). Finally, I will not buy food there (because it is outrageously expensive).
So, there you have it. My five major money leaks that are threatening a flood. I’m hoping that I can do some plumbing work and get those leaks fixed in 2017. What about you? What are your major money leaks?