Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The little things add up

The last time I wrote, I set out a plan complete with goals and a to-do list for accomplishing my goals.  One of the items on the to-do list was to give up or reduce non-essential things I regularly spend money on.  Deep down I knew I was spending a small fortune dollar by dollar on things like my beloved Mountain Dew addiction, “forgetting” to make a breakfast or lunch and being “forced” to eat out, going out for a drink after work, etc.  It’s so easy to ignore how much these little things add up when I’m only spending a couple bucks at a time but since I am determined to kick these habits, I took a few minutes and calculated how much money the little, non-essential things are costing me.

Here’s what I came up with as an estimate of my spending each week:
$12 for Mountain Dew, as much as I resist the urge I still usually end up getting one 20 oz bottle a day
$5 for a forgotten breakfast
$10 for a forgotten lunch
$25 for drinks or dinner out
$1 for a snack at work

That equals $53 a week or $230 a month or $2,756 a year!  And that’s just for the stuff I regularly waste my money on, I don’t even want to know what the annual total would be if I add in all the bigger non-essential stuff I buy each year!  I’m sure I could do a more accurate estimate by looking through my debit card statement but considering I am giving the bulk of the non-essentials up, a ball park figure will do. 

It’s pretty unrealistic to think I’ll be able to give up ALL non-essentials but even if I reduce the spending by 50% that still equals an extra $115 each month I can use to pay off my debt.  Next time I get the urge to reach for the Dew or rush out the door for work without food in hand I’ll remind myself that an extra $2,756 would be better spent on something I truly want… to be debt free!

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