Many people that create a budget have a difficult time sticking to it for one reason — incidental expenses. Although incidental expenses are only a small fraction of your expenses, they can have a really big effect on your budget. These tiny expenses often go unaccounted for and can destroy your carefully crafted plans. Here are a few small expenses that are killing your budget.
Too many people underestimate exactly how much money they spend on entertainment. These expenses can be so small that people fail to keep track of them. Small purchases like Redbox DVD rentals and on demand movie purchases are often overlooked. Spending $2 to $3 dollars here and there can really add up over the course of a month.
Window shopping can be hazardous to your financial health. How many times do you go to the mall just to look and come home with a new shirt, pants or pair of shoes? Impulse purchases are budget busters because they are unplanned expenses. This means that you normally have to borrow money that was meant for another purpose to cover your impulse purchase.
Impulse purchases are great for retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Best Buy but they are terrible for consumers. You can easily spend $100 dollars or more each month buying items that you never planned on purchasing.
It may sound weird but having a budget that is too strict can make your budget impossible to adhere to. Too many people create a budget that applies every spare dollar to a bill or savings. If you feel like your budget is too constrictive eventually you will stop following it. Even while working to get out of debt allow yourself room to splurge from time to time. Splurging is not buying a new car or making a new debt for yourself. Splurging may be buying that new shirt you always wanted or a new video game. Just be sure not to charge them!
It’s important to place all of your expenses in their proper categories when budgeting.
Individuals often budget around wants and not needs. A car can be classified as a definite need depending upon where you live and how far you travel to work. Buying a BMW 750Li however would be considered a luxury. This may be an extreme example but it demonstrates how easy it is to turn a need into a want.
Having the right friends can make or break your budget. Are your friends spendthrifts who waste a lot of money with little to no thought about their financial future? Or do you have freeloading friends that consistently borrow money from you with only promises of being paid back? Both types of friends can be dangerous to your financial future. Most individuals pick up the habits of people that they hang around. The chances are good that if your friends are big spenders that you will eventually become one. Who wants to go out while everyone is having fun and not do the same? Freeloading friends can eat up your savings. You will find yourself busy financing their lifestyle that you may neglect to save for yours.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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