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Reel In Your Spending Habits

People buy a lot of things, not because they need them, but simply because they want them. This is what gets many of them in financial trouble. If you can determine the things you can live without and cut them out of your budget, you can reel in your spending habits and improve your chances of getting a handle on your finances.

If you are one of those people who has to keep up with the latest trends in clothing and shoes, electronic gadgets, cars, restaurants and bars, or who indulge in expensive hobbies and habits, it may be time to stop and take a good look at what it is costing you. Being the first to be seen in the most popular styles and fashions, having the latest hi-tech devices, or driving a high end car might be exhilarating, but it can be your financial downfall, especially if you can get a grip on your spending habits.

Most people want to have nice things. That's a fact. And there is nothing wrong with having nice things. But the problem lies in the fact that some people don't know how to curb their spending when they need to. They don't know how to scale back and live within their means. They don't know how to stop spending on things they can actually live without. The debt keeps piling up while the ability to pay the bills keep going down.

This is a problem that is confronting people in all walks of life; the rich, the poor, and the middle class are hurting financially. People are losing their jobs in record numbers and bankruptcies and foreclosures are still rising. When the economy is doing well and most people are working, when jobs are plentiful, and money is flowing freely, people get into the habit of buying what they want, not what they need. They forget about saving for a rainy day. And as we all know now, rainy days do come.

So what can you live without? Lets take a quick look at your spending habits.

  • Do you need a new car, or can you live with the one you have for another year or two? Did you know that the cost of a new car today is almost what it cost to buy a new home just a few years ago? It is said that a new car loses much of its value as soon as it is driven off the lot.
  • How much do you pay for your clothes. Do you need that new outfit that costs (an arm and a leg) or can you live with a less expensive ensemble? Do you actually need a new pair of shoes or can you find a pair, tucked away in your closet, that goes perfect with the outfit that you are trying to dress up?
  • Do you need to hit the golf course every Saturday or can you settle with playing twice a month? Many people play golf for the exercise while others use the links to talk business. Whatever the reason, golf is a sport that can get expensive if the spending is not monitored.
  • What about smoking? You should know by now that the Surgeon General has been saying for years that smoking is hazardous to your health, yet, you continue to smoke. How much does cigarettes cost? Cigarettes cost nearly $5 dollars per pack. If you smoke a pack a day, it costs you over $1600 a year. Smoking is a very expensive bad habit, not only for your wallet, but for your health, too.
  • If you drink regularly, alcohol consumption, whether it's beer, wine, or hard liquor, becomes very expensive, too. Beer sells for over a dollar a can or bottle if you buy them separately at a liquor or convenience store. A six pack costs upwards of $5 and a case can cost $12 to $15 or more. Wine sells anywhere from $5 to $100's of dollars per bottle. Hard liquor sells from $10 to $30 or more per bottle. Mixed drinks at a bar, club, or restaurant will hit you up for $5 or more per glass. If you drink regularly, the costs can get very high.
  • If you are a coffee drinker, you can easily spend at least $5 to $10 a day at one of the many coffee houses that have sprung up on nearly every corner over the past few years. You can save money by investing in a coffer maker and brew your own at home.
  • Are the latest cell phones, smart phones, Iphones, or other types of phones getting the best of your senses. The use of cell phones has escalated over the last ten years or so and has made the use of land lines almost obsolete. Not only are cell phones used for talking, they have evolved into an important part of worldwide communications, from text messaging, cameras and homemade videos, GPS systems, and a host of other uses. But the use of cell phones is not cheap, especially if they have all the latest bells and whistles.
  • Do you eat out when you can cook at home? Not everyone has the time to cook, so eating out may be more of a necessity than a desire. But eating out can be very expensive, especially if you eat out every meal and you are feeding a family of four or more.

  • If you take a little time to review your weekly, monthly, and yearly expenditures, you will find things that you spend on that you can live without. It doesn't mean that you have to completely give up the lifestyle that you are accustomed to or live like a miser. What it does mean though, is that you have to be more frugal and you have to develop a plan to live within a manageable budget. You can splurge sometimes, but not to the point of breaking the bank. Giving up a little here and there can mean big improvements in the way you live. It can help you save money and it can be a blessing to you in the long run.

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