Over the past 30 years I have given many presentations about money. As a way to describe massive losses of money from small expenditures I coined the phrase "hemorrhaging from your capillaries". Capillaries are tiny blood vessels and it is hard to imagine how you could bleed to death but it's the image I want to create of losing significant cash through passive, unconscious spending on seemingly insignificant items.
Folks meet with me wanting to save for a house down payment, college education or retirement BUT they are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot find those dollars to put towards their goals. To help, I suggest they practice "conscious spending". For one month to pay close attention to where their money goes.
Here are a few suggestion where you might find hidden savings:
- If you take $200 or $500 from your ATM can you account for how you spent that money? Keep the ATM receipt and record your spending on the back of it. Any surprises?
- How much do you spend on lunch out each week? Brown bag it once or twice. Leftovers usually taste better.
- Add up the cost of your daily Starbucks latte. Maybe go to Starbucks MWF and visit MacDonald's TTh.
- How many magazines come into your home? Do you make time to read them all? Cancel one.
- When you go out to dinner and the cute waitress or waiter suggests appetizers, specials, desserts do you succumb and run up a bill that surprises you? Try using cash instead of your credit card to limit how much you spend.
- Does your bank charge you a monthly fee for a checking account? Maybe you qualify for a simpler one with fewer components and no fee.
- Have you added up what you paid in credit card interest? Paying down those cards could free up hundreds of dollars.
I'm not suggesting you deprive yourself; I am recommending that you PAY ATTENTION. Before you can find those dollars to fund your dreams, you must become aware of how you spend your money to avoid hemorrhaging from your capillaries.
Be $ Smart - track your incidental spending to find money to save. Then take those savings and invest them!