A Guest Blog from Judy Lawrence…. Catch Jackie’s replay interview with Judy this Wednesday, July 4th at 10 AM (Tune in while you’re making your potato salad for the BBQ this afternoon or you can listen on your phone) … all the details can be found at www.W4WN.com .
The “IT’S ONLY” SYNDROME
5 Reasons You DO Want to SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF !
By Judy Lawrence, MS Ed.
Budget Counselor/Coach and Author of The Budget Kit 6th Edition
How many times have you said “It’s only $5 dollars?” or “This candy bar is “only” fifty cents” or “The DVD movie is on sale for “only” $9.95” or “The app is “only” $.99”.
It’s these “it’s onlys” that are often putting you over the edge each month. More importantly, this language sets you up for minimizing and ignoring the whole financial exchange and staying oblivious to your spending.
The real issue is lack of awareness, mindfulness, and consciousness when it comes to spending in general. Most people are so entrenched with their daily routines and lifestyles that they never stop to even notice how much they are spending on any daily or monthly basis, and how that spending is ultimately impacting their lives.
How the Money Trickles Away on the Small Stuff
1. Bottled Water
Even ignoring the larger issue of landfills and whether a particular brand is actually safer or purer than another, let’s look at how the cost of bottled water totals up.
Instead of buying the small bottles by the case at a major discount and being sure to carry them with you everywhere, do you tend to forget the water and then end up buying those convenient bottles of water at the gym, theatres, department stores, or airport? Are you paying $1.50 – $3.00 for each when you could be spending .25 or less each when buying by the case? At $3.00 a day, you could be looking at over $1,000 a year.
Isn’t there a piece of furniture, clothing, a weekend trip or some paid off debt that would give you more satisfaction than buying overpriced bottled water?
Everybody knows the latte story already. But just as a reminder. If you add up that one daily $4 latte for just the work week, think of how you are drinking away $20 a week and $1040 a year. Now seriously, if you are a latte fan, are you really having only 5 lattes a week total?
Any ideas what you would do with an extra $1000 a year?
3. Too Busy for Bills
Is your life so busy you get behind in paying your bills? That late payment fee of $25 – $35 or bad check fee of $30, adds up mighty fast. Could you be saving hundreds of dollars of fees each month if you would take the time to slow down your life or find a way to be more organized?
When you make the time to review your bills, balance your account, determine if you have enough money to pay bills, and then pay your bills on time, (whether through an online bill pay service or automatic withdrawal), you could literally save hundreds of dollars a month – potentially thousands a year.
What long standing bills could you have already paid off with just the total of those late fees?
Review your credit card statement and look for spending areas you can cut back. Are you paying a $9 – 15 every month for some credit card or cell phone protection insurance plan, travel service, entertainment program, online diet membership, or other online subscription service you don’t need, no longer use or forgot you even had?
Are you paying a membership for a gym or other organization you are no longer participating in? Cancel these programs and redirect that $15 – $60 to your savings or a mutual fund dollar cost averaging program. Have something to show for your money 3 years from now.
Have you wanted to donate to your favorite cause on a monthly basis, but couldn’t find the money? Wouldn’t a monthly donation be more satisfying to you than the money being wasted each month for an expense you don’t even use?
5. Use Cash
It doesn’t take long to see how fast the money slips away when you shift over to straight cash. One woman looked at her high credit card balances and decided to start using cash and go on a credit card fast. After just a few days of this new routine she was shocked to see how fast $100 of cash slipped through her fingers every other day! With that one small behavioral change, she started becoming more in touch with her spending and her money.
Along these same lines, people have found some revealing insights when they started actually tracking their spending on a daily basis. Readers who have used my Budget Kit workbook and free app on the website www.moneytracker.com for tracking their daily spending were delighted to realize they were spending less and saving more, without any noticeable difference in their lifestyle.
Wouldn’t you like the satisfied feeling of spending less and saving more and having financial peace of mind?
Now take a look at your own spending on the small stuff. How many areas can you identify where you see small amounts of cash just trickling away? How much could you save each month by just making a few behavioral adjustments with your spending and your thinking?
How would your life be different if you stopped thinking “It’s Only”, DID sweat the small stuff and actually had extra cash in your budget?
Judy Lawrence is a Budget Coach and Counselor in Albuquerque, NM. Her best-selling book, The Budget Kit: Common Cents Money Management 5th Edition, sold over 450,000 copies. If you would like a 30-minute free phone consultation, sign up for the free e-course, or just find out more about her services, and books, you can reach her at www.moneytracker.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget to tune in to Jackie’s interview with Judy Lawrence on www.W4WN.com , the replay will be aired on July 4th at 10:00 PDT/1:00 EDT.
We’d love to hear your comments, a-ha’s or how being conscious of the little things have saved you money ….. leave your comments below!