Is It The Little Things Or The Big Things That Add Up To Your Money Problems?

I know you have seen personal finance sites all over the internet telling you that in order to make ends meet, you might have to give up that weekly latte you are used to. It is usually the first thing people will say to you when you complain about money troubles, and even though you should give up some things, its not always that easy because you have become accustomed to having them around. So I wanted to take a look at our own life to see what any bigger “extras” add up to, not because we need to get rid of them, but to see how much they add up to every month. These are things we spend money on every month that we could do without but would prefer to keep around:

Netflix – $11.95
Tivo – $12.95
Cable TV – $55.00
Cellphones – $56.00

Total = $135.

Since we are not having money problems, we do not need to get rid of these things, but I can see how having just a few can really add up. $135 can be a full week’s worth (or 2 if you go to farmers markets) of groceries every single month! It can be a car payment on a used car if your car is about to fall apart, it can be used to pay for your child’s after-school activities, it can be put into a savings account to create an emergency fund. Sure, the individual items do not seem to add up to much because you pay them as the bills come in, but when you look at the overall picture, it can really make a dent in your finances. So next time you think you might be in financial trouble, instead of not going out to coffee with a friend in order to save $3.00, take a look at what you use in your household instead. It might not be just the little things that are adding up, there might be something there that can save you way more money than not buying a latte and it continues to save you money month after month.

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Comments (6)

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  1. KMC says:

    I think the ‘latte factor’ is waaaaay overrated.

    A complete look at your income and bills is required to get yourself in order.

    It’s often those little things (in moderation) that can really help make a day enjoyable. It’s akin to a diet. A radical departure from your previous eating style and the replacement of it with an austere grapefruit and bread diet is going to make you hate that diet really quick – even if it produces results.

    It can work the same way in a budget. If it’s all work and no fun, it’s unlikely to stick.

  2. Yuri says:

    You really can manage to live without cell phone these days? I definitely can’t.
    Was surprised to see it on the list of “things we could do without”…

  3. david says:

    Sure…we all did it for most of our lives and I could go back to not having one again. If I am not home, I will call you later! Honestly it does get old being “on call” at all hours…thanks for the comment!

    And KMC – I agree the latte factor is overrated, but for some people it would make a difference. $3.00 a day X 30 days is almost $100 per month. I am not saying that it is the only factor, but people should look at the bigger things before they start getting rid of the luxuries that make their lives bearable!

  4. Hazzard says:

    You really need to call Tivo and tell them that you got a flyer from Comcast (or other cable provider) showing they have their DVR for $9.99. Ask them if they have anything that is less expensive than their current plan. (When you call, choose the cancellation department on their phone menu).

    You should find that they’ll offer to lower your price to $6.95 for life. I did it and have been getting the lower price for over a year now. I did the same with my broadband and got that lowered to $29.99 for another year as well.

  5. david says:

    I will give it a shot Hazzard…our agreement just ended with Tivo so I figured I could not change it when we were still in it, but now its month to month. I will call them this week, thanks!

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