Need to connect the planning dots about debt when you’re in front of clients? Use this.
Looking to save a little money? Here are some easy-to-overlook items that can blow your household budget. Thinking about how to save on these can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Lunch (or coffee) at work—By themselves, neither a sandwich nor a latte is going to break the bank. But think of how many days you’re at work during the year. Now, multiply that by $5-to-$10, and you’ll get a good idea how quickly things add up.
Routine healthcare expenses—A particular issue for the elderly and for families with young children. Over the course of a year, one or two illnesses with accompanying prescriptions (or over-the-counter medicine) can really add up.
Clothes—For professionals and executives who need to update their business wardrobes on a regular basis, this is a significant expense. Ditto for those with young children growing like weeds.
Full automobile expenses—Many people know how much they spend on their car loans, their auto insurance, and gas. But what about parking? Tolls? Car washes? Routine maintenance (oil changes, new tires, etc.)?
Pets—Yes, they’re lovable. But the food, vet bills, and kennel costs can make them expensive too.
Gifts—If you’re like most families, you’ve probably set yourself a budget for end-of-year holiday gifts. But how much do you spend on birthdays? Anniversaries? Weddings? This is an especially important question for those with larger families.
Kids’ sports and educational programs—Hockey, soccer, swimming, piano lessons, school field trips and other educational programs—sure, there’s a tax break for some of it, but taken together it can all get expensive.
Eating out—Everyone deserves a night off from kitchen duty once in awhile. But for many double-income families who are too tired to cook, or single people used to going out with friends, these costs can be substantial.
The family cottage—First there’s the mortgage, the property tax, the repairs and maintenance, as well as insurance and utilities. Then there’s the cost of stocking the cottage with furniture, dishes, bedding and linens. After that, there are often hefty entertainment expenses that even the most expert accountant would be hard-pressed to keep track of.
Charitable donations—As noble as it is, a charitable gift is still a financial transaction. While many people gather receipts for large donations, they somehow don’t feel the need to track small, one-time donations throughout the year.
“Sin” costs—Beer, wine and cigarettes are almost never correctly accounted for and often severely underestimated. Perhaps it’s psychological—we simply don’t want to admit we spend that much money on things that aren’t necessarily good for us.