With the start of the New Year comes the popular tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions. Popular resolutions include eating healthier and getting more exercise, but how about financially related ones?
Last semester I would go to the bagel shop on campus and get a smoothie or bagel, sometimes both. And while I was waiting for my order, I would make excuses for myself as to why it was ok that I was spending money I knew could have gone to better use. I didn’t realize how much I was spending on those seemingly simple “treats” for myself until I looked over my portfolio while do my online banking.
It turns out that in one month’s time period I had spent just over 18 percent of my money on dining out. I thought to myself that this information couldn’t be true, but while going through my bank statements I added it all up and I was spending an extra five to ten dollars per week on a simple bagel and smoothie!
So one of my top priority New Year’s Resolution is to diligently watch my finances, and not for a week or month, but to really stick with it all year long. If I avoid the bagel shop, at the end of the year I could have an extra $520 in my pocket to use towards groceries, school expenses or just to put towards building my savings account.
I feel that as consumers, we automatically think that when we get some extra money in our pockets that we need to go out and spend it immediately.
It’s not that treating ourselves is necessarily a bad thing; however, we need to bring back the concept of paying ourselves first. Instead of taking a trip to the bagel shop, maybe sit down and look over your savings account first. Is the amount really where you want it to be? And don’t forget to include your spouse in these evaluations as well.
In the end, keeping track of your bank summaries and seeing what can be cut out over the months could just end up being a winter bonus from yourself at the end of the year.
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