Do you make enough money to cover your mortgage or rent, groceries, transportation, and other essential expenses, but find yourself on a treadmill of not being able to save?
Many people are, and you’re not alone. Money is only as taboo as the person who is holding back from talking about it dictates, and because I have no fear when it comes to bringing finances up, people with whom I speak about money tend to be more open.
As a result, I’ve collected a lot of observer data when it comes to common financial struggles.
Typically, the reason behind why people struggle financially despite having good jobs and a decent salary doesn’t come out right away. The pattern seems to be that will have the initial conversation with the person (usually a co-worker, family member, friend, or acquaintance), and then I will see them again shortly thereafter; in one of my meetings with them after, there tends to be something said or done that makes a lightbulb go off in my head about why they may be struggling.
It’s absolutely nuts the amount of people who will complain about having a hard time saving money, who are living hand to mouth, who still eat lunch out every single day at work. Do you have any idea how expensive this is?!
Let’s say you are eating lunch out 4 days out of five per week. At $7 per lunch out, that sets you back by $28.00.
The average cost of a meal is around $3 across North America, meaning that you’d be saving $4.00 per lunch if you just brought something at home (and I’d say that is a pretty elaborate lunch).
$4.00 per lunch x 4 days per week = $16/week. It doesn’t sound like much until you see it add up:
$16/week = about $64/month. If both you and your spouse are eating out every day for lunch, you’re looking at $128/month – on top of your regular grocery bill.
$128 per month amasses, without interest, to $1536 per year.
Think about everything you could use $1536 per year on. And that’s a conservative estimate of $7 per lunch out.
Buying Stuff You Don’t Need or Use
Shopping should not be a pastime; it should be something that you do when you need something. Men are as guilty of this as women are.
How often do you find yourself purging your closets and cleaning out the garage, selling or donating things that you bought on a whim and never really used?
This can also be valid if you are buying things that you thought about long and hard, that you convinced yourself you needed, even though you didn’t.
Remember that humans weren’t always this way. We used to be able to just go shopping when new needed something; every time you go and buy something you won’t use, you’re buying into our consumerism culture. This is a culture where instant gratification is held at a higher importance than stability and financial freedom.
Living Beyond Our Means and Putting Our Lifestyle on Credit
Another huge money suck is when we feel compelled live beyond our means. This can come in a variety of different forms, but something we see time and time again is people who are in debt or having a hard time making ends meet buying brand new, fancy cars, massive houses and high end consumer goods.
There’s no shame in ditching the second car and going down to a one car family to save money, pay back debt, or because you simply can’t afford the extras.
Instead of buying a massive house and filling it with crap, why not live in a smaller, more modest place you can actually afford?
There are a lot of ways that we humans waste money but these are the hugest budget drainers.