Even though you have already established a useful budget, you may have lapsed or not realized that there are some Items that Drain Your Budget. These items are things that are common place and easy to fall victim to without realizing how significant they are. This is a reality check to focus yourself back on track for a new quarter.
Things that drain your budget
Lack of weekly menu plan. This may seem like an insignificant thing to most, but what we eat and how we make that choice can really burn into our grocery budgets. If you are not making a plan for what is on your menu, then you are seriously subject to making impulse buys, eating out or making poor financial choices regarding food. One meal out for a family of 4 can cost upwards of $35 at a fast food restaurant. A meal made from scratch at home can cost as little as $5 when planned appropriately.
Cable and satellite television. Both of these are not only great ways to zap your spare time, but your budget. The average family pays anywhere from $50-$150 per month on cable or satellite television. That along with a $45-$50 bill for Internet makes basic entertainment up to $200 a month for only an hour or two a day. Instead of using cable or satellite, choose a once per year fee with Amazon Prime that includes video streaming, or pay monthly for under $15 with HuluPlus or Netflix. Add in almost all major networks allow you to stream their top show episodes directly online for free and you will miss out on very little for a fraction of the cost.
Alcohol. This one may be considered meddling, but it is true that families food budgets include upwards of $100 per month in wine, beer or other alcohol purchases. Cut back to one drink per week, instead of one per night and save thousands per year – literally.
Lack of insurance. This is one that people argue over frequently, but is found to be true. A lack of proper insurance on your vehicle, home or even your health can end up draining your budget in no time at all. With the Affordable Care Act, there are many more options for reasonable insurance available now than a few years ago. While it is still costly, health insurance will ultimately save you money in the long run. The same goes for paying a few dollars more each month for better coverage on your home or vehicle.
If you want true financial freedom, you must look at what priorities are. Items that drain your budget can be negotiated, dealt with and changed easily with a bit of thought and desire. Would you rather have a convenient meal, or the money to get rid of one more credit card this year? If a family spends $35 a week on convenience food, that is $1820 they could have saved to pay off a debt in just one year. True financial freedom comes with being responsible in all areas of your financial life.