In a recent article, financial guru Dave Ramsey identified the Top 10 things Americans wasted money on in 2015. His list includes: student loans, Ziosk tablets at restaurants, gym memberships, daily coffee trips, car payments, car leasing, car wash upgrades, name-brand household paper products, timeshares and shipping charges.
While this is his personal perspective, assessing our own personal money wasters over the year is a worthwhile activity. Here’s how to do it.
*Get out receipts or go online to your bank account (or bank statements if you have them) and start adding up expenses in specific categories such as clothing, food, entertainment, gas, etc.
*Total each category for the entire year. This will take some time if you have not been tracking through the year, but it is critical if you want to change the way you handle money.
*This last part is the most useful, and that is to ask yourself some key questions to identify money wasters:
1) Did we need to spend this much?
2) What traps did we fall into?
3) Did we get into loans that, with some planning, we could have saved for to avoid the interest costs? Could we have put more money down or found a better interest rate? (Or avoided a loan altogether?)
4) Did we enter into contracts for products or services that we didn’t realistically think through? (The long-term implications can get us in trouble.)
5) Do we currently have little habits that add up to a considerable dollar amount when multiplied by the frequency?
6) Are we guilty of the “I earned it, I deserve it” mentality?
7) Is the price of convenience being forgotten in our budget and dollar equations?
It can be helpful to assess where we are financially, based on current habits we may
have gotten into, then determine if there are better ways our resources could be spent
in the coming year. Ramsey’s list provides us some great things to consider for our
own budget as well as a path to step down some of our own expenses.
By: Teresa Hunsaker, Utah State University Extension educator, email@example.com, 801-399-8200
Ask an Expert: Safety First During Holiday Season
The holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's important to keep safety in mind so you can avoid accidents and injuries.Read More
Ask an Expert: Five Tips for Food Safety at Holiday Buffets
The aromas of holiday foods often bring to mind the sweet memories of years past. Whether a large family gathering, office party or pot luck, the holidays are filled with traditional foods that bring people together. On the other hand, there may be in your memory a time where the result of such a gathering left you nauseous, vomiting or worse because of an episode of food-borne illness.Read More
USU Extension Partnership Builds Healthy Communities
Utah State University Extension was recently chosen as one of five Extension programs to lead the rest of the country in a new community health initiative. The National 4-H Council partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with a goal to improve the health of 1,000 communities across the nation over the next 10 years.Read More