Happy Friday y’all! I was paging through a recent article in Money Magazine yesterday (one of my favorite still-in-print mags, btw), and thought you might find parts of it interesting too. You know, ‘cuz we’re money nerds like that.
The article was on plugging 35 of your “money leaks” this year, an analogy I love to use myself!, but for the most part I didn’t find anything that new (or useful) in there. Unless you happen to spend $400+ a year on dog grooming or have been paying $1,000+ a year on a storage unit you haven’t used in five years (really??). But the parts I DID like in it were the sidebars of different financials factoids scattered among the “tips.” Those always fascinate me way more than your cookie cutter advice anyways.
Here were a handful of them:
- 22% of adults don’t have a good idea how much they spend on housing, food, and entertainment
- $120 – The amount you’d save annually by switching 20 regular light bulbs with Energy Star bulbs
- 73% – The amount of data plan that goes unused by average smartphone owner
- $7 Billion – The amount Americans pay in bank fees every year
- 76% – The percent of supermarket purchasing decisions made in the store
- $800 – How much more people spend online a year who use lots of coupons vs. a few
- 29% of workers don’t take full advantage of their employer’s 401(k) match (!!!)
- 19% of people say they never, or only sometimes, turn off the lights when leaving a room
- $2 Billion – The value of gift cards that went unspent in 2011
Some of these are more scarier than others, eh? Here’s where I fall in the mix:
- Spending ideas: I do have these!! Though I need to revisit everything to see what the updated amounts are now that I’ve been self-employed and brought that baby into the world… Admittedly I haven’t stayed on top of this as much a I should (you’ll see a post on this shortly :)).
- Light bubs: We’ve swapped out a handful of these already, but for some reason they STILL burn out just as fast, if not faster?, than the old school ones? I don’t know if it’s our sockets or the bulbs themselves, but because of this we haven’t been too diligent about upgrading all of them.
- Data plan: I use every last bit of ours – and sometimes over ;)
- Bank fees: I would REALLY like to know where all these people are hiding?? I don’t doubt that we all waste that much in a given year, but I have yet to meet someone who racks a lot up outside your typical mistake here and there… Or maybe I’m just too used to talking with you all who are more savvy than the typical person?
- Supermarket purchases: Haha… oh yeah. I fall for this ALL the time – especially when I’m hungry! ;) Which is a good time for my yearly reminder: DON’T GO GROCERY SHOPPING WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY. Or drunk, for that matter.
- Coupons: Well that’s kinda weird… I always figured you’d save more in the end using coupons than spend more – but maybe those stats are skewed cuz those people just spend more *online* vs *in store* but at the end of the day are still saving more?? Either way I *always* check for online coupons when making purchases just ‘cuz it takes like only a second and has saved me up to $100 at times!! A great return on investment ;)
- 401(k) match: This one always drives me bonkers!!! I can’t for the life of me understand why people would leave all that *free* money just laying on the table like that? Yes you get less in your paycheck every two weeks, but that money usually DOUBLES UP when you’re getting those matches right from the get go! It’s the easiest way to grow your investments for doing nothing other than checking off a box or calling your HR department to up your %. If you’re not maxing out your 401(k) contributions right now, I HIGHLY suggest changing that… Okay, end of rant ;)
- Turning off lights: This one I def. need to work on :( I’m a lot better than I used to be, but now it matters even more since we have multiple levels and a good 10x more lightbulbs to forget having moved from a 1 bedroom to a house. If we leave a light on in the basement, for example, it could stay that way for days until we go back down there!
- Gift cards: Yeah, that’s always a shame… We have a few we still need to spend too – one from 2 years ago even – but it’s more of a “waiting for the right time” to use over forgetting or misplacing it. For example we had a Crate & Barrel card given to us on our wedding over 4 years ago, but since we never shop there OR have one around our area, it took us awhile to use it. But when we did, it was awesome :) In fact, we used it to pay for our own wedding gift to someone else! Haha…You can always Google for sites that will allow you to trade them or cash ’em in too which is pretty cool, as long as you’re willing to make the effort.
So that’s how I roll anyways… Always fun to hear the newest stats out there and then compare ’em to your own doings :) Every now and then you get lucky and stumble across something that gets you to stop and take action too!
Any of these strike a chord with you?
PS: Here’s that article again if you want to check it out: 35 Money Leaks and How to Plug Them
[Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography. Edited by J$]
Featured savings tip
You already know that banks pay $$$ for the privilege of holding your money…it’s called interest. But maybe you didn’t know this: that so-called interest can be as little as .01%. If your cash savings aren’t sitting in a high interest savings account that earns you at least 1%, you’re basically saying “no” to free $$$!
Now, obviously the 1% interest you get with a high interest savings account like the one at Discover bank won’t make you rich, but that extra 1% compounded over 30 years can grow into a *big* pile of cash. And if you wanna hit lofty $$$ goals, you should be looking for every edge possible.
Here’s another way to look at it: if you leave $50,000 in a regular savings account, that’s almost $500 you’re just throwing away, each and every year you don't setup a high yield savings account! Will you do 5-10 minutes of work right now to earn an extra $500/year for years to come?
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