Bing Crosby said, “Spend wisely and it will be like pennies from heaven.” Bing had it right. Budget with care. We passed on the convertible we really wanted and bought the mid-priced coupe instead. We’re afloat… but something still doesn’t feel right from a fiduciary standpoint. We should be able to save and invest more of what we make, but there are a number of things that sabotage budgets.
The TV/Internet/Phone Triad of Doom: That beautiful flat-screen is a sight to behold, isn’t it? Sixty inches of plasma joyfulness! And look at what you can watch on it! Did you know that besides Fox there is FX and FXX? Where will the Xs end? I have a zillion channels. I regularly watch about 12 of them. As for the internet, it is life blood for a lot of us. But the difference between “Business Class” and regular high-speed internet is $50.00 a month.
Will you really notice the difference? Be honest with me. Are you playing World of Warcraft with the neighbor kids again? Then there is your phone. It’s a Smartphone! Of course it is. It’s like a little computer right in your hand. You go from your computer at home to your computer at work to the Wi-Fi at Starbucks. Do you really have to check your Facebook in the car on the way between? Seek help. You can find it on your Smartphone.
Not Learning From the Past: At the end of last year I was caught by surprise. December rolled around and darned if there weren’t some folks around who thought that they should get presents. Too many times we forget that holidays, vacations and birthdays are something that should be a line item in the budget every month. That way “Ho Ho Ho” doesn’t become “No No No” in December.
Account Maintenance Fees: You have to watch these like a hawk. A card or account that was free at one time may have a “maintenance fee” now. What does that even mean? Is there someone really sitting in an office all day watching to see if you use your credit card at Dunkin’ Donuts? Tell him to get a job that benefits society! There are plenty of free accounts and cards (even prepaid cards) out there, but you may not have one in your wallet.
None of these things, individually, will bust the budget. But together (along with an addiction to $5.00 coffee) they might be where the money is going. A quick glance at these categories may make all the difference to get control of the things that sabotage budgets before they do.