Friday, October 17, 2008

Little things Add Up

Brenda Procter, MS; Sandra McKinnon, MS[i], and Robert O. Weagley, Ph.D., CFP®

People have different priorities, and no one can make decisions for you and your family better than you. In today’s economic environment, working hard to maintain your income is extremely important. At the same time, the significance of a liquid emergency fund and increased savings are also rising in the consciousness of the American public. So, if you are trying to save money, there is a very good chance that you can find a way – if you start by little steps each day, often from changing your habits.

Every time you spend money on one thing, you make a choice to not spend it on some other service/good or, worse yet, to not save it. Only you can decide whether what you desire to buy is worth what you are giving up. The trick is to make sure you ask yourself the question, “Is there anything else that I need/want more than name of your desired item.” Then, if there is something you want/need more, do not buy that consumer good. Make sure you consider the tradeoffs before you spend.

Changes in spending can free up money for things you need, money for paying bills or saving for your future. Small changes may make more difference than you think. Below are some small purchases that many people make that add up over time. Think about the small purchases you make. Be certain that they are worth it to you! (Remember last week’s Financial Tip and how we have to make ourselves “walk a new path” in order for “grass to grow over the old path”. Only by making a conscious decision to change paths can we lead ourselves to our goals for Financial Success.)

Movie & Video Game Rentals: Savings Over One Year
Rent 3 movies each week @ $4.00 each = $624
Rent 1 movie each week @ $4.00 each = $208
Rent 1 video game each week @ 5.00 each = $260
Video game late fee each week @ $5.00 each = $260

Soda, Cigarettes, & Candy:
One can soda per day from vending machine @ $1.25 each = $456
One can 1-liter soda or water per day @ $1.50 each = $548
One large candy bar per day @ $.95 each = $347
One large candy bar & soda/water per day @ $2.20 for both = $803
Cigarettes @ $2.60 per pack, 3 packs a week = $406
One Grande Coffee at Starbuck $1.88 / cup, 5 days a week = $489

Eating Out:
One meal per day @ $5.00 each = $1,825

Lottery Tickets:
One Instant per day @ $1.00 each = $365
One Instant per day @ $2.00 each = $730
One Instant per day @ $5.00 each = $1,825

Reading Material:
2 paperback books per month @ $7.00 each = $168
1 magazine per week @ $4.00 each = $208
One tabloid per week @ $1.60 each = $83

Cable Television Extras:
One Premium Movie Channel per month @ $10.00 each = $120
One Pay-Per-View per week @ $4.00 each = $208

Personal Care Extras:
One tanning bed visit per month @ $10.00 each = $120
One manicure 2 times per month @ $15.00 each = $360

- Robert O. Weagley, Ph.D., CFP(r)
Chair, Personal Financial Planning
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

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