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Why We're Broke Series: It All Adds Up

Please DO feed the pig
Please DO feed the pig
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Over the past few weeks I have presented a "Why We're Broke" series, which featured spending practices that drain your money supply and frugal solutions that add cash to your wallet.

The final installment of this series: "It All Adds Up".

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Take a quarter, any quarter. Now, put it in a box. Tomorrow, add another quarter. Do this for seven days and you have $1.75. Big whoop, right? Now do this for a month and you've saved $7.50, the cost of a lunch. Over a year you save almost $100 - all from one quarter saved each day.

To the average person, this may not be a big deal. So let's up the ante. Think of something you buy every day or fairly often without even thinking: magazines, cigarettes, wine (guilty), lunch at a restaurant, a favorite snack, cigars, makeup. In deeper waters, one might regularly buy video games, electronics, expensive purses, "hobby" supplies, dinners at expensive restaurants...keep going...

Now start adding up what you spend. It's not a quarter anymore. It's dollars and dollars, now hundreds, now thousands.

When you *stop* to think about your expenses, it is an eye opening experience. Your paycheck comes in, you buy stuff, your paycheck goes out. Stopping to think is not in the game plan of life. Why? It ruins the experience, because then you notice, "wow this is costing me a lot of money..."

In the first article of this series Restaurants vs. Eating at Home, I demonstrated how you can save $885.24 each month by simply eating at home a little more. It's so easy just to walk into the restaurant and plunk down the credit card. It's so easy just to walk into Target, Office Max, PetSmart, The Mall, The Hair and Nail Salon, Home Depot and plunk down the credit card. It's so easy. And if you don't keep track, you don't have any idea of how much you're really spending. Your paycheck comes in, you buy stuff, your paycheck goes out.

Just one month, just this month, do keep track. Keep track of every single thing you buy, even a pack of gum. At the end of the month, take a good-long-hard look at what the real numbers are showing. A quarter may not be a big deal (although I love to save $100). Yet $25...still not a big deal? It's just lunch, just a purse, just a video game, so let's do the math:

$25 in one day. Times that by 7: $175. Over the course of a month that equals $750. In a year's time: almost $10,000.

I'd say that's a big deal.

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Sharon L. Cece © 2014. All rights reserved.