Imagine buying something and still owing for it six months later. That’s not so bad, right?! While the media is making a big deal about President Obama’s reelection campaign owing more than $3 million, Hilary Clinton just paid off her debts from 2008 according to reports! What’s worse than spending more than $25 million in a losing effort to Obama? According to the Federal Election Commission records, Clinton borrowed nearly $13 million from her own accounts! As we read about politicians and others, we should reflect on our lifestyles.
Most of us don’t lose millions from our personal accounts, but many of us are wasting a lot of money! We could do a better job of protecting the money that is available to us. First, I must distinguish between losing and wasting money. Losing money is when your good intentions (i.e. on an election, a business, etc.) do not work out. You realize those financial decisions are not working, cut your losses, and move on. Wasting money is when you know that you have lost money, continue to lose money, and refuse to make the necessary changes!
What are you wasting money on? There are several ways to determine waste. If you have not used the items within one year of purchase, they are often considered wastes. If most of the items you are buying depreciate (lose value), you need to look at that. According to a company that monitors black consumer spending, Target Market, a large amount of blacks’ income is spent on the following depreciable products: clothes, furniture for rental properties, and electronics. Here are some other ridiculous ways to waste your money:
- Owning a second car: Some parents have two autos while children are in the home, but no longer need two vehicles as empty nesters. As a commuter, I owned a second car to save gas mileage. I wasted money on it after I was no longer commuting. I am grateful that I decided to sell it and “stop eating money!”
- Paying unnecessary fees: From ATM fees to late fees on bills, poor planning is usually the culprit. I have become more responsible with maturity. I would always say that I knew better; however, knowing is doing! Sometimes, people are unaware of hidden fees. Pay close attention to bank cards, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, etc.
- Dining out: Many people don’t like to (or have time to) cook any more, and you can tell by the length of the lines at restaurants. This is one of my habits that I am working on because I have read too many reports about how unhealthy the food (preparation, etc.) is for consumers.
Challenge: Determine three ways that you are wasting money and share your strategy to stop wasting it.