Hi everyone! I’m Kara, the newest staff writer for RDS. I’ve written for RDS once before on paying off debt while making peanuts, but I’m excited to be writing for y’all more often!You know, I fancy myself a sort of frugal wizard. With just a wave of my wand, I can spot a good deal from a mile away and I can entertain myself for free, no problem. I love free, I love frugal, and I laugh in the face of overpriced things. Even for a frugal wizard like me though, there can be financial drains lurking in your life.
Things slip by unnoticed or prices increase with no notice. Costs can sneak up on you and when they linger you end up spending big bucks for no reason.
My answer to financial drains is ‘thanks but no thanks.’ Just like people who come to sell me things at my home. I see what you’re about, but it’s not for me. If you can identify a drain and how it affects your finances, you can totally eliminate it! Here are some common drains I find in my own life.
Don’t get me wrong- I think everyone deserves a good indulgence once in awhile. We all need something to help us through a rough day or a reward for our progress sometimes. I just feel strongly that those indulgences don’t need to be the latest and most expensive gadget or a new outfit.
Instead of getting a dinner out or a new item of clothing after a hard day at work, you can re-watch your favorite movie at home with a beer or a glass of wine. Sometimes simple is the most soothing- a cup of hot chocolate with your favorite tunes and some alone time will be restorative and save you some money.
Redefine luxury for yourself. Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t a sustainable or fulfilling lifestyle. Exercise a stressful day away or treat yourself to a nights with friends at your house. Bust out old video or board games and have some good old fashion-and free-fun!
I think a routine can be make or break for your finances. A lot of our spending is just habit- the name brand groceries because that’s what you’ve always done or hitting up the same stores at the mall because they’re familiar. Breaking your spending routine is an easy and quick way to save some money and avoid financial drains. Challenge your habits! Mix it up by shopping at a thrift store next time you need a new top or swapping name brand for store brand at the grocery store.
If your routine is to walk to work, bring your lunch and use Netflix instead of cable, your routine is pretty frugal! Those habits are saving you money. If you want to kick it up a notch and challenge your frugal habits, try cutting your own hair or going a week without buying anything. Just a few days of zero spending adds up to real money.
Interest and Fees
If you have any sort of debt- student loans, credit cards, car loans- you’re losing money to interest. The amount will vary according to your rates. Things like student loans tend to have smaller interest rates than credit cards, but wither way, interest is a drain on your finances. If you have any debt, sit down and see how you can increase your monthly payments to get out of it faster.
The same applies for any fee you may be paying. Things like overdraft fees at banks or late fees really add up. Annual fees on things like credit cards are also money down the drain. Switch to a credit card with no annual fee and if you see a fee on a bank statement, call your bank and see if you can have it removed. Maintain a certain balance (whatever your bank requires) to avoid future fees.
What do you think of as a financial drain? How are some ways you avoid them?