Budget Basics: 5 Expenses That Can Add Up Quickly

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scaredykat/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scaredykat/

We are all guilty of rationalizing our spending. It’s easy to excuse cheap purchases because they usually don’t destroy our budget, and often, they bring us happiness. However, we don’t consider how much these inexpensive items cost over time. For example, if we buy one doughnut per week for $1, that’s $52 per year on doughnuts (not to mention that most of us pick up a coffee with that doughnut, and then our bill often doubles or triples.)

With such a small expense, it might not matter. But when the expense goes up even a little or you incur it more often, the overall cost can jump quickly. We get in a habit of paying for inexpensive items that we enjoy, and suddenly we often stop paying attention to their cost. In addition to the small expenses, we often pay bigger bills that could be avoided completely. Here are five common money-suckers that you may not be being attention to.

1. Eating Out too Frequently

With an annual sale revenue of $32 billion, pizza is clearly a popular food. With over 70,000 pizzerias to choose from, you will rarely be at a loss for how to find a place to get a tasty slice. Since 93 percent of Americans eat at least one pizza per month, chances are, if you’re reading this, you do too. If you spend $20 once a month on pizza, that would cost you $240 per year. This habit becomes more expensive when you factor in the fact that many families eat pizza weekly because it is an easy, and for most people, an enjoyable way to get dinner quickly.

You can lower your overall bill significantly by purchasing frozen or uncooked (but already prepared) pizzas at the store, but if you are stuck on restaurant pizza, you can save money by at least picking it up yourself instead of ordering it or eating at the restaurant. In general, by avoiding eating in restaurants for dinner in general, you will save a lot of money. Currently 66 percent of the workforce purchases their lunch out, and you can easily save additional money by packing a lunch as well.