Month: June 2022

Sneaky Spending Habits that Hurt Your Finances

According to a study by the US Census Bureau released last month, the U.S. median household net worth declined by 35 percent between 2017 and 2022, from $102,844 to $66,740.

It’s a sobering statistic, to say the least.

Likewise, poverty levels are feeling the greatest pinch. There were roughly 46.2 million in poverty last year, the fourth consecutive annual increase and the biggest estimate in 52 years. And just because the Americans who aren’t at poverty level are managing to stay afloat, doesn’t mean they’re not in danger. According to a report from the American Bankruptcy Institute and Epiq Systems Inc., the first half of 2022 saw 630,130 new filings for Chapter’s 7 and 13.

While many Americans are looking towards their cars, mortgages and college debt as the culprits, for those living paycheck-to-paycheck, the answer might be simpler than you’d expect.

From steak dinners to laptops, from organic produce to tobacco cravings, Americans are pulling out their wallets without hesitation. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the total U.S. consumer spending increased by 0.8 percent in February of this year, all while their savings are suffering.

So before you resort to turning off the A/C this summer and using in a good garden hose to spray down your kids all day, consider looking elsewhere in your sneaky little stockpile of spending habits.
Bring on the Booze

Americans have a love affair with our booze buzz, and the statistics show it.

According to LVS Money, Americans spend about one percent of their annual income on their Buds, Pinots, and Jack Daniels. So for an average income of 50,000 a year, that percentage would translate to about 400 in cash. Sounds harmless enough, but when you factor in how much of that liquor is sipped in restaurants and bars at sky-high prices, and you’ve got yourself a hefty expense.

Americans are downing drinks at the same rate as always, but the locations have shifted. Alcohol prices in restaurants and bars have increased 79 percent between 1982 and 2021, while the cost of alcohol in scores has decreased 39 percent, a study by NPR stated.

Sobered up, yet? Considering you might be paying upwards of nine bucks plus tip for a margarita at your favorite Mexican restaurant, try stocking up on your own supplies to make an even stronger one at home for half the price. You’ll not only save money, but avoid the temptation of browsing the food menu while you’re there.
A Little Morning Pick-Me-Up

For many, the day doesn’t begin until the first cup of Joe. Craving your morning cup of coffee is as routine as brushing your teeth.

But look out –that vente Starbucks cappuccino addiction is adding up.

According to a study by the finance recruiting firm, 50 percent of the American workforce spends an average of $1000 a year on daily coffee, with men and younger professions forking over even more to the barista each morning.

Beat the frustrating coffee shop lines, and the temptation for those little confectionary treats, and invest in a coffee maker at home. Find out what makes your favorite S-Bucks drink so tasty and consider buying the ingredients yourself. According to Investopedia, it would take two and a half homemade espressos combined to equal the price of a café coffee.
Lighting Up

Whether you’re looking to quit, can’t kick the habit or are comfortable with your smoking addiction, tobacco is likely chewing a significant chunk of your paycheck.

According to BIN Daily Finance, in the past 10 years, 47 states and the District of Columbia have imposed 105 cigarette tax increases on smokers. As it stands, states currently charges each pack an average of $1.47 on taxes, shooting the average box of smokes up to about $5.58.

While it varies across individual smokers, having a pack a day can pile up. The American Cancer Society offers an excellent calculator that smokers can use to tally up their annual cigarette addiction.

If you’re looking to quit but still want to feed your nicotine addiction, consider opting for an electronic cigarette. The tiny cigarette look-alikes cost as much as a normal pack, but come in a rechargeable package, equivalent to about 200 smokes of nicotine.

Midday Office Feasting

As the clock slowly ticks to the lunch hour at work, somehow that PB and J seems far less appetizing than this morning when you packed it. Insert a few cajoling coworkers with that new bistro down the street, and your sloppy sandwich is on the fast track to the trash can.

American workers love their lunches, and their spending habits are proof. According to a study by the United State Department of Agriculture, the second most common place people spend money on food, besides the home, is during the workday. But while employees are trading their granola bars for garden salads, their piggy banks are feeling far less full than our stomachs.

In the same study by Accounting Principles, two-thirds surveyed said they bought their lunch each day rather than buying their own, averaging about $2,000 a year worth of cuisine outside office doors.

Not only can eating out inflate your spending, but it can inflate your waistline too. Although it may not be the tastiest alternative, packing a lunch can save you hundreds of calories each day, and hundreds of dollars a year.
Watch Every Penny

We all have our spending culprits. For one individual, it might be eating out at work. For another, repeated bar-hopping could be the cause.

No matter where the blame lies, the most crucial aspect of savings is consistent tracking of spending. Knowing where your dollars are being allocated too, accompanied with an honest assessment of your pesky little habits and costly cravings, can end up saving any American a fortune over a lifetime.…

Consumers Already Shopping For The Holiday Season

Christmas may seem like it’s in the distant future. However, a recent survey finds that many consumers are already shopping for gifts to give friends, family and loved ones. However, it’s important to remember that using a payday loan advance should only be for financial emergencies and isn’t an excuse to go on a shopping spree.

At the beginning of July, nearly 13 percent of American adults said they have started shopping for the 2022 holiday season, according to a survey conducted by Meanwhile, 17 percent of consumers say they plan to capitalize on “Christmas in July” sales to get some of their shopping out of the way.

Specifically, 4 percent of those consumers revealed that they were completely done with their holiday shopping, while 15 percent claimed they were nearly there, the report said. Meanwhile, 36 percent said they have some items, while 45 percent have one of two gifts.

Families with children under the age of six were more likely to shop for gifts sooner rather than later. Nearly 25 percent of respondents with kids in this age group say they already have items, while 36 percent revealed they plan to take advantage of the summer sales that are often prominent in July.

However, just because some consumers are capitalizing of savings this month, doesn’t mean they all are. Instead, 36 percent of respondents said they will start shopping one to three months prior to the holiday season, while 21 percent said they will hit the checkout lines in the last few weeks prior.

If you’re planning to pick up a few holiday gifts early this year, or just need to go shopping for some necessary items, there are a number of ways to save regardless of sales.

Try To Avoid Convenience

Buying something just because it’s convenient and disregarding the price is a good way to waste money.

For example, if you need to buy a new funnel, think outside the box and try to search in different departments of a store, Julius E. Webster wrote in a column for the Christian Science Monitor. Rather than going straight to the kitchenware section, go to the automotive department. You may be able to find a similar product at a lower price.

Additionally, rather than making impulse purchases in the checkout line, head to the aisles where you can find similar products in bulk. A multipack of gum or breath mints may have a higher price tag, but some simple math will show you that what you’re getting may be worth the extra few dollars.

Further, don’t go to the nearest store in your area if you know you can find the same products a little bit further away at a lower price. Talking yourself out of a few extra miles in the car might be a costly decision.

Ask For Clearance

If you’re browsing through a store and come across a product you need, but it’s slightly damaged, you might be able to get it at a lower price. A small tear in the packaging or a dent in a can could qualify.

Further, while shopping for clothing, if a product is missing a button or has a small tear, you could get it for a bargain and repair it yourself. Learning how to sew on a button or stitch an inseam could help you save a significant amount of money.…

Evaluating The Cost Of Utilities And How To Save

The average cost of utility bills is expected to rise in the coming years. This could make it difficult for some households to make necessary expenses, and may cause a spike in the use of cash loans to cover them. According to William P. Elder, the average national cost of utilities in May was $247.26 per household. This included costs for electricity, phone, television, internet and gas, and was a slight increase from the a month earlier, when average expenses totaled $245.59.

Individually, the average cost for electricity was $96.55 per month, while phone service ran the average household close to $35, according to the index. Meanwhile, families spent close to $55 a month to watch television and $38 to surf the net. In contrast, gas was the most affordable monthly expense at $23.

Paying bills is never very fun, but finding ways to save can be. Over the course of a year, these expenses cost households thousands of dollars, so finding savings and discounts wherever you can could be very beneficial.

Examine Your Cell Phone Plan
Although just about everybody has a cell phone nowadays, that doesn’t mean providers are making rates more affordable. Rather than overspend on your monthly bill, you should examine how many minutes, texts and data you actually use, recommends the website. If you have an unlimited plan, but your usage habits will allow you to use a cheaper plan with limits, it could be beneficial to change.

Program Your Air Conditioner Unit
During the summer months, the cost to keep your home cool with an AC can quickly add up, says Yahoo Finance. Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.

With a programmable thermostat you can ensure you AC isn’t running at times of the day you aren’t home. There are few things worse than coming home after a day at the office and realizing you left your AC on all day, wasting money.

Rethink Your Cable
Introductory bundles from cable companies are often very affordable, but these rates are often limited and can increase significantly after 12 months. See if you can get a better deal with another company. If you contact your provider, tell them you are unhappy with your rate and threaten to leave, they may give you a better deal.…

States With The Most Expensive Cost Of Living


Based on the most costly metro areas in the country, the Golden State is currently the fifth-most expensive in the country, according to an annual study conducted by CNBC. It was found that the average home price this year, based on data for San Francisco, is just under $800,000, with average monthly rent at $2,524. In addition, the average gallon of regular gas is a whopping $3.74.

Meanwhile, housing isn’t the only thing that’s expensive in California. Entertainment can also cost residents a pretty penny. Specifically, the average T-bone steak is $10.25 and a movie tickets will run you just under $11.

New York

New York is another state that has a very high cost of living. Based on Manhattan numbers, the average home price is roughly $1.2 million. In addition, the average renter in the city is looking at a cost of $3,378 per month.

Not only is the Big Apple home to some of the most expensive car insurance rates in the country, but the average gallon of gas costs $3.88. Based on these averages, it would be very easy for the everyday American to fall behind on their monthly expenses.


However, expenses in these two cities are minimal compared to the cost of living in Honolulu, which was named most expensive in the country. The average price of a house in the Aloha State at the beginning of 2012 was $659,530, with rent topping $2,600.

Meanwhile, consumers in Hawaii have to pay much higher prices for goods and services since they are so expensive to transport into the state. As a result, the average cost for a gallon of gas is just under $4.

Creating A Household Budget

No matter where you live, you will undoubtedly need to have a sound spending and saving plan to stay on your financial feet. While this is sometimes easier said than done, there are a number of ways to get the ball rolling.

You may think you know exactly how much money you make every year, but when you consider state and federal taxes as well as Social Security payments and Medicare withholding, this can quickly take a chunk out of your income. In addition, depending on your personal situation, account for other expenses, such as alimony or child support.

Once you determine how much money you actually put in the bank at the end of every month, this will be the foundation on which you start to construct your household budget.

Keep Track Of Spending

The best way to determine where to properly allocate funds is to figure out where your money is already going. Try to keep track of your spending for at least two months to get an idea.

As a rule of thumb, you should spend no more than 30 percent of your monthly income on housing and between 15 and 20 percent on food. In addition, if you have credit card debt, car payments or student loans, allocate an additional 15 to 20 percent of your income to pay these off.…