Extravagant Extras. Do you really need them?2007 Jetta
HBO, AT&T, AOL.
Surprise! 58 channels, a dial tone and instant messenger are no longer free. Basic cable can run you $40 a month; the cost of just to have a cell phone is about $40 a month; and internet can range anywhere from $10 (crawling dial-up) to $40 (so-so broadband) a month. Some good advice, get an antenna, rely on your landline and check e-mail at your workplace during your lunch break.
Dining out is a common budget buster. Lunch should always be bagged, especially if you are really trying to save. Dinner out on the town should be reserved for special occasions or a once a week treat. If you must eat out, and have the choice between lunch and dinner, go with lunch. Dinner at a sit down restaurant can run you $15 to $25, almost double what you would normally spend on a light lunch. And as you know, pizza, burgers, and Friday night take-outs do add up.
New set of wheels.
Do you really need a brand new
? Are heated leather seats
, a moon roof
, 6-CD changer
, rear spoiler
really necessary? The average cost of a brand new car is about $20,000. Even if you put $5,000 down, that still leaves you with $13,000 to pay, usually over a 36 to 60 month period, plus interest. That's guaranteeing you at least a $200 to $350 payment a month! And a new car means a bigger bulkier insurance bill, especially if you live in New York
Credit card debt is an extra that you really
want to avoid. It is easy to charge everything, get the bill, see a huge total, and only pay the $20 minimum payment. But interest will follow you! Down the road, a $20 sweater
could cost you upwards of $50, depending on how long it takes you to pay off your bill. Solid advice: choose paper of plastic every time.
If you are an "image is everything"
kind of thinker, get ready to spend a lot of unnecessary money. Shop for clothes at your favorite stores
off season for the best deals (that means "sale"
); even better, check out high-quality consignment shops or stores such as Marshall's
or TJ Maxx
for name brands at half the price. Furniture
is another big buck eater. Spruce up a flea market find or hunt for a sofa at Goodwill
. Chances are your tastes will change, so why drop hundreds or thousands on trendy finds that you'll only junk when you buy a house? Only buy what you love or need.