ATLANTA - Everyone should budget. Everyone. Whether you make a million dollars or a lot less than that, it's a must-do. But too many people with lower incomes think it's not for them.
Sometimes people living paycheck to paycheck can feel there's nothing to work with. But you have to turn that around. If you're a low-income earner, budgeting is an invaluable tool.
Bankrate, an online financial site that offers money management tools and analysis, breaks down where you can save by pointing out where some of your money is going. To be clear, it's being wasted where all income brackets waste their money - on vices. We're all guilty.
Take a look at this:
- 38 percent of low-income earners spend money eating out at least three times a week.
- 25 percent of your income goes to prepared drinks at least three times a week.
- 10 percent of folks splurge on lottery tickets at least three times a week.
And, hey Gen Xers, you are the biggest vice spenders, not Millennials, not Baby Boomers.
Let's rein in spending and save more. Make coffee at home. That's a no-brainer and easy. Pack your lunch. Seriously. Pack. I've told you this before - my husband and I started packing and we saved - get this - about $400 a month. That's a lot of money. Lottery tickets. We all dream of hitting it big. I'm guilty. I buy them from time to time, too. But, honestly, we won't get rich quick. Here's a better idea: save it. Put it into emergency savings. Still not convinced. Look at this.
According to Bankrate, Gen Xers spend $3,473 a year on vices. If you saved that over 10 years with an eight percent return, that would be more than $50,000 you can add to your savings account or maybe a college fund.
So, that $5 here, $2 there, adds up to a lot of wasteful spending.
Full disclosure: I'm a terrible money manager. I love to spend money. That's why I force myself to budget. If I didn't, I'd be broke.