This is a photo of a black hole in the Milky Way. Black holes are not only in a galaxy far, far away, they are in your budget.
We all have black holes, they are places where our money disappears without our knowing. We do actually know that we are spending but since it is in such small increments, we dismiss it. Pennies add up to quickly, for example a weekly Grazia magazine costs £1.95 ($3.12) and add a Starbucks coffee for £2.50 ($4), you are at £4.45, not too bad you say, but then multiply it by four times a month and you get £17.8o. Still not too bad, you say again, it is still in the realm of pocket change, now multiply it by say 50 weeks at year – you get the grand total of £890 – ouch! That is a lot of money spent on coffee and a weekly fashion mag.
Black holes do not only belong to the female gender, actually mens’ black holes are usually even more expensive. A few of the black holes that men have are: buying rounds at the pub, comics, video games, cds and the black hole that belongs to my beloved is second hand books.
Now that we know what budgetary black holes are, we have the problem of identifying our own. I used to carry a little notebook and write everything, I mean everything down but then you have the task of analyzing your spending so I have now abandoned my notebook and got the iXpenseIt app. I love this app! You can put in your own sub catagories, I have put one in for cat expenses and one for wine (one of my black holes) then at the end of the month you can email yourself a report. Watch all the black holes pop up.
You must be serious about logging in your purchases or it won’t work and the money will continue to fly out of your pocket. There is another side effect of logging your expenses, you think a bit more before you spend so perhaps that coffee doesn’t look as appealing. After I put in the wine category, I was shocked and a bit afraid about how much I was spending so having that glass of wine with dinner was not as attractive.
After you identify your black holes, then you can figure out how to fill them without making too large a sacrifice. If you love your magazines get a subscription, which is about a third of the price and you get it before the newsstand. If you can’t survive without walking around with a cup of coffee in your hand buy a thermal cup and make your coffee at home.
Do you know where your money is actually going? I have stopped impulse buying magazines, if I want one I put it in the budget, I also bring my coffee to work in a thermal cup which makes my journey to work a bit better. The other costly expense I have curtailed is buying lunch at work, I am now bringing my lunch and saving my money to have a more fulfilling meal out like brunch with friends or dinner with my beloved. That beats a Pret sandwich any day.
What are your black holes and how are you planning to fill them? Drop me a comment.