I’ve been trying to budget myself better the last year or so, making sure that I put money away into savings after I pay all my bills and still have a little left over to build up my checking.
Unfortunately, I usually fail – sometimes miserably – at this task. While my bills always get paid and I do manage to increase my savings account month to month by a pre-set figure, my checking is abysmally low month to month and not getting any better.
In my defense, I’m not a spendthrift. Really.
I almost never go out for drinks. When I do go out, I try to order the cheaper yummy stuff on the menu. I rarely buy myself new clothing or shoes despite peer pressure to cave in and get those oh-so-cute stilettos that made my calves look awesome.
Essentially, I say no purchases ALL THE TIME. Yet I’m still managing to blow my budget month after month after month.
After studying my results repeatedly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the little things that getcha. I might think that bringing my own meals to work four out of five days of the work week is acceptable, but that $5-15 I spend the other day adds up to $20-$60 after four weeks.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, admittedly, but when you add it to the rising cost of gas, groceries and life’s other little indulgences, it can all-too easily add up to a pretty penny.
Then again, it’s my life and my money, so I can technically mess it up as much as I want to… even if I come to personally regret it later, usually after every 30-31 days. Congress has no such excuse when it comes to those fun but unnecessary extras.
Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, taxpayers are discovering that we paid close to $2 million on the House of Representatives alone last year. Not on necessities like security, electricity and running water in their respective office buildings but on donuts, bagels, coffee and other snacks.
Two million dollars!
Like my stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on a Friday morning, that might not seem like a lot in the face of the trillions Congress spends every year. But take it from the calculating (though not budgeting) expert… it adds up!
It adds up right alongside the money the IRS is throwing willy-nilly at illegal immigrants, and the budget increases government departments get every year regardless of whether they need it, and the cost of protecting the President when he jets off to Ireland for “official business” (i.e. vacation), and all of the other things that the government does that it doesn’t at all have to do…