How to plug your spending leaks
IT’S the little things that get missed when trying to work out how your money disappears.
Hundreds of dollars can leak from purses and wallets to pay for small regular items, finance specialists say, but there are ways to stop the flow.
It’s now easier to plug money leaks as Australia transforms to a cashless society, with rapid growth of micropayments on credit cards and debit cards leaving a trail of almost all our spending. But tap-and-go can also create more temptation.
Thalia Stanley Group director Marion Mays, below, said common small costs that caught out consumers included lunches, snacks and drinks, memberships and recurring direct debits, magazines and chemist items such as pantyhose or make-up wipes.
“People are often paying double or triple the price. They are time-poor and not organised and buy on the fly,” she said.
“With our clients, part of the discipline we set up is they pop everything on to a credit card.”
Then, once a month, spend a few minutes running through the latest statement, highlighting all small expenses.
Ms Mays said this selfawareness exercise made people realise that $3 here and $5 there could add up to hundreds of dollars a month.
One client discovered they were spending $100 a month on bottled water. Another worked out that every day his lunch, snacks and transport were $50.
“It sounds really simplistic but it’s so powerful. People get it for the first time that $400 a month times 12 months is almost $5000 a year.”
MyBudget director Tammy Barton said cashless payments were easier to track, “but it’s also easier to just spend the money because you are tapping your card and going”.
“Have a look at your overspending triggers – they are different for every person,” she said. “For some people it may be clothes shopping, for others, it’s partying or buying gadgets.
“When people see where they are spending their money, it’s like the clouds have lifted.”