Forget Wall Street! The reasons you don't have more money in the bank are closer to home. That's according to financial columnist Jeffrey Strain. He says that the everyday decisions we make are what really impact our bottom line. Here are four ways Strain says we cost ourselves money, courtesy of his website SavingAdvice.com:
- Feeling entitled. The average family pays about $1,200 in credit card interest each year! If you saved that same amount, in a decade with interest you'd be almost $300,000 ahead! So why don't we cut up the plastic? Strain thinks it's our belief that we deserve a certain lifestyle - even if we can't afford it. We need to stop buying what we think we deserve and start buying what we can pay for.
- Being unhappy at work. In a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research, people who were satisfied with their jobs earned 25% more than those who weren't. It's easy - when you like your job, you perform better and that means raises and promotions.
- We buy things we don't need. Research shows that impulse buying stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain, but that momentary boost in mood carries a big price tag. Strain says look around your house. If there are a lot of things you rarely use, it's time for some shopping discipline. How? It can be as easy as putting off purchases for a day. In most cases, you'll decide that the item you had your eye on isn't something you really need.
- Not saving right now. Strain emphasizes that if you wait until you have "extra" money, you'll never get started. So, set up an automatic deduction from your paycheck, and put it in a savings account. After a week or two, you won't even notice the missing cash. An amount as small as $10 a week will be worth about $160,000 in 20 years.It's that simple! Buy less, find a job you enjoy, and start saving. If you do that, it'll be easier to weather anything that happens on Wall Street.