Tips to Plug Financial Leaks

Planning & Saving
on February 4, 2001

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

These words from Benjamin Franklin are still worthy of note today because the little things do add up almost before you know it.

The little expenses you shell out every day, soft drinks and snacks from the vending machine, the $4 fast-food lunch several times each week, paying fees for late bills, going to movies at night instead of catching a matinee, paying late charges on overdue videos eat away at what could be hundreds of dollars in your account, a nice vacation, or much-needed household items.

Try keeping this money where it belongs with you by developing a mindset of not spending. Think every purchase through, evaluate it, multiply it. That 55-cent soft drink you buy every day from the vending machine adds up to $137.50 a year. Why not buy a 12-pack of your favorite soft drink on sale at the grocery store and take one to work with you each day?

Try planning home meals so there are leftovers for lunch several days a week. Order water with your meals when you eat out, saving around $1.25 per person. Park farther from your destination. It may be cheaper, or even free, and the exercise will do you good.

Grocery stores are among the most tempting places to spend, with impulse buys at every turn. Stick to your list. One supermarket survey says shoppers spend more than $2 a minute after they have picked up everything they planned to buy.

Think about each purchase in terms of annual dollars, and you may talk yourself out of lots of things. Its much easier to resist buying a $3 bag of cookies when you figure that if you gave in to one impulse like that every week, it would add up to $156 a year.

Add that $156 to the money saved by all those other little financial leaks you’ve plugged, and you can start enjoying what you have earned.

As Benjamin Franklin also said, Before you consult your fancy, consult your purse.

This article was originally published as Tips to Plug Financial Leaks on

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