Dollar Saved, Dollar Earned

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I was amazed to read on CNN Money's web site, how much money Americans are wasting on habitual behaviors of choice. I recommend reviewing this list of money savers, to see if you might be able to pocket another few hundred to thousand per year for something really special and meaningful, and for no more than the cost of being aware.

Many Americans can save nearly $500 per year in ATM fees, by using their Bank's ATM instead of the closest machine, or changing banks to one that has the closest ATM machine. Yearly savings - $475.

Too many Americans flush an average of $520 to $1,040 dollars a year down the toilet on lottery tickets. Participants have a higher chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the big one. Yearly savings - $520.

Caffeine drinkers spend an average $385 per year on gourmet coffee. Subtract the price of brewing a fresh pot at home in the morning and taking it along in a thermos, can produce an average saving of $225 per year, just on the coffee. If you drive to coffee fix trough, the savings can be considerably more. Yearly savings - $225.

Cigarettes consume for many as about $280 per month, or $3,360 per year. They could save another 20 to $40 per month on health insurance premiums if they quit. Can't quit? Cut your smoking in half, and you harvest more than $1600 per year in savings. Yearly savings - $3500 per year, plus perhaps an extra couple years of life to enjoy those savings.

A whopping $2,857 per year is spent by the average household on infomercial impulse buying. A minimum of another $2,000 per year is spent at the grocer and other stores on impulse purchases the buyer never had in mind when leaving home. The infomercial industry brings in $400 billion dollars per year. Going shopping? Make a list, and buy only what is on your list. This one simple act can pay for next year's vacation to the Bahama's with savings of nearly $5,000 per year. Yearly savings - $4,857.

Brand names cost consumer households an average of up to $75 more per month over generic brands with comparable ingredients and quality except for packaging. In the grocery, the generics are either on the bottom or top shelf, requiring the consumer to reach over their head or bend over for the savings. Is a reach or bend worth $900 per year in savings? Yearly savings - $900.

Restaurants. With an average of $28.47 per restaurant meal, and an average of 82 restaurant visits during the year, eat outers spent an average of $2,341 last year. Cut your eating out down to once per week, and you save $740 per year. Eat out only twice per month and the savings jump to $1480 per year. Yearly savings - $1480.

If you are a regular bar hopper, you may not have noticed that you spend an average of $42.27 per bar hopping night. If you go bar hopping twice per month, you are spending more than $1000 per year on hangovers or DUI chicken with the police. Make it once per month, and save $500 per year as insurance for that DUI fine and fees. Yearly savings - $500.

So, what's the potential grand total of savings for the average habitual consumer? Would you believe $12,457 per year? Add it up.

For those kind of savings you could fly to the Mediterranean Riviera once a year for vacation. And all it cost you was awareness of your consumer activity and the exercise of some self-control in reshaping your purchasing habits. For many part time workers, $12,457 per year is more than they make on their part time job for the year. Why work a part time job when you can earn more as a better disciplined consumer?

Can you think of other ways you and others can save consumer dollars lost on bad habit purchasing? We would love to hear them.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 18, 2011 8:57 PM.

America's Future: Improving was the previous entry in this blog.

Jon Huntsman's False Reality is the next entry in this blog.

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