Cash slips through the pockets of Americans each day, and by the end of the week memory fades. There’s no reason to think it’s any different for us Canadians. A new survey has found that 48% of Americans suffer from “mystery spending.” The VISA USA survey found that Americans lose track on average of $2,340 annually.
Nearly half of consumers say they can’t account for more than one-third of their cash, spending an average of $120 in a typical week, but losing track of $45. According to the survey, 7% lose track of $100 or more each week. One in five people who admit to misplacing more than $25 in cash per week say their mystery spending is “out of control,” and 62% feel that “small cash purchases make it difficult to track spending.” Furthermore, 47% say that “mystery spending makes budgeting difficult.”
Those aged 34 and under – especially men – are the biggest mystery spenders losing track of an average of $3,078 per year. VISA obviously suggests that the cure for “mystery spending” is to put small transactions onto plastic.
The best laid plans can quickly go out the window at this time of the year.
A recent study reported on our spending habits, and this one is a killer to our budget. At Christmas time half of all spending for others ends up being things we buy for ourselves. So for every $100 we average $50 bucks for ourselves! Be really aware of that, be honest with yourself, and just work your lists before you ever leave the house. That, along with a fixed amount of money per person – not the sky is the limit and NOT spending for yourself. Commit to not buying for yourself until Boxing day, or January – or better yet – not this season!
List everybody! If not on the list – it won’t be happening. If you want to take it to the full extent of the budget – write down the amount of money you’ll spend on each person – add them up then take the cash out of the bank. When you’re out of money – go home and stop spending. And don’t even think about leaving the house with your credit cards in your pocket. But it’s so cute and it’s on sale are NOT valid reasons for going over your budget.
If not, the financial hangover will last for months and months – it’s just not worth it.
Besides – gifts aren’t about the money – it’s the thought that counts. A well-thought out present that someone really values is way better than an expensive something they didn’t really want or need.