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Tips for how to burn through your money quickly

So you’ve found yourself with extra walking around money lately and you really don’t like that feeling. By following just a few easy methods you can make yourself feel better by getting that money into someone else’s pocket where it belongs.

First, when you have to spend cash, try to get it from an ATM that is not in your network. That way your bank will charge you a couple of bucks, and so will the ATM.

Next, why spend 50 cents a year on drinking water when you can spend hundreds? The bottled water you are drinking is sometimes the same or worse than tap water and by buying it, you will have one or two fewer dollars to worry about. Coffee from the coffee shop, energy drinks and fast food are other ways to slide your dollars out of your pocket into someone else’s. On average, people spend $1.38 on a cup of coffee (seems cheap right?). That adds up to $503 a year. Where else could you spend that money?

Another option to slowly drain your funds —  how about a lottery ticket! This voluntary tax is usually collected to support general government programs and sometimes schools. So you can say, “It’s for the kids.” Do you know what the odds of winning a Powerball lottery are? Well, overall they are not that bad, 1 in 31.85 people will win…something ($4). But how about the grand prize; well that is 1 in 175 million. The warning is, you might “win.” Of course, you are not obligated to collect your winnings.

Looking for another way to drain your funds? Your credit card company allows you to pay your bills on time, but if you wait a day or two after the due date it will accept an extra $35 as a gift it calls a “late fee.” If you do automatic payments or set up payment reminders, you run the risk of never paying one of those fees.

Coke or Pepsi? Nothing impresses your friends like seeing a name brand on your laundry detergent, soda or cereal. Make sure when you shop, you buy the brand everyone knows. You get the same product as the generic brand for about 20 percent more in cost! Or you could comparison shop and look for the best deals online, in the newspaper ads or right on the supermarket shelves.

If you have cash in your pocket when you go grocery shopping, keep it in your pocket and use the credit card instead. If you don’t pay the card off in full, you’ll get to pay interest on those cocktail wieners, and still have cash for the vending machine at work.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started in burning through your money. We’re sure if you think hard about it you can come up with more of your own. Chances are you already have.

Obviously, most of us do not want to waste our money. Take the time to think about what is most important to you and plan for meeting those items that require money or credit. Plan. When you feel the need to spend on clothes, coffee, cars, etc. ask youself, “Is this getting me closer to my goal?” Put your money where it helps you! For more spending and budgeting tips, talk to a certified credit counselor at American Financial Solutions. Get a little advice, a plan and some hope.

Published Feb 28, 2014.