Do we really need all that stuff?


According to the Wall Street Journal this week, Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on stuff we don’t actually need.  That’s 11.2% of total consumer spending.  And that doesn’t even include our homes or luxury cars!  What’s more, our non-essential spending is growing.  A decade ago it was 9.3%, and in 1959 it was just 4%.

But let’s get personal.

When you look at your credit card statement, do you ever wonder if you need all that stuff?  If you feel like your personal non-essential spending is growing faster than you can handle, you’re not alone.  Many of us make resolutions to save or cut back. But when we’re tempted to spend it’s not so easy to resist!

To help you with budgeting, saving, and other matters of personal finance, take a look at 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. It’s a free program provided by the American Institute of CPAs, and it’s linked from our website.  Consider these suggestions for saving:

  1. When you pay your monthly bills, set up one payment to your savings account
  2. Use the library instead of buying books
  3. Brown-bag once a week (there’s even a savings calculator for this one).

There’s no doubt that we all enjoy luxury once in a while, but if you wish your expenses were a little more under control, take a look at these tools.  Budgeting and saving may help you enjoy those really special luxuries when they come along – without all the guilt.

Janet Altman is a Management Chief Marketing Officer at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.

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