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What Could You Give Up for a Better Financial Future?

I was speaking to an elderly relative the other day and he was lamenting not giving cigarettes up when he was younger. He is finding life kind of tough now, due to not saving much during his working life.

According to his rough calculations, if he had given up the habit when he first started working he would easily have saved up enough money to buy a nice house. Now he is left to lament bad health and a poor financial situation, with his addition to tobacco taking a fair share of the blame.

This got me wondering about what we could each try to give up in order to make our financial futures better. The following are a couple of the areas where I think that most of us could probably make some savings without any great sacrifices.

Eating Out or Takeaway Meals

Do you enjoy eating out or ordering in food? Of course you do, as this is something that we all love doing from time to time. The problems start when you spend more than is really sensible on food.

This is one of those habits that never seem to lose their shine for some of us. There is no doubt that letting someone else do the cooking is great but what does it mean on a purely financial basis?

Well, let’s look at some figures. The country where I could find the clearest figures for fast food spending was the UK, where the average person is said to spend to £1,320 ($2,000) each year, buying 12 meals each per month.

If you spend at this level for your entire working life then it could work out something like $80,000 over a 40 year period, without even taking inflation into account. Before we even think about health risks and other issues, do you think that by cooking at home you could save maybe half of that amount?

You will find lots of easy, cheap recipe ideas online for cooking at home that make cooking more fun than you might think.

Vacations and Trips

Getting away for a break of a week or two is a fine way of relieving stress and getting a break from the routine too. There is no doubt that taking a vacation now and then is a good idea but how much do you spend on this year on year?

The first figure I found is $13,249 a year spent annually on leisure travel by affluent Americans with more than $1 million in assets. I am pretty sure that most of us don’t spend as much as that, though.

Again, the Brits come to the rescue, with a study showing that they spend on average 2 months of salary on their vacations. Of course, salaries vary widely but let’s say that you earn about the monthly average, which in the US is around $3,380. In fact, the median figure of $2,249 is better for our example. This would give us an annual vacation of spend of $4,500 using the two month’s salary example.

Do you think that you spend that much on getting away? It sounds like a lot of money. Over the course of your working life it would be around $180,000, if you work for 40 years and take vacations ever year. Spending just half of that amount could make a big difference to your retirement fund.

You can find cheap vacation ideas by looking on the internet for last minute ideas, or by getting creative on your ways of getting away.

Summary

Many people could probably save money easiest of all on food and vacations. Finding cheap recipes to try at home and looking for low cost vacation ideas could make a massive difference to the amount that you spend year on year during your working life.

Is there anything else you could give up for a better future?

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