I’m currently reading Stay Mad for Life, the latest offering from CNBC and TheStreet.com money manager, Jim Cramer. By the way, I personally think this is Cramer’s best work as it focuses on all areas of personal finance, not just stock picking. I’m not a huge fan of Cramer the television personlity, but this book is pretty good.
In the early chapters of his book, Cramer discusses a unique way of budgeting that carries monthly expenses out to yearly outlays. It got me to thinking. My wife and I are big soft drink drinkers. Besides them not being healthy, I wondered in what other ways these things were affecting our lives.
$360 a Year on Cocal Cola
In a given week we probably go through 2 twelve-packs of Coca Cola (or Diet Coke, depending on how good we are being, or not being). Our local grocery store generally offers a 3/$10 deal making these close to $3.50 each with sales tax. That comes out to $7.00 a week on soft drinks. Convert that to a 52-week, annualized expense and it comes out to about $360 a year for our family budget’s food category. That is nearly a dollar a day!
Over the next couple days my wife and I plan to take a look at our family budget and annualize all our expenses to determine what’s costing us the most over the course of a year (can you imagine what the cable bill looks like…yikes!).
By magnifying these monthly household expenses by 12 it really helps to illuminate those categories of the budget that need to be trimmed. Over time, we plan to create family budget spreadsheet to track all of these expenses (we already budget cash expenditures each month using Mvelopes – an online envelope budgeting system), and I’ll now have an “annual” column to calculate as well.