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Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCESS NewsletterFinancial Educaton Newsletter
You've already spent a ton of money today

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

Have you ever had a day where you just felt like spending some money? Maybe you have some “extra” money burning a hole in your wallet or you just feel like you deserve to treat yourself to “a little something.” While you definitely do deserve to treat yourself, the fact of the matter is that spending money on unplanned, unneeded items on a whim is a sure-fire way to break your budget. Lucky for you, I know a fact that is sure to burst your balloon: You’ve already spent a ton of money today.

Next time you feel the urge to splurge, take the time to figure out how much money today has already cost you. Maybe you haven’t done the slap-the-credit-card-on-the-counter kind of spending, but believe me, you’ve doled out your fair share.

To figure out how much exactly how much you’ve spent today, I invite you to do the math. Figure out what it costs you to live a day of your life. For example, divide your monthly home or rent payment by the number of days in the month to approximate what it costs to live in your home for a day. Then, do the same for all of your other expenses. Here’s a quick list of expenses you incur (though not necessarily pay for) daily to consider:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Food (at home and away)
  • Clothing (plus the cost of cleaning your clothing)
  • Insurance costs (medical, dental, life, auto, home)
  • Transportation costs (car payment, registration fees, gas)
  • Utilities (phone, Internet, cable, gas, electric, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies and personal items
  • Donations and gifts
  • Childcare or school expenses
  • Recreation/hobbies/lessons
  • Medicine and/or vitamins
  • Taxes

For me, the realization that—without buying anything—I’ve spent hundreds of dollars just to live through the day was a real eye-opener. How about you? Are you surprised at how much you’ve spent today? (And this doesn’t even take into consideration outstanding unsecured debts!) Does thinking about your expenses in this way change the way you feel about spending?

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The Weather Outside May be Frightful…but the Heating Bill Doesn’t Have to Be


Old man frost has definitely reared his head this winter. The first day of winter didn’t officially begin until December 21; however, many areas of the country experienced unusually cold weather conditions long before. As the temperature drops, gas bills increases.

Heating costs are affected by numerous factors, including the quality of insulation, the size of the home, and the availability of direct sunlight. The good news is that with a few simple steps, you can bring your energy costs into a more manageable range. The experts at Money Management International offer the following energy-saving tips that are good for the environment and your pocketbook.

Lower the thermostat. The most important thing you can do is to set the thermostat as low as is comfortable. Every degree you lower the thermostat reduces your heating costs by 3 percent or more. A programmable thermostat can help by adjusting the temperature according to a set schedule, and can help save on energy while your family isn’t home. Also, utilize your winter wardrobe by wearing warmer clothing.

Perform simple maintenance. Replace the filters in your heating units regularly. Clogged filters break down the efficiency of the heating unit, which means it takes more energy to keep your home warm.

Stop the leaks. Run your hand around the outer edges of doors and windows. If you feel a draft, there’s a good chance that your seals have a leak, and you are wasting money with windows or doors that are not airtight. It only costs a few dollars and a trip to the hardware store to seal those leaks, and it’s a project that more than pays for itself. Installing storm windows can also cut your heat loss in half.

Take a whole-house approach. Don’t forget to practice good overall energy conservation. For example, turn the lights off when you leave a room and close the fireplace damper when not in use. Keep traffic in and out of the house to a minimum. The more you open the doors, the more heat escapes into the cold air outside.

Call in the experts. Many utility companies will send an energy expert to your home for a free energy check. They look for the little nooks and crannies where your energy dollars may be escaping.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
800-762-2271 or visit

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