In the U.S., we like our space and we like big. We drive big cars, we like big houses, and one of our favorite phrases is even “go big or go home.” We are obsessed with size in every way, shape, and form, and it is destroying our budgets. The greatest offenders to our larger than life attitudes include:
In other countries, even the industrialized ones, it isn’t uncommon to see a family of 5 sharing a small apartment. In the U.S., however, we expect everyone to have their own large room and there to be adequate space for a large living room, dining room, great room, and kitchen – and it is costing us greatly. To save yourself some money, consider downsizing to a more appropriately sized home or even trying to search cheap apartments for something more affordable. You’ll save money on your mortgage, your private mortgage insurance, maintenance, and homeowners insurance.
We love our SUVs, but they aren’t exactly cheap to upkeep or keep filled with gas. That gas-guzzler that can easy tow 8 people around may be beneficial if you do have a large family, but otherwise you are probably wasting nearly $300 in gas a month for no reason – not to mention larger vehicles also require more expensive oil changes, general maintenance, and tires. If you don’t need the space and have to commute regularly, consider switching out your SUV for a smaller vehicle with better gas mileage and lower maintenance costs.
The U.S. has one of the worst obesity epidemics of any other country in the world, and our large sizes are definitely costing us more. In addition to higher health care costs for all, if you are obese you can expect to pay higher insurance premiums as well as higher food bills. So if you are looking to save a couple extra dollars not, and thousands down the road in medical bills, consider shedding some weight.
This may sound a bit harsh, but if you have a big family, there is a good chance that you are paying dearly for it. While there isn’t much that can be done once you have your family, if you are in the family planning stages, you may want to consider the cost of raising a child these days before you agree to have a larger family. While having kids is certainly the dream of many, choosing to have a larger family when you aren’t financially stable could literally lead you to financial ruin. To be a responsible parent, choose to only have as many children as you can afford.
Your Spending Habits
In the U.S., we don’t just buy one small thing in a store and then get out, we spend hours browsing and that box of Q-tips you went in to the store for quickly turns in to a shopping cart full of items totaling $100. When we consider dinner, we don’t just eat-in off that $5 casserole. We eat out and pay over $50 for the whole family to eat more than their calorie count for the day. If you want to save yourself money, reconsider your spending habits on a typical day. You don’t need the fancy coffee, when you could make your own at home.
If most Americans want to get their spending under control, then they are going to have to reconsider our typical “go big” mentality. While we all like our things, having too much of anything – whether it be space or clothes – is going to cost you, and has the potential to keep you in debt. So if you are looking to save yourself hundreds of dollars a year, consider downsizing – your life.