How much money do you dribble away, a dollar at a time?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are spending roughly $48 a week on ... who knows what? They certainly can't remember, according to a new survey by Visa.
The credit card company, of course, is pushing its debit card as the answer for folks who have trouble tracking their expenses. But the survey raises bigger questions. Is it worth tracking every penny you spend? Should you allow your budget a "miscellaneous" category? Just how big and random should you let it get? And, what the heck are you spending that $48 on?
Some of you might be familiar with Parkinson's Law, which says (simplifying and generalizing here) that work expands to fill the time available. Leo's Corollary to Parkinson's Law says that amusements expand to fill the money available. You think, when you start a career, that as you get raises you will start accumulating wealth and building up those savings accounts. What you discover is that you ratchet up your spending slightly every time your salary increases incrementally. You go into Borders and buy two books instead of one. You go to a slightly better restaruant and have two after-dinner drinks instead of one. You trade your car in after four years instead of five. I paid my car off several months ago, which should have resulted in a lot of extra money in my bak account by now. I can't find it for the life of me.
Have you been getting those mailings from the Social Security Administration showing how much money you have earned over your working life? My reaction, when I got the first one, was, "I earned that much? Where did it all go?"