What’s your daily cost of living?

If you’re constantly wondering where your money goes to, try breaking down your expenses into daily costs — the amount of money you spend every day on your lifestyle.

What’s your daily cost of living?

Iona Minton
Tue, 20 Dec 2005

This article is a printout from iafrica.com
Copyright © 2000 iafrica.com*, a division of Metropolis*
If you’re constantly wondering where your money goes to, try breaking down your expenses into daily costs — the amount of money you spend every day on your lifestyle.

Most people look forward to the end of the month, especially when they know that they are about to receive their next salary cheque. But even though we have seemingly well paid jobs, there is often too much month left at the end of our money.
Have you ever wondered where it all goes? If you want to find the answer to this question you need to keep a track of your daily expenses. If you add up the money you fritter away each day, the disappearing act that your money does will no longer be a mystery.

Average daily expenses

Let’s look at an average day’s expenses for a 25-year-old single person.

1) You take a shower, brush your teeth, wash your face, apply deodorant, and spray on some expensive perfume/aftershave: Cost = R15.25. 2) You drive 15 kilometers to work. This will cost you approximately three rand per kilometer for petrol and wear and tear. Cost = R45. 
3) Buy the morning newspaper and you let the vendor keep the change out of R5. You pick up a cup of coffee and a muffin from the local deli. Cost = R20.
4) You buy a pack of cigarettes. R10.
5) You meet friends for lunch. R35.
6) You call a friend to arrange plans for the weekend, and make a few more calls to pass the time.Cost = R10.
7) Time for a hair cut. R80.
8) You buy your favourite magazine and pay full price because you haven’t bothered to subscribe.R20. 
9) Go for drinks with your buddies at an expensive wine bar. Two glasses of chardonnay set you back R36.
This is what a fairly average day may look like for a middle-income person. Obviously not all of the above will apply every day, as each new day will bring new and different expenses, but as a rough guide the total expenditure for this person in one day is R256.50.

What are your fixed costs?
This is just a drop in the ocean. If you break down your monthly expenses into a daily amount you will get a fairly good idea of what your fixed daily costs are.
For example if you have a car loan of R2500 per month then you are paying R83 per day to drive it, while a R4000 per month home bond will cost you R133 per day. Do this exercise with insurance premiums, school fees, grocery bills, medical aid and entertainment.

Cut out unnecessary items
It is quite scary to see how much you spend every single day, but the good news is that you can shave off a fair portion of these expenses if you cut out the unnecessary items that you have got into the habit of buying,
There is not much you can do about the hot showers, but you don’t have to run them until the water turns cold. Your water does not have to be at boiling point either, so turn the geyser down and save money.

To save on motor costs, use a car pool, and I don’t even have to tell you about the financial and medical benefits of giving up smoking.

Make a rule not to eat or drink anything in a restaurant more than once a day. So if you buy a muffin and coffee in the morning, then lunch and evening drinks are a no-go zone. Take that cellphone off your ear and before you make a call ask yourself if it can wait until you are near a landline. Most of the time, the answer will be yes.

Add up the figures
By being a little more aware you can cut your daily costs and your monthly expenses. If you think it won’t make a difference, add up the figures and see for yourself.
By watching cellphone expenditure, reducing fast food purchases and practising some restraint on luxury items you could save R30 a day. Multiply that by an average 30 days in a month and you could save yourself a cool R900. So, next time your money does a disappearing act there will be no mystery. It’s all of your own doing!

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