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Are these 11 expenses draining your wallet?

If you're living paycheck to paycheck and barely getting by even though you have a healthy income, here are 11 expenses that may be the culprit.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 9, 2014 1:14PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou see an advertisement on television about that dream home or car you wish you had, or that getaway that would provide the relief you need. Then, suddenly, reality sets in before you're overwhelmed by your daydreams. Your desires and your bank account are not a match made in heaven.

Holding an empty wallet © Andrew Dernie/Getty Images
In fact, many people live meager paycheck to paycheck, barely getting by. Or maybe some have an abundant income but no idea how to manage it. If you are stuck on either side of the spectrum or smack dab in the middle, there are ways to make your money work for you.

Don't know where to start? Keep the receipt for every expenditure you make for a month. At the end of the month, take a closer look at where your money went. What you find will more than likely surprise you.

Here are some budget busters to keep an eye out for:

1. Emergencies

Whether it's a layoff, unexpected medical bill or mechanical failure of your vehicle, financial emergencies are no fun and can mean life or death for your budget. However, if you plan ahead and allocate a few funds for each category, your financial emergencies can become a thing of the past.

And then there are the so-called emergencies -- sudden expenditures you can do without. Don't confuse the two, and save your emergency funds for the real thing.

2. Electronics

Are you a gadget junkie? Maybe you have to have the latest and greatest iPhone or tablet? If you haven't planned for this expense, your budget will be sure to let you know. And if you must have a particular gadget, consider buying a refurbished version.

3. Groceries

Do you shop using a meal planner and coupons, or do you just grab whatever you desire at that moment? It's so simple to do: You head to the store with a few things in mind but end up spending $100 or more. That's where discipline comes in.

Another word of advice: Never head to the store hungry, or you will be tempted to leave with every item that whets your mental appetite.

4. Dining out

This one is especially a problem if you spend tons of funds at the grocery store each month but end up dining out more than you actually cook. Another trap are office lunch dates, which have the potential to wreak havoc on your wallet if they become a part of your daily routine.

My advice: Put the tips from "15 ways to cut your fine dining bill in half" to good use if you insist on dining out.

5. Entertainment

The guys or girls are heading out for a night of fun, and you are all for it. What a perfect opportunity, especially considering that you've had a long week at work and your kids are driving you nuts. But there's only one problem: Your bank account is on the brink of going into the red. Be wise and say no.

Even if you have to make up a lame excuse to prevent being ridiculed by your friends, it's worth salvaging your budget.

6. Lavish travel

Heading out of town for the weekend or for an extended excursion? If you're already struggling to make ends meet, now is not the time to splurge on five-star hotels and first-class flights.

Here are 10 ways to get free lodging.

7. Apparel

Addicted to fashion? Well, those new heels you've been eagerly waiting to get your hands on have finally gone on clearance, and you just have to have them. But if your budget says no, it’s wise to leave them at the store.

8. Pampering sessions

While your body may need a little TLC each month, heading to the spa or hair salon once a week has the potential to be deadly from a financial perspective.

9. Cable

Instead of signing up for the most expensive plan, try basic cable. Or even better, cut cable altogether and go for much cheaper alternatives, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix. See how you can stop paying for cable right now.

10. Gym membership

Being healthy and fit definitely have their perks, but spending way too much money to reach your fitness goals makes no sense.

Why not ditch the gym and search for inexpensive or free courses or exercise at your community recreation center instead? Or try the great outdoors; a little fresh air won't hurt.

Take a look at "DIY fitness: 10 tips to get in shape without the gym."

11. Housing

Did you drastically underestimate the costs associated with that new home or apartment? Are your housing costs much more than you can reasonably afford? Does the expression "house rich and cash poor" sound familiar?

The next go-round, be conservative and leave as much wiggle room in your budget as possible for unexpected monthly bills and maintenance and repair costs (if applicable).

Before you apply for a mortgage or lease, use an affordability calculator to gauge what you can realistically contribute toward housing expenses each month.

More from Money Talks News

Jul 9, 2014 6:41PM

The biggest drains on my wallet are property tax, income tax, sales tax, health insurance, and gasoline.

Those five items are what determine my votes come election time.  I am not voting to increase those costs believe it or not, and I take it personally if you do.

Jul 9, 2014 4:01PM
I long for the day when the US government's wallet is DRAINED.  I also know that will never happen without a major revolution.  The government will take, take, and take until there is an unafraid, give me liberty or give me death, revolution.  When the money supply to washington is finally cut off entirely, maybe then we can begin to rebuild.  Until then, our wallets will be drained while their's has money to "aid" everyone but the American people.
Jul 9, 2014 3:43PM
draining your wallet???  how about anything related to obama.  Taxes,  obamacare, regulations on energy, illegals sucking tax money from the people as he wont complete the wall or defend the borders.  
Jul 9, 2014 4:36PM
You of course assume my wallet is full. I should change careers and become a writer. Even I could write crap like this. Higher taxes and more regulations drive up prices and the number one thing draining my wallet is government taxes and fees!!! Start writing about that.
Jul 9, 2014 3:56PM
What drains the American wallet more than anything else, in my opinion, is the US government.  Hamas and Israel is now beating up on each other.  I expect any hour now to see a "BREAKING NEWS" segment telling of America's aide to Israel for billions of dollars while our people in the US are loaded down with a little higher gas prices, grocery prices, fees, etc.  Probably no new taxes until after November though.  Just "fees, surcharges, gas hikes, etc"  You know, all the things that aren't "taxes."   And, maybe a few more forced purchases like Obamacare and Orrcare.
Jul 9, 2014 4:46PM
Jul 10, 2014 9:43AM

                        ***     Obama Has A Plan Action Alert     ***

Fail, Blame, Deny, Distract, Deflect, Lie, Golf, Fund Raise, Repeat...   

Jul 9, 2014 4:58PM

I could have sworn I've already commented on this one...

but Bad habbits...; like smoking and drinking...

Jul 9, 2014 5:39PM
1. wife
2. wife
3. wife
4. wife
5. wife
6. wife
7. wife
8. wife
9. wife
10. wife
and 11. wife, but I still love her.
Jul 10, 2014 7:53AM
Nope - I budget and don't spend until I have the money or have a plan of how to pay.
Jul 9, 2014 7:41PM
do not forget.. cable tv, a piece of junk.. lol
Jul 9, 2014 3:44PM
I remember back in college, my roommate had a stripper give him half a dollar bill at the end of the night.  I explained it was because she took half his money.  That and the round of $12/shot whiskey he bought for the entire bar meant I had to cover the whole of the rent that month.

Roommates can be a very big drain on your expenses.  That's why I got divorced and live on my own.

well, if this country does not reign in the insurance companies that lobby for mandatory car, health, and any kind of insurance they can think of, those money grubbing entities are going to kill us, along with the pharmaceuticals. 


We have lost our sense of balance in this country.   

Jul 10, 2014 2:02PM
You know what is really draining our wallets is the wasteful spending of the Obama Administration and all the unnecessary taxes that has burdened the American people. So far, we have suffered a 2% increase in social security in this administration and more money given to these illegal aliens who have flooded our country. The memo is out south of the border for the entire population to invade and move into our country so we will take care of them with our hard earned tax dollars. Why should they contribute any if our government is willing to pay for it? We are already taxed around 35% up from 33%. Great Britain is over 40% and we may be facing another 3% hike before Obama leaves office. Our country fought for our independence from Great Britain because of high taxes. So who is going to free us from high taxes here? This is from an article I read. This is what has been projected and I believe this is to cover all the out of control wasteful spending this administration is doing. Taxation without true representation and tax on top of taxes. That is what is draining our wallets!
Jul 10, 2014 11:16AM
Death does a pretty good job of draining the wallet too.
Jul 10, 2014 1:21PM

I thought the only reason to own a wallet was so I could have a place to store my driver's license.  Of course, since the gov't takes all my $$, I can't afford a car so I don't even need the driver's license anymore, which means I don't need a wallet.  Problem solved........  Now where is my Obama phone and SNAP card???


Jul 10, 2014 11:46AM
when i opened my wallet,the moths flew out.
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