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Financial Literacy - Emergency fund
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10 everyday expenses
These seemingly small expenses can bleed dry potential savings. Identify and avoid these common money drains.
Creating an emergency fund

Top 10 money drains

It's easy to fritter away money on daily expenses. If you fall into these money traps, learn to avoid them and pocket the savings. Use Bankrate's Simple savings calculator to see how quickly your money piles up with interest.

10 money drains
1. 6.
2. 7.
3. 8.
4. 9.
5. 10.

1. Coffee -- According to the National Coffee Association, the average price for brewed coffee is $1.38. There are roughly 260 weekdays per year, so buying one coffee every weekday morning costs almost $360 per year.

2. Cigarettes -- The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reports that the average price for a pack of cigarettes in the United States is $4.54. Pack-a-day smokers fork out $1,660 a year. Weekend smoker? Buying a pack once a week adds up, too: $236.

3. Alcohol -- Drink prices vary based on the location. But assuming an average of $5 per beer including tip, buying two beers per day adds up to $3,650 per year. Figure twice that for two mixed drinks a day at the local bar. That's not chump change.

4. Bottled water from convenience stores -- A 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina bottled water costs about $1. One bottle of water per day costs $365 per year. It costs the environment plenty, too.

5. Manicures -- The Day Spa Magazine Price Survey of 2004 found that the average cost of a manicure is $20.53. A weekly manicure sets you back about $1,068 per year.

6. Car washes -- The average cost for a basic auto detailing package is $58, according to Costhelper.com. The tab for getting your car detailed every two months: $348 per year.

7. Weekday lunches out -- $9 will generally cover a decent lunch most work days. If you buy rather than pack a lunch five days a week for one year, you shell out about $2,350 a year.

8. Vending machines snacks -- The average vending machine snack costs $1. Buy a pack of cookies every afternoon at work and pay $260 per year.

9. Interest charges on credit card bills -- According to a survey released at the end of May 2007, the median amount of credit card debt carried by Americans is $6,600. Rate tables on Bankrate.com indicate that fixed interest rates on a standard card average 13.44 percent. Making the minimum payment each month, it will take 250 months (almost 21 years) to pay off the debt and cost $4,868 in interest. Ouch!

10. Unused memberships -- Costhelper.com reports that the monthly service fee at gyms averages between $35 and $40. At $40 per month, an unused gym membership runs $480 per year.

-- Posted: July 23, 2007
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