Editorial note: this story is the first in a series, “Right on the Money.” Find other stories to help you build your savings here.
A study that recently went viral said Americans spend $18,000 a year on non-essential items, including going out to eat, getting expensive haircuts, or buying designer clothing. Could a financial coach keep you on track, or is that an unnecessary expense, too?
Salt Lake City-based financial counselor McKenzie Walsh with the AAA Fair Credit Foundation agrees with that number. She thinks all people–rich, middle class, and poor–can have issues with spending.
Too much spending makes it harder for people to climb out of debt or buy homes.
A financial coach can be an unbiased, second set of eyes to critique your budget — or help you start one in the first place.
“Sometimes it’s easier with somebody else because you have somebody along with you in order to take that look. It helps you to be able to then know this is how I’m doing and this is how I can make change,” she said.
Don Milne with Zions Bank thinks it’s especially important to set a budget if you’re married.
“You and your spouse come from different backgrounds, so you have to learn how to work together to find a system that works for you because 70% of what we argue about is money,” Milne said.
But some people are put off by the price tag. An average session with a financial coach in the United States is $250.
However, Utah has a lot of free or low-cost financial coaches, including the AAA Fair Credit Foundation. You just have to look for them, Walsh says.
Walsh recommends making small changes and not completely denying yourself the pleasures of life.
“It does not matter if you like to eat out, but maybe you’re spending your money in areas that you really wish you that you weren’t. Whether that’s [getting] my nails done or getting a coffee every morning,” she said.
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