Monday, March 7, 2011

How Much Assistance Is Really Needed?

In a time when our country is experiencing financial hard times, how can we justify the way we spend our money? An article written on CNN Politics states that "The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record 41.8 million in July and approximately one in eight Americans participate in the program, according to the USDA, with the average household subsidy receiving $294 a month." That may sound like a lot, but what about our spending? How much does the average American spend on entertainment? Phone bills? Cable? The numbers I found were quite staggering. The average cost for cable is $75 per month! One article said that the average entertainment cost in a year is $2698 per year. Though in the average amount spent on alcohol, tobacco products and miscellaneous spending in the same article and we are up to $4286 per year on average. That means we are spending $357 on average a month ($63 more than needed to get off assistance)! Now, I know that the average is high because there are people that make quite a bit of money factored in. But how much do we spend on cell phone bills? Do we need the internet and unlimited texting on those? What about billiards leagues? Bowling leagues? Softball leagues? What about video games and movies? Lottery tickets? I know that we cannot rid ourselves of all the expenses in those categories, but my point is that I believe that many Americans (not all I know) can change their spending habits in a way that would allow them to feel less stress in the area of finances. I know that my wife and I can do more than we already do. I challenge you (especially if you are feeling a crunch) to really scour your spending to see where you can make some adjustments to help reduce the stress. God bless!