Money Mapping (Budgeting)

Spending Habits

To Spend Or Not To Spend? Now, That’s A Really Good Question!

The pressure to spend your money is all around you—ads are on TV, at the movies, in the newspapers, and at the grocery store. Your money has to be used to pay for ALL of your needs, and SOME of your wants, so it’s really important to be a smart spender. Here’s some advice:

  • Take a shopping list with you and try to stick to it.
  • Use coupons and look for sales.
  • Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry.
  • Don’t shop to cheer yourself up (no “retail therapy”).

Stores and advertisers don’t want you to STOP and THINK before spending, but you MUST! Ask yourself these questions before making a purchase:

  • Do I really need this? Will I wear it or use it?
  • If I buy this, will I be able to pay my bills?
  • Should I wait a day or two and think it over?
  • Should I wait until it goes on sale?
  • Could I find it for a better price someplace else?

Don’t Forget to Tip

What is a tip? A tip is a small amount of money given to someone for providing a service, whether they’re serving you a meal in a restaurant, cutting your hair, or carrying your bags up to your hotel room. In many places the federal minimum wage for adults is around $7.25 per hour. In establishments like restaurants, though, employers are legally allowed to pay their staff wages as low as $2.83 an hour (in PA), with the assumption that they’ll make the rest of their earnings in tips.

So, before you think about not leaving a tip, remember that the waiter is working hard to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. American custom suggests that you should leave a tip of 15% to 20% of the full amount before tax is added, depending on how satisfied you were with the service.

A man wearing a hearing aid smiles while sitting at a restaurant table and holding a smart phone.
Bob is using an app on his smartphone to figure out the tip.

Helpful Tip!

Mobile devices (such as smart phones and tablets) offer a variety of apps for your convenience. To find apps to help you with calculating tips and comparison shopping, search “Tipping Calculator” or “Comparison Shopping” in your device’s app store and see what’s available. A good app can make it quick and easy to find a bargain or figure out how much to tip.