These non-essential costs are probably hampering your financial goals

In order to make sure you don’t blow your budget on areas such as travel and dining out, start first by identifying your essentials, Luber suggested.

Those must-haves should include food, clothing, housing and insurance. And it also should include emergency and retirement savings, Luber said.

Aim to have six to nine months’ worth of expenses saved up in case an emergency crops up.

“If the roof starts leaking or the boiler goes, you have to make sure you’re not putting yourself further in debt to pay for those things,” Luber said.

Also be sure not to neglect your retirement goals. The best way to do that, Luber said, is to automate your contributions to your company 401(k) or to an IRA through your checking account.

Once you’ve made sure you have set aside what you need for essential expenses, identify what non-essentials you want to spend on and why, Luber said.

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Rank those non-essential costs in order according to how much happiness they bring to your life. Then, cut the categories that fall on the bottom off your list.

That could include gym memberships or other fees for services or subscriptions that you no longer use.

Also consider scaling back on other areas of discretionary spending such as travel by taking shorter trips.

Finally, loop those to whom you are closest to in on your financial goals.

“Be honest with your friends and yourself so that at the end of the month you’re not looking at a negative number for your budget,” Luber said.

The online survey was conducted last September. It included 1,110 adults with at least $10,000 in investable assets.

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