Money always seems to disappear faster at holiday time. Most people are short of money - not because they buy big expensive things, but because they spend little bits here and there.
This kind of spending is what I call "leaky bucket syndrome".
Imagine your bank account is a bucket into which your income is paid. Now imagine your bucket has many tiny holes in the bottom of it.
Spending your money in lots of small amounts - $5 here, $20 there and so on - is like money leaking out of the holes in your money bucket. This kind of spending can add up to hundreds of dollars each pay day.
You can plug the holes in your leaky bucket by finding out where your money is going. This is a little tedious but necessary.
Gather up your bank statements and credit card statements for at least the last three months. Make a list of headings of essential spending, for example rent or mortgage, insurance, rates, groceries, phone, power, medical expenses, petrol, car maintenance, etc and work out how much you have spent on each. Now add up how much you have spent on non-essential and personal items such as entertainment, gifts, haircuts, beauty treatment and clothes.
Compare your total spending to your income over the same period. You'll probably find that there's some money you can't account for.
The leaks in your money bucket will be spending that you can't account for or money you have spent on non-essential items.
The best way to plug your leaks is to have a separate bank account into which you put money for spending on your non-essential items.
By keeping within the limit of that account your spending will be easy to control and you should always have enough for your essential expenses.
Liz Koh is a financial adviser.
Her disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847.