In a study of 2,036 U.S. adults commissioned by Visa USA, nearly half of all Americans are losing track of their money. 

An average of $45 in cash is “lost” each week in what Visa dubs “mystery spending”, Visa’s version of “I know I had this money in my wallet but I can’t figure out what I spent it on.”

Averaged out over the course of a year, mystery spending accounts for $2,340 — enough to fund a Roth IRA or other investment plan.

According to the study, events most likely to cause “mystery spending” include:

  • Out for a night on the town (58 percent)
  • Grocery shopping (55 percent)
  • Out with children (50 percent)
  • Shopping during a sale (40 percent)
  • Shopping with friends (33 percent)

How people spend money isn’t the point of the survey but it does raise an interesting point about how careless we can all be with our dollars. 

On one hand, we wonder how will we fund retirement, or pay for college, or send our children to tennis lessons.  On the other hand, we aren’t even aware of how much cash we’re spending and where we are spending it.

For example, if the average American saves the $2,340 annually at 8% instead of “mystery spending” it, that money could grow to $31,000 in 10 years, $91,000 in 20 years, and $204,000 in 30 years.

Being aware of your money is the best way to control it.

Half of All Americans Say They Lose Track of $2,000 In Cash Each Year
September 10, 2007


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