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Are you aware of how much money you are wasting?
Imagine being able to save money without impacting your lifestyle by getting control over the items that you waste money on. Before you start to slash your budget and cut out the fun, re-evaluate the ways that you spend without thinking. Here are 20 ways that you waste money and how you can change this spending.
Things you are probably wasting money on
Overdraft fees can be as high as $35 per transaction, so if you have 3 overdrafts per month then you end up spending $105 in fees. What could you do with the extra money? You can prevent this by maintaining a cushion in your checking account to reduce the risk of over drafting the account.
ATM fees are really harsh because the bank servicing the ATM and your bank both charge you fees to access your money. Planning in advance will help to reduce ATM fees. If you know that you will need cash, then plan in advance to get cash from your bank. Search the web to find ATMs owned by the bank where you have your checking account. Use those ATMs only. If you are in a situation where there are no bank-owned ATMs nearby, then go to a place like CVS were you can get cash back.
Late fees add up quickly. Just imagine paying a bill late every month and each late payment included a fee of $15. Over the year you would have paid $180. What could you have done with the extra money? Reevaluate how you structure your bills to ensure that you have adequate cash flow to pay your expenses on time. Also, consider setting up automatic payment to minimize the likelihood of paying bills late.
Look at your bank statements to identify subscription services or automatic monthly expenses that you don’t use. For example, if you have a gym membership that goes unused, then cancel it. If you have multiple streaming services that you don’t use, then cancel it. Don’t pay for things that you don’t use or need.
Clothes that sit in the closet.
Shopping used to be one of my biggest budget busters. I would by clothes because they were on sale or because I thought that I needed to have it to be in style. Inevitability, those clothes went unworn and wasted space in my closet because I didn’t have a plan for when I would wear them and if I really needed them.
Buying things because they on sale.
If you find an item on sale, evaluate whether you would buy the item if it was full-price. If the answer is no, then put it back.
Grocery shopping without a list or while hungry.
Have you ever grocery shopped while hungry? If so then you probably ended up with a ton of extra food in your cart, and you walk out of the store with way more stuff than you planned to buy and may even go to waste. Before you walk into the store, survey your cabinets and determine your meals for the week. After you do this, then create the list and stick to it.
According to a study by the National Resource Defense Council, the average American family wastes on about $2,200 of food per year. That’s literally throwing money away. To reduce food waste use a grocery list, buy less, keep track of when items expire, and also get creative about using all of the food before it goes to waste.
Buying items for convenience.
A bottle of water at the gas station can cost $1.50 versus about $.10 if you buy a bottle of water in bulk. The cost of water can be even less if you fill up a refillable cup. Try to minimize convenience purchases by planning in advance.
Dining out daily.
You can dine out, but be aware of how often you dine out and how much you spend. If you buy dinner 5 times a week and pay $15 each time then you will spend $3,900 over the course of a year. Even if you scaled back to 2 times per week then you will save $2,340/year. To reduce the cost of dining out, plan meals more, look for dining discounts, and try to take half of your meal home to cut the cost in half.
Not maintaining your health.
Medical costs are expensive and according to a study by Harvard University, they are also the number 1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States. To avoid high medical costs, focus on prevention by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and going to the doctor and dentist for regular check ups.
With all of the streaming service options, it makes a lot of sense to cancel your cable. You still have to determine internet, but if you cut the cable then you can reduce your monthly costs and only pay for the services that you use. PC Mag has a great story about what your tv options are if you cut the cord.
According to a study by the National Resource Defense Council idle electricity costs are responsible for about 25% of your electricity bill. Idle electricity costs are due to appliances and other plugged in items that draw electricity even though they are turned off. To reduce idle electricity costs is to plug items into a power strip and then turn the power strip off when the items aren’t in use. Also, contact your utility company to see if they can do an energy audit to see where you can save money.
Forgetting that the small stuff matters.
Evaluate your bank statements to see where you are spending less than $10. If you use cash, then keep the receipts for 30 days and evaluate how much you spent. Becoming aware of how you spend will enable you to make better spending decisions going forward.
Interest fees because of bad credit.
The cost of major purchases that require financing varies dramatically based on your credit score. For example, if you have good credit, then you may qualify for 0% or low interest loan
Impulse shopping is the urge to buy. This can destroy your budget because you will spend money without a plan and without thinking. This can result in overspending and not having enough money to pay bills.To stay on track, wait 3 days before making an unplanned purchase to take the emotion and fear of loss out of the purchase.
Not renegotiating services.
You have more power than you think because it costs more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a new customer. Stay abreast of the deals offered to new customers and ask for your existing cable, internet, cell phone company, etc. to match those discounts.
Paying for things that you can do yourself.
This one used to be hard for me because it is easier to outsource than it is to do things myself. However, I had to determine what made sense to outsource and what to do myself. Before you decide to outsource, decide if you can do the task yourself and how much time it would take you to do it. Also, evaluate whether or not your children can help out. If it makes sense to do it yourself, then watch a YouTube instructional video and get going!
Buying new and not used.
Buying used saves a lot of money. If you have a child, then buying used will save a lot of money. As a mom, I buy as much as I can used because children outgrow clothes very fast and baby gear is expansive and you need a ton of it. I also buy my own clothes used because I can usually get better stuff for less money. The key is to avoid buying more because of the lower cost.
Not using online coupons.
Online coupons are easy to use. Before you complete your checkout process, do a search for the name of the company and “online coupon” to see what comes up. Look for coupon codes through sites like Retail Me Not or you can use ebates to get cash back on your purchase.
Now that you know where you may be wasting money and how to fix it. Look at these ideas and determine which area is costing you the most money and then start there. Once you fix that area, then move on to another. Good luck!