5 things to stop wasting your money on right now

It's easy to get into spending habits and not even think that what you are doing is a waste of money. The new year is a great time to reexamine your spending habits and start making easy changes. I have five things that you can stop wasting money on and start putting some more cash back into your wallet.



1. Books


I'm an avid reader as you can see from my collection of "what to read" book posts {the search tab in my sidebar will pull up three pages of posts from my blog}, but I rarely buy a single book.  I frequent our library and enjoy their selection of books from children's titles to new bestsellers.  The bonus to borrowing from the library is that you don't start amassing clutter around your home in the form of already read books.  I also purchase books at garage sales, usually for a quarter a piece.  
Let me also follow this up by saying that books are priceless.  Reading is an amazing gift, and there are times when I buy books, especially when they are books that get my kids excited about reading. As a book lover, I know that if I were indulging my book habit at the book store, I would be broke. Visiting your library for at least one or two of your book purchases each month would save you at least $20.  It's an easy way to eliminate this expense. 

2. fees

This is a broad one.  The fees I'm talking about could be fees that you pay in the way of ATM fees, overdraft/balance fees or fees that you pay for admission into the movies or museum.  I also lump credit card interest into this, because it's essentially a fee that you are charged by the credit card company for the use of their money to buy your things
.  
I'm a stay at home mom and have been for sixteen years.  I know the importance of getting out with the little ones.  I found great value in my zoo membership when the kids were little and then in the science museum membership as the kids got older, but I didn't find any value in the children's museum or the art museum membership and I will tell you why.  Both of those museums offered free days or passes from the library {seriously, if you don't frequent your library, you should!} that offered free admission.  In fact, several of our local museums offer free museum days that we have taken advantage of at one time or another.  
Typically the price of a family membership is just a little bit more expensive than the cost of admission for our family.  If we are planning on using the membership passes more than twice in a calendar year, then the passes have paid for themselves.  
We traveled to another state several years ago and were planning on going to their science museum while we were in town.  I looked into our science museum's reciprocal museum policy and found that our membership would be good at that state's science museum.  I've also done this with our zoo membership.  This has allowed free access into a different museum or zoo just by being a membership card holder at another location.
If you are collecting banking fees due to ATM usage, overdraft or balance related issues, this is probably because you are just not aware of the policy.  Take a second to see what fees you are racking up, and make a strategy on how to avoid those fees.  This could mean switching accounts where you don't have to have a certain balance in your account, or simply using an ATM across the street vs the one that you have always gone to.  
As for credit card interest, don't buy what you can't afford. Pay off the debt you have and start working at living a debt free lifestyle.

3. Extras and Upgrades

Some of us are in the moment shoppers. You find yourself at the cash register with a large purchase and the salesperson asks you if you want the store's upgraded warranty coverage.  Or, you order a new thingamabob from Amazon and you can upgrade your shipping for just a few dollars more and get your item a few days sooner.  These upgrades are burning a hole in your wallet.  
I recently called our phone/internet provider and was told that I could upgrade to cable for just $20 more each month.  It seemed like a fabulous idea at the time, but after six months the rate went up by $100 and by that time most people have a hard time parting with their beloved channels that they would rather just fork up the money then get rid of their upgraded package.
While our family doesn't eat out much  {typically once a month} I know that there are families that eat out far more often. I'm not going to tell you not to go out to eat {though that would save you some money} I will however warn you about over ordering. Do you really need an appetizer to go with your already large American size portion of food?  Do you really need to finish off the meal with a dessert?  And what about your drink order? I know that sometimes the drinks can add up to the same price as a whole entree.  Just be mindful of how you are ordering to help you keep the tab in check.

4. Overpriced Coffee

I live in the Seattle area.  There is a coffee shop on every corner.  I wasn't much of a coffee drinker when we moved here, but now the coffee shops are an easy meeting place so I became hooked. Though when I say hooked, I mean I treat myself to Starbucks at the most, once a week.  I have a friend who loves her drip coffee.  It sets her back less than two dollars and makes her happy.  I'm not talking about that coffee.  I'm talking about the fru fru coffee that costs $5 {or more} per drink. 
I'm totally guilty of this one and have worked out a few ways to help me, though I still need to find a cheaper drink alternative than my favorite caramel macchiato that costs me far too much! Like I said, I limit myself to a once a week stop at Starbucks. I will also ask for gift cards in exchange for payment.  I did a custom project for a friend and she asked how much I charged.  I told her to pay me with a Starbucks gift card.  There is something psychological in knowing that it's money from a gift card versus money from my own bank account.  If you do find yourself meeting at Starbucks or another coffee shop {those exist?} see if you can find a cheaper drink alternative. 

5. Trendy Clothing

I have never been a trendsetter, though I do like at least looking put together and from this decade. I find the best way to do that is to buy classic clothing. If you were to look in my closet, the color palate is mostly black, grey and white. Most of the items are from consignment shops or garage sales, and what I do buy new, is usually off the discount rack.   I find that with shopping this way, I am still able to be on trend without breaking the bank. 
If there is an item that is a bit trendier that I am into, then I try to find that item at a discount. This is usually when shopping the sale racks or shopping discount stores has it's benefits. If I really love an item, the price has to be right, especially if I know that the item just won't be in style the next season.
Those are my top five items that I can see most people are wasting their money on. How do you do?Are you one of the wasters or are you a saver?

1 comment

Crystal Rose said...

I'm guilty of buying myself an overpriced coffee or grocery store flowers once a week or week or so. It's $5 but it does make me feel good knowing it's a treat. For me it's an act of self-love. When I want cheap coffee while running errands I swing by Mcdonalds for a large iced hazelnut coffee (not latte). It's around 2 bucks and well worth the cost. Most of the time I make mine at home though. I think it's important to treat yourself to nice things within moderation. I like to live frugally and these small purchases help me to stop from going on a spending bender when the paycheck comes in.

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