Don’t Waste Your Money on These 10 Things

Stop wasting your money!  Sometimes we spend money on certain things without even thinking about it.  When you’re on a fixed budget every dollar has to count.  Instead of wasting your money on unnecessary things wouldn’t you rather spend on things that matter more to you?

If you’re looking for a painless way to trim your budget here’s a list of money wasters to get you started.

1.  Insisting on brand loyalty

Sure, we all have our brand favourites but buying store and generic brands is often one of the most underused ways to save money on a range of products.  Check the labels.  In most cases the ingredients are pretty much identical and can save you up to 25 per cent or more.  This applies to food and household products, skincare and over the counter and prescription medication.

2.  Buying in bulk

It’s easy to get carried away when you walk through a warehouse club like Costco.  Determine how much you really need and then consider the price.  If it’s more than you can reasonably use before the stuff turns stale, rotten or past expiration – or you just don’t need it- you’re throwing money into the garbage.  If you must buy in large quantities invest in a vacuum sealing machine or a large freezer for storage.

3.  Buying from TV infomercials

TV products are overpriced, and they hardly ever turn out as depicted.  Plus, shipping and handling costs can be enormous.  If you’re still tempted to buy, most items are available at many retail stores, often at sale prices and you save the shipping charges. 

4.  Failure to return items

It doesn’t fit right, or the colour is wrong, or it was just a plain mistake, but who has time to trek back to the store?  You do.  If you still have receipts, try to get a refund for all new items with tags or original packaging.  At least get a store credit, otherwise it’s a waste of money when the item is sitting unused in a cupboard or closet.

5.  Late fees

Don’t be a late payer.  Late fees on credit card accounts, loans, rent, property taxes and invoices can be extremely high. Even library late fees can add up if you forget to return the items.  Record due dates in your planner and pay on time.  If you do incur a late fee, call immediately.  Most creditors will waive the fee if you have a good payment record.

6.  Bank fees

Banks are always coming up with new accounts and if your circumstances have changed – e.g. you no longer have as many debits going through your account – see if there is a better option for you – many are free.  Watch out for overdraft fees.  Keep a close eye on your accounts.  A small slip-up can easily turn a $8 burger into a $40 overdraft fee plus at least 21% interest until the OD is covered.  If you need cash use your bank’s ATM rather than using other machines or get cash back at the register when you shop.

7.  Extended warranties

Extended warranties are mostly profit for the retailer and they’re starting to apply to even inexpensive products.  I was asked if I wanted to purchase a two-year warranty for a crib toy!   Generally, if an item is going to fail, it will do so early on and the manufacturer’s warranty will cover it.  

If you do opt for the warranty on a large ticket item, be sure to read the fine print.  The coverage likely is not what you think it is.

8.  Paying for storage

If you’ve got so much stuff that you need to pay to store it, you’ve got too much stuff.  Period.  Take the plunge and unload everything you don’t use or need.  Turn what you can into cash or give away still serviceable items to charities like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Related:  When Your Needs are Actually Wants

9.  Not taking advantage of available discounts

Do you ask for senior’s discounts?  Most places offer them but sometimes don’t explicitly publicize it.  Always call your agent to review your homeowner and auto insurance policies before renewal to see if you qualify for additional discounts.  You new car might have more than the basic safety equipment or you’ve paid off your mortgage or installed a home protection system.   Look for promo codes when purchasing something online.

Related:  Stretching Your Retirement Dollars

10.  Not checking your subscriptions

It’s great to get that 30 or 60-day free trial of movies, streaming, gym memberships, online newspapers and magazines. Are they still of use to you after the trial period is over?  Recurring payments are automatically deducted from your account or credit card if you don’t cancel – not so great.  Often people just pay their bills without going through them.  Take note of when the trial period will expire and cancel those services that you no longer want so you’re not charged for them.

The bottom line

No-one likes to waste their hard-earned money on things that don’t really add any value to their lives.

Each person’s budget is different, and you may have your own particular budget leaks that drain money from your wallet.

What would you add to my list?

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