When you make big-money purchases on things such as travel, eating out, and electronics, you always look for the best deal. But you could be wasting money in other ways and not even know it. Here are five expenses and habits that could be costing you money.
Paying for Premium Cable
Many people who pay for cable watch less than 10 percent of the channels available. Cable with premium channels can cost as much as $300 per month. That’s a huge expense. Instead of spending your hard-earned money on channels that you don’t even watch, consider cutting the cable. Going cold turkey on cable can be a challenge, so try eliminating the premium channels first. Save more money by cutting off cable and instead subscribing to cheaper online services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon.com.
Name-Dropping While Shopping
Brand-name items at many stores can cost up to 50 percent more than the generics. But what are you really getting for the extra money? Many store and generic brands have the same ingredients as the brand-name products, and are more reasonably priced. Most grocery and drug stores have store-brand products for food, skincare, and over-the-counter medications that will save you money.
Try the store or generic brand of your favorite brand-name item to compare the taste or quality. Also, instead of paying for an expensive brand name prescription, ask your doctor to prescribe or your pharmacist to give you the generic version of your medication. Stop the name-dropping while shopping, and save some extra bucks.
Visiting the Vending Machine
Hitting the vending machine a few times a week seems harmless. However, the cost of those overpriced chips, crackers, candy bars, or colas can add up and damage your budget.
Instead of wasting money hitting the vending machine, buy your favorite munchies or drinks in bulk at the grocery store. Make this transition more fun by paying yourself for the snack, putting the money you would have paid at the vending machine into a snack money jar. When the jar is full, use the money you’ve saved to add to your savings account or buy yourself something special.
Unplanned Grocery Store Trips
One of the biggest budget busters are unplanned trips to the grocery store. Going to the grocery store without a list can cause you to overspend by buying items you don’t need. And multiple weekly trips makes money disappear from your account quickly and regularly.
Save lots of time and money by planning your grocery store trips with a list of items you need within a set, budgeted amount. Consider the items that run out fast and causes the multiple trips to the grocery store, and buy them in bulk.
“Buy one, get one” (BOGO) offers seem like a great deal. However, BOGOs can be bogus and a budget buster if you didn’t have any plans to purchase the items in the first place. These deals cause you to spend more money than planned because of the illusion of saving money.
Avoid the BOGO hype by only getting the “buy one, get one” deals for items on your shopping list. Or, get the BOGOs for items that you use, eat, or wear frequently, so you can save and stock up.
Making minor adjustments with these money wasters will help to save you lots of cash and help improve your financial situation.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
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