Many people don’t keep close track of their spending and have no idea how much money they spend each month on things they don’t need. Taking a look at some of the things you spend your money on can help you stop throwing away money. Here are 10 ways in which you may be throwing away your money.
You might not think you could throw away money on a staple you need for survival such as food, but most people probably spend a lot more than than they need to. For example, if you are eating out every day for lunch, you are likely throwing away money. Say you are conservatively spending $8 a day for lunch five days a week. That’s $40 a week. You could take your lunch every day for about $2 to $3 a day, saving $20 to $25 a week, which is over $1,000 a year.
It’s easy to throw money away by paying too much for insurance. With the various types you need, there are numerous opportunities for you to pay too much. For example, if you don’t bundle policies with the same insurer, you could be missing out on discounts of 10 percent or more. You also might have lower deductibles than you need. If you have a $500 deductible on your car insurance, for instance, your premium will be higher than if your deductible is $1,000. You can also save on car insurance by not carrying coverages you don’t need, such as comprehensive.
3. Credit cards
If you are carrying monthly balances on your credit cards, you are likely throwing away a ton of money. Even the best credit cards have interest rates in the double-digit range, meaning you can rack up significant finance charges on even small balances. If you can’t afford to pay off your balance each month, you should stick to cash. Other ways you wind up throwing away money with credit cards is paying extra fees for things such as late payments or cash advances and failing to fully take advantage of any rewards programs. If you are carrying high-rate credit card balances, look into balance transfer deals that will allow you to get a lower rate.
4. Utility bills
Another easy way to throw away money is to pay too much on your utility bills, such as your electric and gas bills. Remembering to shut off lights when you leave a room, lowering your thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer and quickly fixing small plumbing leaks are all ways you can cut down on unnecessary spending on utility bills. You can also do more pro-active things, such as using energy-efficient light bulbs, weather stripping doors and windows and installing water-saving devices.
Few people want to live cooped up as a hermit in their own homes, but you could be wasting a lot of money entertaining yourself. For example, if you go to the movies weekly, you could be spending $40 to $50 a month just on tickets. Stay in and watch a movie a couple of times a month instead and you will cut that expenditure in half. The same goes for other events. Taking in a free play or concert instead of paying to see major acts can save you a lot of money.
Alcohol and coffee are two drinks that can drain your wallet quickly. If you get a daily latte, it’s probably costing you $3 or more a day. Brew your own and you can cut that cost in half or more. Likewise, if you go out for drinks a couple of times a week, you can spend a significant amount of money. Inviting friends over instead and buying a bottle of wine of six pack of beer can be a much cheaper option.
If you smoke, you definitely are throwing away money. A pack-a-day smoker can easily spend $2,000 or more in a year on his habit. In addition, smokers are more likely to have health problems and miss days of work, which costs additional money. Quitting smoking can save you big time.
You don’t have to go to the casino to throw away considerable amounts of money gambling. Simply playing the lottery or buying scratch cards regularly can mean you are throwing away hundreds of dollars a year, with very little chance of winning much if anything. Illegal gambling, such as card games and betting on sporting events, is another good way to waste your money.
Unless you need your land-line phone line for DSL Internet, there’s probably no need to have a wired phone at all. You can stick with just a wireless phone, but make sure you don’t throw money away there, either. Don’t opt for unlimited talk, text and data plans if you don’t need them. Gauge your usage for a month or two, and if you can, move to a cheaper plan.
10. Cable TV and Internet
One of the biggest areas where people waste money is on their cable TV and Internet bills. For example, one cable movie channel usually costs as much or more per month as a streaming movie service. You also want to make sure you aren’t paying for tiers of channels you don’t use, such as a sports tier if you aren’t a sports fan. If you watch mostly scripted shows and don’t mind waiting on new episodes, you can cut the cable cord altogether and rely on streaming services. On the Internet side, make sure you know how much data speed you really need and don’t pay too much. And make sure to bundle your TV and Internet service if you can, because you are likely to save on your monthly bill.
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