It’s not until that light bulb moment goes off that you realize exactly what’ve you done. Sometimes you waste money by not paying enough attention and at other times you actually think you’re saving.
I’ve been there. Done that. With the best of intentions my efforts to save have actually cost me money. And they might be costing you, too.
Here are five ways that you could be wasting money.
Taking Advantage Of Deals
When you find an amazing deal you get an adrenaline rush. It makes you feel really good for a little while regardless of what the deal is. And there lies the problem – finding great deals is all about the hunt not the end result.
This is something you have to be really aware of. If you’re taking advantage of deals on things that you didn’t need in the first place you’re not actually saving money, you’re spending it.
I like to think of my budget as always being $0 per month. Everything I spend on needs to be a choice. And when I do spend, I make sure I take advantage of all the ways possible to save money.
Beyond deals, what about getting paid for things you already do? This is one of the things I love Ebates for! Ebates is an online rebate center where you can get rewarded for the shopping you already do. I earn about $100 per month by simply going to Ebates before all my online shopping!
Using Coupons To The Extreme
The thing that most annoyed me about TLC’s popular show Extreme Couponers is how the couponers would claim to be “saving” all kinds of money but were actually just getting items they’d never use.
Coupons can do that to you.
When you see you can get something that normally costs $10 for only a $1, you want to buy it! The problem is if you’re spending that $1 on something you’re not going to use you aren’t saving money – you’re wasting money!
The same also goes for free things. You’re not actually saving money just because you got something for free that you’ll never use. You’re just hoarding.
This example is exactly like the deal scenario. You get a rush from finding that awesome bargain but truth be told, you’re not actually saving yourself anything!
Paying Annual Credit Card Fees
Do you know how many credit card offers there are available? If not, let me tell you, there is some fierce competition in the credit card market!
The credit card issuers are already making bank by collecting interest and late fees, they don’t need to charge an annual fee to make money and many of them don’t. If you’re currently paying hefty annual fees on your credit card then it might be time to make the switch.
Do keep in mind though, cancelling a credit card you’ve had open for a long time can cause a temporary hit to your credit score. If you’re in the market for a loan (like a mortgage) then you might want to wait to cancel.
Along these same lines, many college graduates are paying interest rates on student loans of 6%, 7%, and 8% or even higher when they could be paying much lower rates by refinancing their student loans. Private student loan refinancing lenders with refinance private and federal student loans to rates starting as low as 1.9% APR (as of August, 2015). Visit Credible to get a free estimate of how much you could save by refinancing your student loans in 30 seconds. If you could realize savings, you can then also receive and compare offers from multiple lenders after completing their short form.
Buying Too Much in Bulk
I was recently cleaning out my cabinets and the amount of expired food I had to throw away was a little embarrassing. Especially since I’ve been on a recent kick to keep by food bill super low.
Over the past year I had been buying a lot of things in bulk from warehouses. While there are things that I definitely save on by buying in bulk (like Powerade, fruit snacks, and juice boxes) there’s honestly also a lot of items that won’t get used before they expire.
When it comes cents to cents you can save a little money buying items in bulk. However, if those items get thrown away then it’s a big waste.
When you’re buying in bulk only purchase items that you absolutely know will get used up in a timely manner and things that have a long shelf life.
It’s cheaper to buy the other items in smaller packages!
And remember, those “Buy More, Save More” promotions don't really help you save.
Not Taking Full Advantage of a 401k Match
Do you have a 401k? Does your employer offer a match? If you’re not taking it you’re passing up free money!!
If you're not sure of what you should be doing in your 401k, consider using a service like Blooom – which manages your 401k for you for a low monthly fee of just $10. On top of that, Blooom is available to answer pretty much any financial question you may have. Check out Blooom here.
What Did I Miss?
Those are five very common ways of wasting money, however I’m sure there are many more.
Be on the lookout. Sometimes our brain tricks us into thinking we’re saving when we’re actually not. Once you become aware of this you’ll have a much easier time overcoming it.
What else would you add to the list?