You may be pretty confident that you’re good at saving money. But did you know you might be throwing money away and not even know it? Even if you think you’re living a frugal lifestyle, there are many things we all do everyday that are both a waste of time and money.
We can always improve upon our savings habits, and stash away more money. Even though I try my best, I know that I’m often throwing away my money on the most frivolous things.
Put yourself to the test and see if you’re guilty of one of these biggest money wasters:
- Gym Membership: A gym membership isn’t a waste of money as long as you use it a lot. However, most people don’t and end up wasting money every month. Instead of spending as much as $100 each month on a gym membership, opt to exercise from home or outdoors instead. You can workout whenever you want and it’s free. All you need are a pair of sneakers. There are plenty of great YouTube videos and apps, like Couch to 5K, to keep you motivated. Or you can go outside for a nice hike, run, or walk.
- Cable TV: Even if you watch a lot of TV, cable can be a waste of money. First, you’re paying a lot of money each month to watch TV and you still have to sit through all the commercials. Second, you can watch most shows online now for free now. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a Netflix or Hulu subscription, which is less than $10 a month.
- Banking Fees: If you’re still paying fees on your checking account, you’re putting money in the wrong bank. There are plenty of banks that offer free checking with no obligations and no minimums. Similarly, you should never pay for ATM fees either. By simply planning ahead a day or two, you can easily visit one of your local branches to withdraw money and avoid these fees.
- Lottery: At one point or another, we’ve all have big dreams of winning the lottery and retiring early. Yes, it would be amazing to spend $1 on a lottery ticket and get $100 million dollars in return if you win. But honestly, you have a better chance of getting struck by lightening. It’s only a buck for a dream but at the same time, you could be saving that dollar.
- Anti-Virus Software: As long as you own a computer, you should always have anti-virus software. But it can get expensive. Spending a few hundred dollars just to protect your computer from a virus you may or may not come across seems excessive. But lucky for us, there are quality anti-virus software available to download for free. Avast is a great option, but there others available as well. They’re absolutely free and offer you complete protection.
- Cigarettes: Cigarettes are not only a big waste of money, but as you’re well aware, they’re a health hazard. If you’re a smoker, invest your time and money into quitting this habit instead. You’ll save a lot and be all-around healthier.
- Bottled Water: Bottled water is much more expensive compared to tap water. Essentially you’re paying the markup just for the convenience. Next time you go out, bring a reusable water bottle with you. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also better for the environment.
- Utilities: Especially in the wintertime, utilities can make up a large part of your monthly expenses. It’s actually really easy to shave down your utility bill without having to change your lifestyle much at all. For instance; switch to energy saving light bulbs instead, or turn down your thermostat a few degrees. These changes are small but the savings can add up.
- Alcohol: It’s arguable whether alcohol is a waste of money of not. Not everyone is willing to give up alcohol but you don’t have to. Just be smarter about what and when you drink. If you’re going out, make sure to go when the bar is having a happy hour. If you don’t mind staying in, just grab a couple bottles of good wine. It’s much cheaper than going out and spending $15 on a single drink.
- Food: Food is a necessity to survive but you don’t have to waste so much of your hard-earned money on it. The first thing to stop doing is eating out. Treat yourself once-in-awhile but cooking at home is so much cheaper and healthier. Next, embrace leftovers. If you can’t finish your meal, make another portion of it. Plus, a lot of food is even better on the second day.
Watching where you spend your money takes minimal effort but can ward off lifestyle creep, excessive spending, and even missing out on savings.
Most of these tips are simple and easy to do but you’ll be saving a nice chunk of change in the long run. Take 10 minutes this week to evaluate your budget and see if you’re guilty of throwing away your money when there are cheaper (and sometimes better) options available.
What’s your favorite money saving tip? Are there other things we may be wasting money on and not realize it?