My grandmother always used the phrase “throwing money out the window.” It’s sage advice in a time, decades later, where it truly means something to all of us. Saving money isn’t an easy concept. In thinking about those figurative rainy days, it feels like we have been engulfed in one rain storm after another. How often do we dip into our savings, not for the dreams of a future vacation or buying something special for the home, but to use for an unexpected and expensive bill? We’ve been taught to buy new and the very best; yet, this philosophy on shopping is no longer cost effective. In fact, you may be wasting money in extremely common and overlooked ways.
Buying Brand Name Products
If you have ever looked at the label and compared a brand name to a generic, you will discover that, often, the only difference is the price. From food to skin care to medications, there is an unfavorable perception connected to the word “generic.” The average savings is 30%; yet, comparing shopping opportunities can save you 50% on some products. The next time you are requesting medication from the pharmacy, ask about the savings in using a generic brand. It may be the relief your pocket needs.
Buying Used or Second Hand
I sympathize with avid readers who effortlessly devour one book after another. The problem is, books are pricey. I can buy a used book in good condition at a fraction of the price, and it often appears brand new. We can apply this same theory to other items, too. Consignment boutiques and salvage yards are wonderful ways to save money while finding exactly what we want.
Paying Credit Card Interest
Sometimes, the price was so wonderful, the deal so grand, that you couldn’t pass it up. Without cash, the item was placed on a credit card. Paying interest on purchases is an expensive habit. On your statement, credit card companies will tell you exactly how much money you have invested annually in interest. Sadly, $4,000 at 14.95% interest will total over $600 a year. One of the most difficult ways to save is to eliminate credit card debt, and curb those impulses to charge.
Utility and Cable Bills
Through a programmable energy efficient thermostat, technology has assisted our efforts to save money. Throughout the seasons, the temperature can be scheduled to accommodate a household’s traffic, day and night. Otherwise, the thermostat should be manually adjusted. Turning off lights, tossing wool balls into your dryer, reducing water usage, and hanging blackout curtains, for instance, is an effort that assists in reducing our monthly costs. You can start questioning whether the service or “use” justifies the amount paid each month. For instance, “Do I really need a land line?” or “Are the premium cable channels necessary, especially when I pay to stream movies?” Did you know most utility and cable companies offer a discount of retention year after year? The only way to determine your eligibility and savings is to call.
Buying Food or Drinks on the Go
Every now and then you stop to buy a quick, ready-made meal, or snacks and a drink. While it may appear to be just a few dollars here and there, it adds up to a significant amount at the end of the month. Become a planner and start packing extra vegetables or fruits to snack on at the office or while you run errands. Buying a case of bottled water or your preferred drink from a warehouse store will increase your savings exponentially.
“I lost my keys again!” is a common sentiment expressed through anger and worry. Sometimes, the only solution is to pay a locksmith. Stop and truly consider how many times you have spent money on an item that was deemed lost. It happens. We replace items of convenience, such as remote controls for our garages and televisions, and dog leads, for example. Start thinking about an organizational system. How about placing a basket right inside the front door for your keys, or a hook on the wall for the dog leads?
With these simple tips, you will eliminate needless spending and start saving. It might not be easy, especially at first, but you will quickly see how investing in change will result in a feeling of financial empowerment!