The road to debt is paved with good intentions. That’s how that saying goes, right? If it isn’t, it should be.
To be clear, I’m not knocking altruism. I’m all for it!
My point is: The things you do to save money might actually be costing you more of it.
It’s one thing to blow money willfully. It’s something entirely different to blow money without even realizing it. But, it’s worst of all to blow money when you think you’re taking steps to save it.
It’s easier to do than you might think. These five tips are designed to help you avoid that unfortunate outcome and genuinely save you some cash.
Some of these suggestions are probably going to sound extremely uncomfortable. Bite the bullet and try them. In the long run, it’ll be medicine you’re glad you took.
1. Old Subscriptions
Do you only use HBO Go to watch Game of Thrones? If so, why on Earth would you pay for the subscription year-round when the show is only airing two and a half months?
How many of those 2000 channels do you really watch? Are you still hesitant to become a card-carrying cord-cutter? With everything moving online, it might just be cheaper to only pay for services like Hulu Plus. Hulu offers both classic TV shows and those currently airing for much less than traditional cable.
This one might be a shot to your ego, but are you really using that gym membership? It’s simple. Paying for things you don’t use is a waste of money.
2. Being Seduced by Coupons and Deals
Coupons and deals from a site like Ebates are amazing and can save you boatloads of cash…when used effectively. Coupons and deals are also a marketing technique. When not used properly, they can actually end up costing you more money than you would have spent in the first place.
A 90% off sale will probably get you into a store. However, if the item you buy isn’t one of the sales items, what was the point? You didn’t save anything. Worse yet, you may think you did. The same goes for a 4 for $10 special on an item that’s usually $4. That certainly seems like a deal. Each one is only $2.50 instead of $4. But do you really need 4? Because if you don’t $4 is still considerably less than $10. Try not to buy things you don’t need, just because they are available to you and seem like a good deal.
3. Throwing Food in the Trash
This goes far beyond the guilt trips about starving people around the world you got as a kid. Trashing food is a giant waste of money. Whether it’s because you allow it to go bad or because you simply decide you don’t want it anymore; that money could have been better spent elsewhere.
The most common cause of waste is from simply having too much. This happens a lot when you buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is typically presented as a cost-saving venture. If you’re not using what you buy are you really saving any money? Only buy what you’re fairly certain you’re going to use.
4. Impulse Buying
‘Want’ and ‘Need’ can look strikingly similar when the object of your desire is right in front of your face.
…At least temporarily.
A good rule of thumb is to give yourself a day or two to think it over. It allows that initial tidal wave of endorphins to subside and your more rational brain to regain the wheel. If you still feel like going out of your way to go back and buy it, then it’s less likely to be a purchase you’ll later regret.
5. Interest Payments
Unless it’s an emergency, paying with your credit card instead of debit or cash is going to end up costing you more in the long run. The mentality of – buying a big-ticket item with a credit card and only paying the minimum payment fee every month – may feel like a come-up in the short term. However, interest on that purchase may have you paying for that item for years and years to come, well past what it was originally worth. If you don’t immediately have the cash on hand, save until you do. Future-You will appreciate your foresight.
As difficult as parting with some of these things may seem; give it a try and see for yourself if you end up missing them. You can always get them back. Something tells me that you’ll like seeing your bank account rise.