We're always on the lookout for ways to save more money, but sometimes we need to take a step back and realize ways in which we're actually wasting money.
Since money was invented, people have been doing their level best to acquire it. There’s no wonder why: the abundance of money in one’s pockets equals freedom.
Money can sometimes be difficult to earn, let alone save. If you are an employee, you have to trade off eight hours each and every day in order to put food on the table. If you do the math and check the latest studies, 1/3 of your life is spent at work. If you’re an entrepreneur, you might work even more than that.
So, let’s draw a conclusion: Most of our lives gravitate around money, and without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive today.
To continue the thought process, how well are you managing your time and your money? Are you treating both with respect? Are you neglecting your time for the money you need? Are you mistreating them? Are you wasting them?
We're always on the lookout for ways to save more money, but sometimes we need to take a step back and realize ways in which we're actually wasting money or our time.
Taking advantage of special deals
When you’re shopping online or offline, you’ll come across a lot of special deals, discounts, and coupons. For example, $1 products that would otherwise sell for $10 are extremely tempting. The fear of missing out is a common and effective strategy used by brands to trigger quick emotional buying responses.
When you buy a $1 product that you’ll likely never use, you are basically wasting money. If you buy some unhealthy products because they’re at discount, you are sacrificing your physical health for your financial health. In the long term, the medical bills could cost more than the money you have saved when purchasing that product.
Obviously, if you have a well-defined grocery list and the products that you’re looking for have a good promotion or sale price, you should go for it. However, never fall into the retailers' spending traps unless you absolutely need what you’re about to buy.
Impulse shopping is one of the quickest ways to overrun your budget. You think you know what you have to get, but that great jacket you’ve just noticed is smiling at you. You buy it, and suddenly your planned budget is gone. You now have to get more money to buy what you actually need right now, like food, or increasing your emergency fund or other necessary stuff.
If you want to be a money saver, you should acknowledge your impulsive purchasing behaviors. Whether you do it online or offline, spending money on things that immediately promise pleasure, status, or appreciation from others may provide a moment of happiness, which will vanish when you have to pay bills and realign your budget.
Forgetting about subscriptions
Last year, you might have subscribed to a service that was relevant to you. The price was so small that you haven’t even paid much attention or even received a free trial. $5 per month for this immediate solution? Great, you said.
A year has passed, and a year's worth of money is missing from your bank account. You might be thinking that it’s a problem with your bank, but it's that service that isn't really serving you well. You may realize that you have five running subscriptions that “steal away” over $100 dollars each month.
Subscriptions – never forget to cancel them as soon as you stop using them, or set up automated reminders to help you track them.
Using your credit card because it's easy
Using a credit card all the time might be convenient, but it brings a tricky and unexpected disadvantage. On the other hand, when you use cash or your debit card, you feel something different because you actually feel the trade-off, or it takes your money from your account now, not at the end of the month. You realize that you’re exchanging your hard-earned money for the product in front of you.
Your purchasing decisions might be influenced by the convenience and simplicity of the trade, and that’s never good when you want to save money.
Eating — and drinking — out
Think about it. When you’re commuting to work, how many coffees are you buying each week? How about each month? How about each year? Try limiting yourself to one day each week rather than eliminating the cost altogether. Pacing yourself will get you on a financially healthier routine.
When you go to a restaurant if you order bottled water, you're pinching your budget, too. Instead, carry your own bottle of water, your own thermos of coffee, and maybe some soup at your desk in case you get hungry. Prepare for these needs at home, and you’ll save a lot of money along the way.
Buying too cheap or too expensive products
If you choose a cheap product over an expensive one, you’re often sabotaging yourself. This isn't about choosing a brand name over a no-name, but considering products that often offer the same (or less) quality and value. There are plenty of second-hand options for clothing or fashion items if you want higher quality at an easier-to-manage price.
When it comes to electronics, choosing something cheap can lead to a higher likelihood it might break or fail sooner than you expect. If you buy these used, you might find yourself throwing that piece of technology in a matter of weeks.
If you seek furniture, a car, or a bike, buying them at thrift stores or an online marketplace is quite advisable!
Paying for things you can do yourself
If you're handy with tools, or you can sew or knit, you may not take the time to put those skills to good use. But there comes a time when you might weigh the cost to your budget, versus the cost of your time.
After many satisfying tradeoffs by having others do the work for you, you may come to realize that you are spending too much money on something you could do yourself. You might also be a quick learner of new skills with a few online videos.
We all have our commodities. If you allow them to thrive and influence your purchasing decisions all the time, you might be wasting a lot of money without even realizing it. You might even be able to develop a side hustle with those skills and generate money to beef up your budget.
Buying too much in bulk
Buying in bulk is tempting, and for good reasons. A lot of bulk items are a smart purchase because the per-unit price is cheaper, but make sure what you are stocking up on isn't something that can go bad. We may know how this works when we stockpile toilet paper, but if you aren't going to use it in the near future, it may not be as good of an investment as putting those funds into your emergency financial stash.
Procrastinating or playing the odds
Planning a trip in a few months? Don't procrastinate on buying those plane tickets or booking that hotel room. Chances are, the prices will increase, especially at the last moment. Sure, last-minute deals are great, but they're hard to come by, and not a smart way to plan for your travel.
Choosing convenience over savings
Whether it's paying for a cab, instead of hopping on public transportation, or ordering out instead of cooking at home, there's always a more appealing, more convenient option out there. Purchases of convenience may seem to have a relatively low upfront cost, and while that may be true in the short term, over time those low costs pile up.
Meal planning doesn't need to be elaborate, but just like checking out a bus schedule, a little advance effort can improve your monthly expenses.
There's never a bad time to start saving, and if you do have to spend some money, make it work for you with a little reward for all your hard work.
Reap the benefits of saving, not spending
All of us crave more money, one way or another. You may work overtime for it, or worse, you may damage your overall health and financial well-being for money. If you are wasting your money, stop right now. Be proud of your money and how hard you work for it. Make it work for you and help you increase your long-term financial success.