When we talk about saving money, we only think about comparing different deals to find the best one, use coupons and discounts or switch to a lower grade/second hand product if possible. These usually seem to be the easiest ways when we are looking to save every possible penny and it’s obvious in today’s world to be savvy about our hard earned money. What we don’t realize is the amount of money that is being wasted on things that are simply ridiculous and too basic to waste money on. Let’s have a look at some stupid things that we waste money on and how we can go about curbing such wasteful spending:
1. Bottled Water – Bottled water adds up to a lot of unnecessary expenses especially during summers. We tend to avoid the inconvenience of carrying a water bottle from home before stepping out of the house and rely on purchasing a sealed bottle from the market. It may not look like a huge expense considering the fact that Water is a basic need and an average bottle of water barely costs $1.45. But when it ends up being a regular expense (an extra $40-45) in your monthly budget, you’ll be compelled to think if this expense is even worth it considering that you have an option of carrying a water bottle right from the home at nearly no cost.
2. Drinks & Popcorn at the movie theater – The exorbitant prizes of food & drink at movie theaters often leave me amazed. It’s a widely known fact that movie theaters make way more money from selling food than what they earn from selling movie tickets. Always make it a point to have food at home before leaving for a movie to avoid spending an unnecessary amount of money or eat out at a place that doesn’t leave a hole in your pocket after you have watched the movie.
3. Unused Gym memberships – People often end up subscribing for quarterly gym memberships as they are usually cheaper than monthly subscriptions. But most of them find it difficult to stick to a regular workout regime owing to their busy schedules and personal commitments. I have seen a lot of my friends give up on exercising after a month or two leaving the remaining part of their membership go waste. The cycle gets repeated and all that comes out of it is a significant amount of wasteful expenditure. Isn’t it more comfortable and economical to work out at home at a time that perfectly fits your schedule?
4. Food Wastage – Wasted food and improper meal planning accounts for an amount that can easily be saved without disturbing your existing budget. Use the leftovers to prepare your next meal, do an advanced meal planning to avoid last minute trips to the store and control the urge to do impulse shopping to avoid unnecessary food wastage.
5. Paper & plastic Products – Paper and plastic products might be convenient to use but they sure add up to a lot of expenses. While at hostel, I started using disposable plates and glasses to avoid the hassle of washing the dishes but it soon became a habit even when I had the time to do the dishes. It took me a while to get back in to the habit of using paper & plastic products only when necessary to avoid the wasteful spending. It’s best to use lunch containers instead of the sandwich bags to carry your lunch at work or at school. Avoid using paper cups, disposable glasses & plates and paper napkins to save a few extra dollars when possible.
6. Coffee Shop Trips – It’s human nature to head out for a quick coffee break while at work or in-between classes. Frequent coffee trips, with each cup of coffee asking for an average of $2.5-3, add up to a hell lot of expenses if you’re that person who cannot do without coffee. Now a $2.5 is a lot considering that the same cup of coffee costs less than 50 cents if brewed at home and even lesser if brewed several cups together. Now you know which of the two options – buying at the coffee shop or brewing at home – is easier on your pocket.
7. Eating out too often – With a significant rise in the standards of living and our lives becoming busy, we either feel too tired or too lazy to cook our own food leaving us with a couple of options – eat out or order in. The junk food industry is growing at a rapid pace making it obvious that a considerable amount of our money goes in towards eating out or ordering in. Opting in for a home cooked meal can easily save you a couple hundred dollars every month by reduced food wastage, re-usability of leftover food and savings from the overpriced restaurant meals.
8. Late fees on the bills – Do you often forget to pay your bills because you’re always too busy or are just short of cash for the time? Late fee charges on your credit card and utility bills can add up to a huge sum of money going wasted considering the fact that electricity companies and banks make millions every year in late fee charges. Always pay your bills before the due date to avoid paying the fine that is getting you nothing in return.
9. Expensive Cell Phone Plans – Increased smartphone usage comes with a need to have cell phone plans that can meet all your requirements. Cell phone bills can turn out to be huge if the benefits you are getting with the plan is more than what you actually need. Look for a plan that meets all your needs at a minimum monthly charge and monitor the usage to keep internet and call expenses in control.
10. Individually Packaged Foods – Individually packaged food ask for exorbitant premiums in exchange of the convenience factor. There’s no sense paying so much for the chopped food when all you need is a few minutes to do the job yourself at home.
11. Paperback Books – Paperback books are usually priced higher than e-books which makes latter a more preferred option now-a-days. With people turning environment friendly and smartphones becoming more accessible, the e-book industry is expected to go leaps and bounds in the coming future. So if you’re an avid reader, think about shifting to e-books rather than the paperback option to save yourself a few valuable dollars.
Money can’t be saved only in the form of discounts or by resorting to a frugal lifestyle. You can save a lot of money simply by paying attention to the things that you might be wasting money on in your day-to-day life. After all, any amount of money saved is the same amount of money earned.