5 Ways You’re Wasting Your Money Without Realizing It

We’re all guilty of wasting our money at times, but most of the time we realize we’re doing it. If we spend $500 on a pair of new shoes that we don’t need, we’re well aware that it could be a waste of money. However, there are several ways that people are making themselves poor without realizing it. We’re all guilty of at least a few of these.

#1: Buying in Large Quantities

Today, large warehouse-style stores like Costco and Sam’s Club that sell things in bulk have quickly become the norm. People see nothing wrong with purchasing a giant plastic container of cheese balls for five bucks, or those large shampoo bottles that are cheaper per ounce than regular-sized products.

If you continue to use products in the same manner that you do when you purchase regular-sized items, and if you use all of the things purchased in bulk, you do save money. Both of these things rarely happen.

The first way that this winds up costing you money is because we tend to use more of something when we have more. For example, when someone has a larger bottle of shampoo, they use a larger amount to wash their hair. When a household has 500 trash bags, no one seems concerned about wasting them when they take out a bag that is half empty. Because of this, most households wind up spending more money than they would have to buy normal-sized products.

Most households also run into the problem of foods going bad. Buying in bulk costs more money if the food is constantly thrown in the trash. Non-perishables, such as canned goods and pasta sides might not expire for a year. Perishable items often wind up getting tossed out or given to local food pantries, resulting in more money spent instead of saved.

#2: Taking Advantage of Sales

Buying things on sale seems like a great idea, and people can almost always find a great bargain on something. However, buying things just because they are on sale often winds up costing consumers more money.

The only time a person should buy something on sale is if they already need it. For example, if the kids desperately need school clothes, and the local department store is having a sale, it makes sense to pick them up school clothes at that time. This will save you money in the long run.

If the store is having a sale on candles, and they are bought simply because you love the design, there’s a partial chance that they will ever be used. Kitchen gadgets and clothes are often bought when they are on sale and are usually not needed. The low sale price makes us think we’re getting a great bargain, but we wind up wasting money as clothes are tossed in the back of the closet, and gadgets remain forgotten in the bottom cabinet.

#3: Convenience Always Costs More

Everyone is guilty of paying for convenience. When a person stops by Starbucks instead of making their own coffee or orders drop off grocery service, they are paying extra for the convenience. Other common things that most people find convenient yet pay more for, include;

  • Buying prepared goods instead of making your own
  • Fast food
  • Delivery services
  • Buying coffee
  • Buying cigarettes instead of rolling your own
  • Driving to a nearby store or paying for an Uber instead of walking

We all do at least a few of these things. Unfortunately, they cost much more. What we save in time, we have to spend money.

For example, even if you eat the dollar menu and only spend three dollars on a meal five days a week, that still amounts to spending $780 dollars a year. One pack of cigarettes a day at eight dollars a pack will cost almost $3000 a year.

We don’t always have the time or the option to save money instead of spending it on convenience. For example, those mornings that you forget to eat breakfast and have to grab something on the way to work. The one time that you’re sick and have to order groceries instead of heading to the grocery store is another example.

Don’t feel guilty about those times. Sometimes, we all wind up spending money on convenience. It can seem impossible to eliminate this from our lives. However, cutting back on the cost of convenience as much as possible can help you save a large amount of money.

#4: Food

One of the biggest things that we waste money on is food. The packages of pork chops that no one had time to cook and therefore they had to be thrown away. The expensive impulse buys. Paying a higher price for something because it’s labeled organic although the terms for organic are very loosely defined. Grocery stores wind up with a large portion of every household budget.

This one can be a bit tricky, though. It’s impossible to simply stop buying groceries for the house. However, there are quite a few things that households can do when they head to the grocery store to save money instead of spending more. Common tactics that people use to save money at the store include:

  • Using a calculator at the store to keep track of how much is spent
  • Buying products that are on sale, and making a meal out of them
  • Meal planning
  • Utilizing coupons, including digital coupons
  • Shopping at local markets for produce
  • Not taking children if you have a hard time saying no

Planning a grocery store trip, such as sticking to a list, using coupons, and utilizing meal planning can easily help households save hundreds of dollars a year.

#5: Housing and Utilities

Rent and utilities take up a significant portion of a person’s monthly budget. While we all need housing, electricity, and heat, there are ways to save money on these.

When searching for housing, opt for an area that is both safe and cost-effective. Moving three streets over might save a couple of hundred dollars a month. Opting for a room to rent instead of a one-bedroom apartment is another wonderful idea.  If moving is not an option, consider where to live when it does become possible.

Utilities are not cheap, especially during summer and winter months. Taking key steps, such as insulating the house properly and using energy-efficient light bulbs can help cut costs in this area. So can avoiding using an air conditioner and turning up the thermostat whenever possible. Instead, throw on a hoodie or pick up a lap blanket for chilly days. Sundresses are wonderful for keeping cool in the summer.

Every day, the world is full of people that work long days and nights. It is also packed with people that unintentionally are making themselves poor. This is because they are wasting their money in both small and large ways, and they do not realize the impact that it has one of their finances. Write down a monthly budget, and keep track of every penny that is spent. Then, you can see where your money is going, helping you determine which of these tips you need to live by to help you save money instead of spending it.

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