At some point, we have all wasted money on something. But many consumers make a habit of it. Ironically, these same consumers often complain they have no money to put into savings.
If you want to save, look at how you spend on the small stuff. So…if you don’t want to kick your daily coffee shop habit, how can you shave something off your current expenses to find money to save?
Here’s my list of 12 expenses I avoid so I can add to my savings account:
On banking and using credit/debit cards, cut out:
1. ATM fees – Out-of-network withdrawals cost you, so use ATMs affiliated with your own bank.
2. Bank finance charges – insufficient funds fees, low balance fees.
3. Credit card fees – annual fees, cash advance fees, late payment fees, over-the-limit fees.
On traveling and entertainment, cut out…
4. Extra airline fees – like paying for early boarding, special seats, on-board snacks.
5. Cable television/satellite radio – packages for stations you don’t use or rarely watch.
6. Memberships – for exercise, events, or lessons you rarely attend. (Intentions don’t count.)
7. Subscriptions – to books, magazines, newspapers you don’t get around to reading.
On incidentals, cut out…
8. Postage and envelopes to pay bills – online bill pay is cheaper, safer, quicker.
9. New cell phones – or contract changes before your current one expires.
10. Extended warranties – for appliances, electronics, and other items.
11. Extra fees for shipping packages – Overnight or speedy delivery, oversize boxes.
12. Low deductibles for insurance. Raise your deductible (what you must pay upfront for a claim) even a little, and you will see a savings.
And finally, there’s a #13….food. Yes, food.
Most people don’t realize how much money is wasted on food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a low-cost food plan for a family of four is roughly $150 per week. A liberal plan is about $300 per week, which is food consumed at home.
Actually, food (and drink) is the single largest expense category you can control, because most other expenses (housing, transportation, medical costs, insurance, etc.) are locked in amounts. Wasting food is throwing money in the trash.
How do we waste food? I bet you can relate to these 6 examples:
• Not using food by the expiration date, so it rots. Has that happened to your lettuce or bananas lately?
• Buy too much, either at a restaurant or grocery store. Have you added appetizers or dessert when the entrée ordered would have been enough, or bought 10 lbs. of potatoes instead of 5?
• Tossing out instead of saving leftovers. Okay, they got hidden in the frig, but why didn’t you plan to eat or make soup from that extra chicken?
• Buying expensive or gourmet brands instead of generic. Perhaps you can’t go without those organic strawberries at $7 per pound?
• Not comparison shopping. So you paid more per ounce for the “economy size” or you didn’t want to drive to the more thrifty store?
• Buying a high-priced snack or bottle of water. You forgot to plan ahead and bring your own?
For more ideas, download my free”50 Ways to Be a Saver” here.