Did you know that over 80% of Americans admit to wasting money in one way or another?
Everyone knows you shouldn’t pay a late fee or buy a last minute candy bar while waiting in the checkout line, so I’ve got 15 other mindless ways you’re wasting money, and how to combat them so you can keep your money IN your wallet instead.
Let’s be honest with ourselves and take a look:
I also spoke about this topic on on Fox TV on 10/1/17. Please watch the replay video here:
1. Grocery Shopping When You’re Hungry
We all know how frustrating it is to shop for groceries when you’re hungry, even just barely hungry.
The only thing worse than shopping hungry is shopping hungry without a list. That is a disaster. Make yourself a quick and dirty list — even if it’s just on your phone in the parking lot before you enter the store.
Get ahead of the hanger by keeping a snack bar in your purse, or a packet of almonds, or just splurge and buy those items up front, then eat one and keep shopping. It’ll save you later.
2. Grocery Shopping Without A Time Constraint
If you want to spend less on your groceries, you’ve gotta stop leisurely grocery shopping. There are even scientific studies proving how you spend more money the longer you stay in a store.
Trust me, I know how it goes… it’s fun to compare products and explore the new items and samples, WATCH OUT FOR SAMPLE LADIES!
Instead, make your trip when you have other errands to do and only a certain amount of time to do them, you’re less likely to spend time exploring all the isles and picking up more food than you originally planned on buying.
3. Grocery Shopping More Than Once A Week
If marketers have figured out that you spend more money when you stay in the store, imagine how much more you spend if they you go back several times a week?!
I realize we don’t like to deny ourselves, but if you simply delay going to get those extra items you are missing until your one weekly shopping trip once or twice, then you’ll get into a habit of buying more appropriately to fit your families needs.
4. Buying Individually Packaged Foods
Baby carrots? Sliced apples? Veggie Platters? Grab your chef’s knife and start chopping! There is no reason to pay extra just to have these items chopped up already.
Peel your own carrots, cut up your own apple and veggies for the platter, and watch the savings add up too.
5. Check “Inventory” Before You Shop
How many times have you gotten back from the store only to find that you bought something you already had on hand?
I have done this countless times with spices. I can never remember if I have paprika or celery seed, so I buy it when I’m at the store and spices can get expensive! Especially if it is a last minute and you haven’t planned with a coupon!
You’ve gotta get into the habit of checking your pantry for ingredients before you head out.
This is not just for your food pantry. Think about those office supplies you overbuy because you are unsure you have enough at home.
I have done this countless times with tape. Finally, I decided to create a “Tape Drawer”. Yes, I realize it sounds kinda ridiculous, but it works. I no longer buy tape when I’m out getting wrapping paper. I know I have it at home in the Tape Drawer!
If I know I’m headed to buy a gift, before I leave I pull out all the items I’m gonna need to get that present ready for the recipient. Tape? Check! Card? Check! Gift Bag? Nope… but I’ve got tissue paper or Newspaper comics so that’s taken care of as well. Check! Now, when I go to the store I am not sideswiping my budget and spending money on things I already have!
6. Husbands: Buying A Snack When You Fill Up
I can’t tell you how many times James and I have had an argument because our gas budget went outta control.
It turned out he was eating a hot dog meal every time he went to pay inside at the gas station.
The best way to win over this, is to use cash. When you’re out, your out. We decided that James would pay cash for gas and that way he could still have the “treat” but within the limits of our budget!
7. Wives: Making In-App Game Purchases
I once had an obsession with the Tap Fish app. I was playing it along with my children and no matter how many fish I bred I still needed to buy them.
When the cell phone bill came I realized that those little $4.99 purchases for “coins” significantly added up!
Suddenly I was feeling shame and regret instead of victory.
Remove your credit card info from any sites or apps where you play games, and if you get really frustrated by a level you just can’t seem to beat, Google a cheat or how-to guide. So many people on the internet are willing to share their strategies with you! Let them!
8. Buying Men’s or Woman’s Specific Items
I was so frustrated to learn that woman’s products costs an average of 7% more than mens.
When my local news station took identical men’s and woman’s products to the pharmacy for a formal comparison, they found that woman’s items had more moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients making them cost more.
But razors? C’mon now. I’ve used both, and I prefer the men’s.
The only difference I noticed, was in the way it was packaged.
9. Go To BED (Energy Drinks)
Do you have an energy drink habit? Then I’m gonna have to give you some tough love and tell you to “kick it to the curb” if you want to save money.
Those things aren’t cheap, and chances are you eventually have to start drinking more than one a day to keep them working effectively because your body will begin to tolerate them.
If this habit is due to poor sleep, think of the money your sleep habits are costing you as an extra motivator to change them.
There could be a number of health issues causing you to feel drained, and one trip to the doctor will be worth it to find out how to fix it.
10. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Were you aware that sometimes too much wiggle room can actually worsen your car’s gas mileage?
Keeping your tires properly inflated will help you save money on gas you didn’t even know you were losing.
Set up a regular alert on your phone or try to check them the first fill up of the month so you don’t forget to check.
11. Paying for Kids Meals
Every day of the week there is a restaurant where kids eat free.
When we decide to go out to eat, we think…which restaurant has “Kids Eat Free” today?
As you go to your favorite restaurants find out what days they offer kids eat free, then note it in a little calendar so you will have it next time!
Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday offer them very consistently, just sign up for their email to be alerted!
Want to try a new restaurant where Kids Eat Free? Visit MyKidsEatFree.com and look up your town. They list restaurants and show the days. I’d just make sure to call ahead to verify!
12. Annual Magazine Subscriptions
For a while I absolutely LOVED to get the Consumer Reports “Shop Smart” magazine (unfortunately it is no longer available). I would pay $5 for that magazine and devour it when I got home.
When I realized it only cost $22 to get 12 issued delivered to my house, I felt like a fool for wasting all that money. PLUS I would’ve gotten it in my hands (delivered straight to my home) before it even hit the stores! BOOM!
Now I know that almost every magazine eventually comes up for FREE! Check out all the FREE Annual Magazine Subscriptions you can get right now here (I update it that list every single week).
13. Paying For Shipping When Shopping Online
Shipping is another one of those things I never pay for.
A Free Shipping Promo Code is always just a google search away.
If you must order online and can’t avoid a shipping fee, check and see if they offer a “ship to store” option to make the shipping FREE and then simply pick your shipment up at the store on your next errand run.
14. ATM Fees (And A Solution)
I hate to even mention this bullet point, but I learned this past week that many of my friends, who have children, don’t think about the alternative to the inconvenience of getting money out of their out-of-network ATM. They just want to use the drive through and get cash wherever they can.
But it’ll cost you over $4 to withdraw money from an out-of-network ATM. And there’s no reason to pay those fees.
Here’s a simple solution: Get cash when you make another purchase! So many stores offer a “cash back” option when you are already buying something. Especially the grocery stores. Don’t make a second trip to the drive through at someone else’s bank when you can get your cash and a candy bar and save money at the same time!
Heck, buying a 79¢ unneeded candy bar will save you $3.21 over the ATM fee you would’ve spent.
15. Leaving Electronic Items On
The hair straightener. The cable box. You may not think these things are costing you anything, but check out your electric bill after making a conscience effort to turn these types of items off when they’re not in use and you’ll probably notice a significant difference.
You can thank me after you read these other tips for reducing your electric bill without turning up the thermostat.
YOUR TURN: Comment below with other ways you’ve found to not waste money! I’d love to hear them!