Do you waste money? Do you misuse it to the point that you might as well set it on fire? Do you have money to burn? I am sure you don’t think you do. No one wants to waste money but we often do unknowingly. There are more money wasters out there than I can list in the blog. After you have read my top ten ideas for how we waste money, I encourage you to pass along your own ideas. I will compile them and put your ideas into a future blog. You can respond to this blog or send them to GMeyer@meriwest.com.
- Unused memberships for which you are still paying. Gym memberships, online gaming, dance clubs, fraternal organizations, etc. These memberships take money from us every month. If we are not using the advantages of these memberships, why are we still paying for them?
- The social life is cool, but at what cost? One or two nights a week out drinking and carousing can cost you $30-$50 a night depending on the bar. It’s not all booze because when you are out drinking you invariably want to go out to eat. Who’s going to run home and fix pasta after four drinks? Besides, all those cool people at the bar are not at your home!
- Regularly eating lunch in restaurants or take out. How much does it need to cost before you decide to start making your lunch at home and taking it with you? A cheap lunch of a deli sandwich and a soda can run $7 today, much more if you want something more elaborate. If I eat out four times a week all year long how much does that cost at my (low) average of $7 per day? Try nearly $1,500! It runs about a third as much to bring your lunch regularly.
- Style. Addicted to style and fashions? Do you have fashion magazines coming to your door? Is the next thing from your fav designer the next must have fashion addition? Cool your jets. This is a problem for men and women. You can be helped; you just have to admit you have a problem! Now, repeat after me, “I am addicted to fashion!” Good, now get some counseling!
- Gas hogs. Have you checked the gas mileage on your car lately? A ten mile per gallon difference, going from 20 mpg to 30 mpg, can be a $1,000 savings at $4 per gallon! (based on US resident avg. mileage of 15,000 miles annually)
- Cable Premium Services. Do you still have HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, and the Movie Channel? It may be costing as much as $50 monthly/$600 annually to maintain these movie channels. Is it worth it? A subscription to a streaming video provider is much cheaper!
- Tired of paying for cable? Did you know your local broadcast TV stations still broadcast on the air? Modern flat screen TV’s have digital tuners built into them. A $10 rabbit ear style TV antenna from your local electronics store connected to your Flat Screen can bring in a lot of programming; 54 stations in San Jose alone without a cable box or a satellite dish! Local television stations now broadcast in digital, meaning they have a lot more programming available. What was one channel prior to the advent of digital broadcasts is now 3 or 4 different channels. You want more? Consider internet TV. There are a variety of inexpensive internet TV devices ($100 or less) that work with your high speed wireless internet to bring you 1,000 channels of programming such as Youtube, the major TV networks, and most cable networks. Your Smart TV or BluRay DVD player may have this access built in to it. If you have a fast internet connection and an antenna on your TV, you might be fixed and be able to tell cable and their rising monthly fees good bye. Typical cable bills can be >$100 monthly. Would that look better in your savings account?
- Still getting the newspaper at home? If you have the internet and a smart phone, is the newspaper necessary? Every news item in the paper was a news item 24 hours ago on the internet. Why do you want old news delivered to your door?
- Do you buy extended warranties? When you check out of electronics stores with your gadgets, you are often asked if you want the extended warranty. These are unnecessary as the manufacturers generally have pretty good warranties to begin with. The extended warranties have a laundry list of exclusions that often prevent you from using the warranty as it was originally intended. Extended warranties are seldom used and make a lot of profit for the store where you purchased your item.
- You don’t maintain a budget. You get paid and have no idea where your money goes because you don’t track it or pay attention to it. You hope that payday comes soon as you may be running out of money. That’s no way to live your life! Build a simple budget and use it to control your spending. You will save some money!
Get out last month’s checking account statement and see where your money went. How much was your cable bill? How much did you spend eating out? What was your gasoline bill for the month? You may find some fine incentives that can help justify one or two lifestyle changes that can help you save a few dollars here and there. The only question remaining is, are you ready to make that change? I am sure your savings account and your wallet would be happier.