Even when you think you have no room left in your budget to cut expenses, you might be surprised by how many things you’re still needlessly spending money on when there are cheaper or even free alternatives available. Spending money on needs and wants is a psychologically rewarding activity, which is why it’s so easy for us to overlook areas where we could/should rein in our spending, but if you want to accomplish your financial goals then wasteful spending areas are the best places to make some progress and stop wasting money.
Things You Are Needlessly Wasting Money On
To overcome your tendencies to spend money, here are a few things you’re needlessly paying too much for that can easily be slashed from your budget:
Bank Account Fees
Here is something you might not even realize you’re paying for: monthly “account maintenance” fees from your bank. They’re usually so small (a couple dollars) that you might not even notice you’re getting charged unless you thoroughly examine your bank statement each month. However, paying $5 per month for something you can get for free through an online bank adds up over time.
Why pay a few dollars each month for a savings account that brings in a pitiful 0.01% interest when you can get an interest checking account from a web-based bank like Ally with 0.10% – 0.60% annual interest and no maintenance fees (or 1.15% interest from Ally’s savings accounts!). Stop wasting your money on bank maintenance fees and switch to a bank or credit union that will save you money and give you more bang for your buck.
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Identity Theft Protection Services
Some companies offer “identity theft protection” services for $100 or so per year. While this seems like a great deal for anyone who wants to avoid ID theft or financial fraud linked to their accounts, you can do most of the safeguarding services.
You can check your credit report, contact your bank or credit card provider to dispute fraudulent transactions, report fraud to the three major credit bureaus all by yourself for free. Most credit card companies offer some form of credit tracking nowadays.
Or, you can just use Credit Karma for free weekly updates. And, legal protections are in place to prevent consumers from being held liable for fraudulent purchases made on their debit or credit cards (usually as long as you report the charges within 60 days, you’ll be responsible for $0-$50 max).
According to Consumer Reports, most extended warranties are wastes of money. You already likely have access to the manufacturer’s limited-time warranty, and any damage that occurs outside the original timeframe for that warranty is best repaired on your own dime.
In other words, you’re better off setting money aside for an emergency repairs/replacement fund than purchasing an extended warranty because 1) You might never use the extended warranty, and 2) The damage your item sustained might not even be covered by the extended warranty!
Did you know that the exact same personal care items – such as razors, shaving gel, lotion, face wash, etc. – cost more when they’re branded as “for women”? According to a 2015 consumer affairs study, personal care products for women cost 13% more on average, which means you could be paying more for pink razors marketed at women than blue razors of the same quality and designed that are marketed at men.
As an alternative to disposable razors – which create significant environmental waste each year – you could get more durable, affordable razors through Dollar Shave Club instead.Personal care products, like razors for women, cost 13% more on average than the same male version. Click To Tweet
A study of 100 food items conducted by Consumer Reports found that organic foods cost 47% more on average. While organic meat has the advantage of being “hormone free,” organic produce is arguably not worth the extra money because you’re still getting produce that’s exposed to pesticides, except those pesticides are “organic” instead of “synthetic” (it’s all questionably bad or non-issues). Why spend $3 for an organic avocado when you could get 3 conventionally grown avocados for the same price?
If you still yearn for organic produce, at least try to get it from your local farmer’s market instead of through a major grocery chain that will charge a premium for the “organic” label even if organic means nothing if it’s not “certified organic” by the USDA.
Did you know that over 100 million plastic bottles are used daily around the world, and only 1 in 5 of those bottles are typically recycled? Aside from the enormous environmental impacts, buying bottled water instead of drinking tap water – or using an affordable water filter you can attach to your sink faucet or a carbonated water machine – really adds up over time because you as the consumer are not just paying for water.
You’re paying for the manufacturing costs of producing the lid and plastic bottle as well. To save money, simply invest in a water filter for less than $50, which you can then keep in a reusable water bottle for all day, fresh drinking water.
If you thought you were out of ideas for trimming areas of your budget, then consider these six everyday items you might be overspending and wasting money on. Both your wallet and the environment could benefit from making the switch from disposable items to more durable items, and striking non-necessary financial products and services from your expense sheet can save you quite a bit of money within just a few months.
What about you? What do you think is a waste of money? Let me know in the comment section below.