Spending too much money on things you don’t need is never a good thing! When you are working towards financial independence, nothing can set you back more than overspending on…anything! Some things we can’t get away from – rent, utility bills, food. However, there are ways to cut back just about anywhere! If you put your mind to it, you can make a big impact with how much money you save, starting with these 10 things.
I’m sharing 10 common things that most people (including me) are spending too much money on. When you know, you can make a change. Evaluate if you are spending too much money on these things, and cut back where need be!
Here are 10 things people are spending too much money on…
#1 Cable TV
Cable providers know that they are competing with the insanely low prices of Netflix, Hulu, and more, but that doesn’t stop them from charging insane amounts on cable. Services are “bundled” so you think you are getting a good deal, however the price or promotion can change any time and spike the price.
If you keep saying you need cable to get a good deal on your internet or phone line, stop kidding yourself. Do some shopping around to see the best rates you can get for internet and phone lines. Cut the cable cord and go for low-cost streaming options like ChromeCast, Boxee Box, D-Link, or Roku.
This is a tough one, even for me, but did you know that the average American worker spends nearly $14.40 a week on coffee. According to the ABC News study, this weekly amount doesn’t include any costs associated with making the coffee at home. This amounts to over $1,100 spent annually on coffees outside of the home. What’s even more scary is that nearly half of U.S. workers say they need their daily dose of coffee to stay productive.
I am a huge fan of specialty coffee – lattes, cappuccinos, frappuccinos – you name it! However, I started tracking my spending and was in shock at how much money I spent on coffee. It was certainly over the $14.40 weekly average! I had to make some changes. I started brewing my own coffee at home. It certainly wasn’t as tasty, but it gave me the fix I needed. I haven’t cut out my specialty coffee spending completely! My way around the high costs is to use gift cards! Any time I reach a milestone for a credit card reward, I use my points for gift cards! These come in very handy when purchasing coffee from a café; and I don’t feel bad about it.
If you are a smoker, there are plenty of reasons to lose the cigs that don’t have to do with costs. That’s a lesson for another article! Not only are cigarettes bad for your health, they are bad for your wallet. If you smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a week (which isn’t much to a smoker), at $7 a pack, that amounts to over $1,090 a year spent on cigarettes.
I love this suggestion from the Advantage blog, “Many people find that putting their cigarette money in a jar helps them quit, as they can literally see the money pile up. Once a month, put the money in the bank and use it to pay down debt or add a nice cushion to your savings account.”
#4 Delivery Charges
My favorite Chinese takeout place charges $5 just for delivery. My favorite Sushi place requires a $50 order before delivering. That is just in my local neighborhood, imagine what restaurants across the country are charging just to deliver food. The thing about delivery is that it is convenient; so convenient that instead of getting up and going to pick up our food, people (including me) pay that extra $5 for the delivery.
While that’s not so bad every once in a while, but if you are having food delivered more than once a week, you are shelling out a lot of unnecessary cash. The next time you are tempted to order a pizza or have your favorite meal delivered, save yourself the delivery fee and go pick your food up. I am going to challenge myself to do this too!
#5 Car Details
My boyfriend will kill me for writing this, because he owns a mobile car detailing company. People are willing to pay him upwards of $500 for an in-depth car detail. That’s a lot of money! I understand that you may be trying to sell your car and a deep clean will help – that makes sense.
However, spending more than $20 a month on car washes is too much. You can purchase car wash chemicals and clean your car yourself. It may not be the best activity for fun, but think of all the money you can save by washing and vacuuming your car all by yourself!
#6 Late and Overdraft Fees
The average credit card late fee is $39. The average overdraft fee at most standard banks is $35. If you have to incur any of those fees more than once, you’re spending too much money on unnecessary fees. Late fees are incurred because of poor planning. Instead of letting a bill slip through your mind, set up automatic bill pay. You can also set reminders on your phone when your bills are due. Even if the late fee isn’t as high as $39, it’s still money that shouldn’t be spent.
Overdraft fees, on the other hand, are incurred because of a person’s negligence to keep tabs on their spending. If you are tracking your spending on a consistent basis (like you should be), you will know exactly what you have to use for spending. Anything outside of your available amount will set you back and result in an overdraft fee. If you don’t have the money to spend, don’t spend it. A $5 coffee that cause your account to go negative becomes a $44 coffee.
According to Time, “Americans filled 4.3 billion prescriptions and doled out nearly $374 billion on medicine in 2014,” which is up 13% from the year before. There’s no denying that some medication costs cannot be avoided, however there are usually generic brands associated with most prescriptions. Your insurance may cover the costs, but what about the deductible or costs of medicine not covered? Before picking up your next prescription, check for a coupon from GoodRx. They provide discounts on all types of prescriptions.
Also, having an HSA handy will help you handle the costs of medicine and other health-related items that aren’t covered by your insurance. It’s much easier to use your HSA funds than your own. What’s also nice is that your funds roll-over into the next year if not used! Not sure what an HSA is? Check out the Health Benefits Basics article to learn more.
#8 Premium Gas
Gas is another expense most people can’t seem to escape from. Without a car, we can’t get to work. Without getting to work, we can’t make money. If public transportation or commuter options aren’t available to you, then fueling your car up is your only option. Are you using regular gas or paying extra for “premium” gas? If you think the better-quality gas will help your car, think again!
The “premium” or higher-octane gas only exists for cars with higher compression ratios, like luxury sports cars. These types of vehicles need the most expensive premium gas to function normally. Most other cars see no benefit from premium gas. As long as the manufacturer does not mandate high-octane gas, regular is the best option and is the best for your budget. Visit the GasBuddy website or download the app. They will tell you where the best priced gas can be found near you!
#9 Full Price Clothes
I love fashion and clothes and accessories, and all that stuff most women love, but I love getting it on sale! I used to pay full price for clothes until I started noticing a pattern. I would buy a nice top at one of my favorite stores, come back a month later and see the top on clearance. Now, I wait until major sales before purchasing any new clothes.
There are plenty of thrift, consignment and discount stores that offer great quality clothes at significantly lower prices. Retailers often mark up the prices of the clothes they sell so you pay significantly more than what it actually cost to make the items. You leave feeling like you got a deal, and the retailer brings in all the profit. Instead of paying full price right now, keep an eye on the pieces you really like. They’ll eventually be discounted or the store will have a sale that includes those pieces. Read 5 Ways to Spend Less on Clothes for more insight.
#10 Brand Name Products
Similar to generic medication costing significantly less than brand name medication, the same concept applies to anything with a brand name item and generic counterpart. Take it from Lifehack.org, “From food, to skincare, to over the counter medicine, chances are your local grocery or drug store has a store brand for them or sells a generic version. Check the labels; in most cases, the ingredients are pretty much identical, but you don’t have to spend money on the big brand names.”
Related: 8 Things to Stop Spending Money On
Well, there you have it! 10 things most people are spending way too much money on. It can be hard to make a change, especially if you are used to certain things. Don’t let that stop you from saving money. It’s much nicer to have an extra $100 in your bank account than a brand-new top. Are you guilty of overspending on any of the things listed above? What things have you managed to cut back on over the years? Share your thoughts and tips by leaving a comment below!