How Not to Waste Money


Sometimes people just seem to waste money, when a little thought and effort could save several hundred or even several thousand dollars a year. Here are some money wasters that happen all the time. We caution you to stay out of these pitfalls.
Don’t be tempted to buy things from TV Infomercials. These products are often overpriced or they may not be as useful as you anticipated. If you are offered a risk-free trial period, beware of having to pay the return costs and a restocking fee if you don't like the item once you receive it. Sometimes the same item can be purchased from eBay or in your local Walgreens store in their "As Seen On TV" section for a much cheaper price. Some good websites to visit in order to purchase common items are ebay.com, amazon.com/auctions and overstock.com/auctions. Check these sites out from time to time.
Another good way to avoid wasting money is to buy the store or generic brand when shopping. Flour, sugar, salt, spices, milk, eggs and meats are some of the items that don’t change much from brand to brand and the store brand will often be cheaper. For other items, check the ingredients. You can find detergent and pain relievers in a generic brand that have the same ingredients or formulas as the popular, more expensive brands. These generic brands are often half the price of the non-generic brand items.
Never be caught having to pay late fees. Either pay your bills online with your bank’s ebill service or calendar your bill payment dates so that you are always aware of which bills are falling due. If you do pay a bill late, call the company and request that they waive the late fee (some will do this if you have a good payment record).
Consider your gym membership. If you find that you signed up and you just can’t seem to get to the gym, call the manager of the gymnasium and work out a way to cancel your membership. If you can’t cancel, try to switch to a month-to-month plan. And then USE IT. Get a friend to join so that you have a buddy to work out with.
Anytime you are offered an extended warranty, question whether you really need it. Most extended warranties benefit the salesperson, not the person who buys the merchandise. If an item is going to fail, it quite often happens early on in the ownership of the item. When this happens, the manufacturer’s warranty will cover the cost to repair or replace it. An extended warranty is a service contract and is very profitable for the retailer, who gets a profit margin of 40 to 80 percent. If you are concerned about an item failing and not being able to repair it, set aside a few dollars a month or put away the same amount of money you would pay on an extended warranty and then use this "warranty fund" for repairs.
Think before you buy groceries or supplies in bulk. You can save up to 50% of the full price on bulk items, but you can lose 100% of whatever the purchase price was if you end up discarding stale, rotten or expired goods.
If you’re paying for storage costs when you have too much stuff, consider turning your stored items into cash. Check out websites such as Craigslist.com or eBay.com, or donate to your local Goodwill or Freecycle.org.
Make sure that your cell-phone plan is the right one for you. If you find that you go over your allotted minutes way too often, review your bills and then call your representative to see if another plan is better for you. Sometimes you can save big bucks by making a change.
While it is not considered a ‘waste money’ topic, one way to really make money is to take advantage of your employer’s matching 401(k) contribution. If you have the opportunity to participate in a 401(k) plan, you should take advantage of this pre-tax savings. If your employer matches your contribution, you are earning "free money" when the employer makes their matching contribution. Contact your employer’s human resources department to find out more.
If you have a favorite idea of how not to waste money, post a reply in our comments section below so that we and others can share this information.



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