My mom always told me “its the little things that add up.” And it’s proven true. It isn’t usually those big purchases that drain our bank accounts, it is the many small things we do mindlessly that add up to big money over time. Here are 7 things (listed by levels of egregiousness) to think about before you pull out your wallet and end up wishing you hadn’t.
7. Driving too fast. The obvious reason not to drive too fast is silly speeding tickets. One speeding ticket can raise your insurance rates 10-15%. Let’s be honest, you just can’t afford that. Also, did you know that driving 55 mph versus 65 mph can save you some major gas money? Obviously on a cross country trip where the speed limit is 70 my speedometer isn’t stuck on 55. But as you are driving, lower your speed just a bit and you’ll save over time.
6. Ordering drinks at restaurants. Has anyone noticed that the price of a Coke (note: in my part of the country Coke represents all soft drinks) at your local eatery has gone up? At some establishments a soda can run you almost three bucks. Ouch. Drink water instead when you are eating out – that can help you trim your eating out budget. Drink your carbonated beverages at home.
5. Buying a new book. Often when we purchase a book we read it in a week or so – then we’re done with it. We might never touch it again as it sits idly on the shelf. So go to the library or the used book store instead. Let someone else take the book depreciation hit. Unless it is a book you are going to be referencing again and again, it is almost always unwise to purchase it new.
4. Bank Fees. Most of us have been assessed a bank fee at some point or another. It is mildly enraging given that the average overdraft fee is $30 these days. Not cool. There are some easy solutions though. First, go with a bank that doesn’t suck. Some of the online banks have MUCH better customer service – meaning that they don’t exist just to ruin your life and charge you extra money. Check out Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) for some real customer service without the nasty fees.
3. Buying a Magazine from a Newsstand. If you would only have subscribed to that magazine instead of purchasing it off the shelf you could have had a whole year’s worth of fashion advice or Martha Stewart’s craft ideas instead of just one month’s. Amazon and Discount Mags usually have the best prices on magazines but sometimes you can get subscriptions to reputable magazines for free – I always find out about those on my favorite website – dealnews.
2. Lack of Planning and Comparison Shopping. Thinking ahead can make the difference between nabbing a deal and flushing money down the toilet. Remember to comparison shop other websites, check coupons/coupon codes, and install the right software to help you get the best deal. That will save you money every time. There’s nothing more annoying to me than when I buy something that I know I could have gotten cheaper if I had just planned ahead. That coupon doesn’t do much good sitting on my counter at home.
1. Bottled Water! I really can’t think of a worse way to spend a buck or more. Bottled water often comes from municipal sources so if you think you are somehow drinking something that is “better for you,” the answer is NO. However, there are simple solutions if you wholeheartedly believe your regular tap water just isn’t good enough for you. Purchase a filter – it makes your water instantly better for a fraction of the cost. There are tons of different types – the easiest being the one attached to your fridge. And if you love having access to water 24/7 carry around a refillable bottle. I’ve found that carrying around my water bottle saves me money AND keeps me drinking H20 like I should.
What are some of the ways you’ve found yourself wasting a few bucks that you wish you hadn’t?