Saving money and making wise financial decisions is not a secret formula. It’s like losing weight. You can’t expect to lose weight (and keep it off) with a silver bullet solution. It takes dedication, time, and discipline. If you are stressing about your finances, have debt to pay off, or are just looking for some ways to save some extra cash, here are 10 things to stop spending your money on now!
Okay, I am guilty as charged. I love shopping and I love clothes. In fact I have to store my wedding dress in my husband’s closet because there is no room in mine (which happens to be a walk in). However, as much as a challenge restraining myself from buying more clothes may be, it is one of the easiest ways for us to save money. Clothes are the biggest waste of money because they don’t appreciate in value, they are quickly outdated and more often than none you are paying way more for clothing than what it’s worth. Now I am not saying that you should never buy clothes, especially if you or your kids are in need of some new clothes, but shopping should become part of your monthly or annual budget. When you don’t have a budget in place you find yourself buying a top here, a pair of pants there, and before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds or even thousands on clothes! So set a budget, stick to it and look for DEALS! But don’t let deals suck you in, remember, it’s only a good deal if it’s something you need. Lastly, my favourite shopping trick is to look for pieces that go with what’s already in your closet. If you can’t make at least 2 outfits out of the article of clothing, perhaps it’s best to look for something else.
For years, my siblings and I would continue to buy Christmas and birthday gifts for one another. This was completely out of habit because that’s what siblings do for one another right? When spouses came into the picture, there were twice the amount of gifts to buy. Finally we decided that while it was nice to give and receive gifts, we really didn’t need more stuff. For Christmas we all drew names and instead of buying a gift for everyone, we would spend $50 on the person whose name we drew, and we gave up birthday gifts all together. This was a huge financial relief for us all, and we found other ways to make each other feel special especially in the form of spending time.
Is it just me, or is every store offering extended warranties these days? We are pretty risk adverse people. We want as much coverage as possible so we are often torn on whether or not we should purchase extended warranties, especially when it comes to electronics. However, according to the Consumer Report “extended warranties can have many “gotchas”, relying on contract fine print to deny coverage for almost any reason” and are often not worth the price you pay. Rather than buying expensive extended warranties, buy reliable products and maintain them as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Instead of purchasing extended warranties, take the money you would be spending on extended warranties and put it towards a product repair/replacement fund, this will give you better bang for your buck.
Nothing makes me shake my head more than when people who are struggling financially (and not struggling) buy the latest and greatest electronics. It’s one thing if you need a new computer or a new cell phone, but to buy new electronics for the sake of buying the newest technology is just financially stupid. Think of the iPhone. They come out with a new model every year that has only minor changes from the last model, yet costs an extravagant amount. Again…if you don’t need it, don’t buy it, don’t even think about it! And finally, do your research. You may find that a slightly older model does everything you need it to do, but at a fraction of the cost.
I get it. In fact I REALLY get it. Life gets super busy, cooking is a chore and time consuming, and so eating out becomes a habit. However, as much work as cooking and preparing lunches is (and I really do hate it), what we save in making our own food, far outweighs the hassle of preparing it. In fact, what we spend on going out for dinner 1 night nearly equals half of what we spend on a weeks’ worth of groceries! This also goes for buying coffee. Whether it’s Tim Hortons or Starbucks, cutting out your daily store bought coffee can save you at least $10/week (or $520 a year!). When people are looking to pay off debt or start saving, eating out is often the first thing I tell them to cut out.
With today’s options of digital no-fee banking, why would you pay bank fees? You can save thousands of dollars over your life time by not paying for bank fees. To learn more about this (trust me you will want to), read my blog on Accounting for Bank Fees.
Credit card interest
If you need to borrow money, DO NOT do it using your credit card. Credit cards are great for collecting points and rewards but are terrible on interest (average 20%!). There are many other (smarter) ways to borrow money with much lower interest rates including loans and lines of credit. So by all means use your credit card, but make sure you pay it in full and on time!
Do you know what the chances are that you will actually win the jackpot? About 1 in 14 million…Do you know what the chances are that you are losing money by buying lottery tickets? That’s right… 100%. Instead of spending money on lottery tickets and (literally flushing money down the toilet) why don’t you take that money and put it towards your savings and instead watch it grow…the odds are much better.
This essentially comes down to want verses need. Most of us need a car, but do we really need to be driving cars that are out of our price range…certainly not. All cars, yes even expensive cars, depreciate in value. The depreciated value hurts you even more when you drive an expensive car. You are better off driving a modest car and putting that extra cash away into a savings or investment account. Why have your money depreciate when it can appreciate? Expensive cars also cost a significant amount more to maintain and repair…again more money down the tubes.
Don’t live out of your means…just don’t do it. Is struggling each month to pay your mortgage or rent really worth the financial stress? Downgrading to a home that comfortably fits into your budget is one of the wisest financial decisions you can make. And it is possible, even in hot housing markets. See why we decided to rent instead of buy in this over inflated Toronto housing market.
So there you have it. Want to start saving money today? I DARE you to cut out one thing from this list, or heck try all 10! But like I said, you aren’t going to change your financial situation with a silver bullet. It takes time and effort.