Most of us waste money every day, metaphorically tossing our precious pennies out the window. What seems like mere pennies today can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars by the end of the year. Here are five ways we waste money and how to stop.
- Paying full price. In this day and age, it seems downright silly to pay full price for anything. If you are reading this article, obviously you have access to a computer. Harness the power of the internet to browse sales flyers, comparison shop, print off money saving coupons and rebate forms, search for online coupon codes and bargain shop on sites such as Ebay and Bonanza.
- Children’s birthday parties. Skip the $200 an hour bounce house and $10 each goodie bags. Your kids and their friends can have just as much fun nibbling on a homemade birthday cake, drinking Hawaiian Punch and chasing each other though the backyard. The Betty Crocker website offers a great collection of cake ideas-and you can sign up for money saving coupons. If you absolutely must giveaway goodie bags, visit Oriental Trading Company for a great selection of supplies in some of the most popular themes.
- The coffee drive-thru. Going through the nearest drive thru every once in awhile is not a big deal. It is when it becomes a part of your normal routine that it becomes problematic. Your wallet shrinks in direct proportion to your waistline expanding. Why spend $5.00 for a calorie filled coffee when you can something just as tasty-and much cheaper-at home? Folger’s offers a variety of tempting recipes to make. Coffeemate and International Delight both also offer recipes and money saving coupons.
- Premium gas. We have been led to believe by slick marketing campaigns that premium gas is the best gas to use in our cars. Read your car’s manual and use the octane it recommends. Gas is typically rated as 87, 89 and 93 octane and using a higher grade than recommended will not make your engine perform any better. It will just drain your wallet that much faster. However, if your manual states 93 octane, by all means use it for optimal performance.Anything less could lead to engine problems.
- Buy store brand. I am a firm believer that store brand products are typically every bit as good as their name brand counterparts. WalMart sugar is just as sweet as Domino but costs less. The same holds true with most other food items. Every rule is made to be broken and one group of products that you don’t want to go cheap with are cleaning products. In order to save money and cut costs on many cleaning products, manufacturerss use less of the active cleaning ingredient(s) and replaces it with water. Cut coupons, watch for sales and buy these items in bulk whenever possible to cut your cleaning costs.
By making these small changes, you can keep more money in your wallet. Money that can be tucked away for a family vacation, your child’s education or your retirement.