5 Ways You Waste Money Without Knowing It
You try to be as conscious as possible when it comes to being thrifty, but even the most thrifty of us can be caught up in overspending. There is a lot going on in our lives, which can make it hard to constantly keep on top of your finances. When you are buying something, paying your bills or even managing your daily budget, you can inadvertently spend money you don’t need to. Here are a few instances to look out for to avoid wasting money:
1. Impulse buying
Using your emotions to make buying decisions will almost always cost you extra. If you go to the grocery store hungry, you are likely to buy food you are craving and not the food that you need. Emotions can also cause you to think you really need something when you don’t. Like that new dress or fancy new phone that you can probably live without.
Here is a good rule of thumb: Before you buy anything on impulse, put it back. Go home and do some research and see if you can find it cheaper somewhere else. The time you take to do the research will give you time to think about whether you need to buy it or not. If you still need it, you can usually get it at a cheaper price. It’s a win-win.
2. Signing up for “free” stuff
It is true what they say, nothing in this world is truly free. If you sign up for a “free” trial with a service like Netflix or a credit score service, make sure that you don’t have to enter your credit card information. If you do, they are more than likely going to start charging it after the trial is over. Make sure you cancel the service before you start getting charged.
3. Not comparison shopping
Do your research before you buy anything, especially big-ticket items. It can take a little extra effort, but doing your homework when it comes to shopping can really pay off in the end. Don’t just look at the current prices either. If you can wait on buying the item, do some research on if there are seasonal discounts, like after Christmas or during the summer. Looking for the cheapest price, especially on bigger items, can save you a lot in the end.
4. Not keeping a budget
Yes, keeping a budget can help keep you on track when it comes to your spending, but it can also help you understand where your budget leaks are happening. If you signed up for a gym but never go, you can forget that you are paying for it every month. Setting up a budget can help you find those places where you are spending money that you don’t need to be spending.
Check out services like LearnVest or Mint. These services track your spending, so you can see where your money is going and if there are any places that you can truly save. Here are also some tips on how to plug budget leaks.
5. Not knowing your interest rates
This is one of the biggest wastes when it comes to money. Not knowing your interest rates on your credit cards and loans can end up costing you thousands. Find out what your interest rates are and then look for ways to reduce them. Paying extra interest on loans and debt is one of the biggest ways that people waste money.
If you have a lot of credit card debt, look at transferring your credit card balances to a balance transfer card that has a 0% intro APR. These cards don’t charge you any interest for the introductory period, which could last up to a year and a half. If you don’t qualify for a balance transfer card, check into debt consolidation services that can help lower your interest rate. If your loan interest rates are high, check into consolidating them to lower your interest rate.