There always seems to be too much month and not enough money doesn’t there? Those last few days before you get paid are often far harder than they should be. But you make decent money, where’s it all going? And where is the down payment you need to purchase your first Waterloo Region home going to come from if you don’t find ways to save more?
Excellent questions. And sadly, if you are like many people, your money is not always on the right things. We all have a tendency to waste money without even realising that’s what we’re doing.
Here are five common ways people waste their hard earned cash, often leading them into a check to check existence that makes saving for something great – like that house down payment, very hard. Are you guilty of any – or all- of these?
Not Shopping Around
Yes, you’re busy. No, you probably don’t have time to check every supermarket in town for the best price on your weekly essentials. So yes, you may miss a deal or two and spend a little more than you needed to. Or do you?
Most of us have at least some downtime (usually at in the evening) that can be put to a better use than watching yet another night’s worth of repeats with too many adverts on TV. Make use of that time to comparison shop online, to search for coupons and deals and then when you find them, and you will resolve to regularly use them. You’ll be surprised by just how much you save, we promise.
Failing to Pay More than the Minimum on Your Credit Cards
You always make sure you meet the minimum payments due on your credit card every month. Good for you, it’s a great start. But by doing that you are actually losing money and you aren’t doing as much for your credit score as you could either.
Credit card balances accrue interest every month. So if you don’t chip away at them significantly every month that interest will keep building and you’ll barely get anywhere to clear the principal part of your balance.
If you can’t pay off your balance every month – which is the ideal, both for your financial health and building up your credit score – at least attempt to pay double the minimum due. That way you’ll be saving money on interest and putting yourself in a healthier financial spot.
Being a Little Too Bulky
Not literally, but in your buying habits. Buying in bulk can be a great idea, but only when it truly makes sense. Yes, that’s a great price for beans – 20c off per can – and you will probably eat them all before they expire, so yes, that’s a good deal. But buying three loaves of bread instead of one just to get 75c off? Are you really going to eat that much bread before it goes mouldy? Probably not, so that’s a waste of money.
By all means, shop in bulk to try to save money. But only when it really will. Stop and think before you’re tempted by the seemingly huge savings and make sure it really is a good deal – and one you need – before you buy.
Not Changing Those Lunchtime Habits
Do you like to score a cheeky lunch from a local eatery a couple of times a week? After all, spending $5 on some seriously tasty chicken once in a while isn’t so bad is it? And your day never starts right if you have to drink the lukewarm vending machine coffee at work instead of your beloved latte from Tim Horton’s, does it?
The thing is, these ‘little treats’ add up over the course of the week, and often to far more than you realise. And there are cheaper alternatives out there that are just as good. Learn to make your own yummy chicken, cook some up at home and take it to work. It’ll cost less and you’ll actually probably seriously impress some people if you share your efforts (and save them some cash too)
Can’t live without your frothy coffee? Spend $10.00 on Amazon for a handheld milk frother and keep it at work. It’ll pay for itself in about three days and you’ll be surprised how well it works.
Little changes like this may seem insignificant but they will save you far more than you think.
Not Keeping Track of What You Spend
The biggest mistake many of us make when trying to save money and cut expenses are failing to keep track of what we spend. Once you do, it becomes easy to see where money is being wasted and how you can make changes that help you save more.
You don’t even need fancy software to do this, as you probably have one of the best tools to help you in (or close) to your hand right now; your mobile. There are some fantastic apps out there – most of them free – that make it easy to keep track of every penny. So make that $700 iPhone earn its keep and add a few of them to it today.