Want to save money? Who doesn't? It seems like we all want to save some cash, but you might be spending money on things that are hurting your ability to build wealth.
The problem is commercials flash many products in front of us that look cool. There is constant pressure to keep up with the latest trends, our finances can quickly dwindle if we're not careful. However, taking control of your spending and making deliberate choices about where your money goes can lead to a more financially secure and fulfilling life.
To help you on this journey, here are 10 things you should never spend money on:
Save Money by Not Spending on These 10 Things
1. Extended Warranties
Let's start out with the most insidious of all of these expenses: Extended warranties.
Retailers often push extended warranties as a means to protect your purchases. Why? Because extended warranties provide big commissions for salespeople. Manufacturers know that most of us will never use those warranties.
In essence, it's extra money for them.
Here's what they don't tell you: Most products already come with manufacturer warranties that cover defects for a specific period. In addition, many credit cards warranty the things you buy with them. The additional cost of an extended warranty is often unnecessary and rarely provides value in the long run.
2. Brand-Name Medications
You probably don't need the most expensive brand-name medication. Of course, pharmaceutical companies want you to believe you do.
Pharmaceutical companies spend vast amounts on marketing their brand-name medications, driving their prices. In many cases, generic medications contain the same active ingredients and are equally effective but come at a fraction of the cost. And according to research, they are just as effective.
The next time you're at the store, compare the active ingredients in brand-name and generic medications. You might be surprised!
Warning: Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before switching to generics.
3. Premium Cable TV
Personally, I don't know anyone who subscribes to cable television anymore.
With the rise of streaming services, traditional cable TV has become less relevant. Paying for premium cable packages with hundreds of channels when you only watch a handful is a waste of money. Cutting the cord and opting for streaming services tailored to your preferences can save you a significant amount each month.
However, resist falling into the trap of paying for so many streaming services that you aren't truly saving money any longer. This is far more common than you might think.
4. “Designer” Coffee
While the allure of expensive gourmet coffee from your favorite café can be tempting, those daily visits quickly drain your wallet. A $5.00 coffee every morning might not seem like a lot of money, but let's do the math.
There are about 260 working days every year. If we buy a $5 coffee every working day, that adds up to $1,300 a year…just for coffee! And, chances are your workplace provides free coffee already.
Brewing your coffee at home or opting for more affordable options can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
5. Impulse Purchases
Impulse purchases often result from fleeting emotions or the thrill of the moment. For instance, ever wonder why those energy drinks and candy bars are right there at the register when you check out? It's an easy way to get people to throw in a little sugary treat they probably don't need.
Before making a purchase, take a step back and evaluate whether you truly need the item or if it's just a passing desire. Creating a waiting period of a few days before buying can help you avoid regrettable spending.
Pro tip: My wife and I employ the “3-Day Rule” for online shopping. We'll leave things in our cart for at least 3 days. If we still want them, we will buy them. But often, we take those items out of our cart before the 3 days are up! This is a great way to save money.
6. Designer Clothing
As with brand-name medications, designer clothing comes with a hefty price tag, often driven more by the brand name than the actual quality.
Resist paying more for the privilege of wearing name-brand clothing just because it's name-brand.
You can find stylish and well-made clothing at a fraction of the cost from more affordable brands. Remember, it's the fit and your personal style that matter most, not the label.
7. Single-Use Items
Items like disposable water bottles, plastic cutlery, and paper towels may seem inexpensive at the moment, but their cumulative cost adds up over time.
Investing in reusable alternatives not only saves money but also helps reduce your environmental footprint.
For instance, use stainless steel reusable water bottles instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Consider reusable cloth bags instead of plastic bags at the grocery store. Coffee cups, straws, lunch containers, and cutlery are all great examples of when to use reusable products instead of single-use. Reusables help you save money.
8. Gym Memberships You Don't Use
Signing up for a gym membership with grand intentions is all too common, but if you're not using it regularly, you're essentially throwing money away.
If you're not using your membership, consider more cost-effective exercise options, such as outdoor activities, home workouts, or pay-as-you-go fitness classes.
Or, start using it! There's no better way to spend your money than on health and self-improvement.
9. High-Interest Debt
Spending money on high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, is a financial pitfall.
The interest rates on these debts can accumulate quickly, making it challenging to break free from the cycle. Always pay off credit cards in full every month. If you can't afford to pay off your cards, cut back on discretionary items until you can. Discretionary items are those things you don't need immediately.
Prioritize paying off high-interest debt as soon as possible to save money in the long run.
10. Unnecessary Subscriptions
Subscription services for magazines, apps, and streaming platforms can pile up without notice. Review your subscriptions regularly and cancel those you no longer use or find value in. This simple step can help you to save money throughout the year.
In a world inundated with advertisements and societal pressures to spend, making conscious decisions about where your money goes is essential.
By avoiding spending on unnecessary items and services, you can free up resources for experiences and investments that enrich your life. It's about shifting from mindless consumption to mindful spending – a journey that leads to financial security and peace of mind.
Remember, every dollar saved is a step closer to achieving your financial goals and building a brighter future.