Money-saving tips that are costing you money
Not all money-saving tips are created equal. While some can put more cash in your pocket others can end up costing you more in the long run. Knowing the difference can result in thousands saved each year.
While some money saving tips may seem obvious, others are a little sneakier. You may be wasting money without even knowing it. Something you may consider a good move could backfire even though it looks like a good idea.
Here are some ways you think you’re saving money but are actually costing you more.
Getting a Fitness Membership
With the start of a new year, one of the most common resolutions is to get in better shape. According to a recent survey, 65 percent of people made a resolution to exercise more. However, only 8 percent successfully achieve their resolutions.
Come Jan. 1, gyms are filled to capacity as people get ready to work off the holiday pounds. Many sign up for fitness memberships to yoga studios, gyms and fitness programs, hoping to get healthier and lose weight.
While paying for a full year’s membership seems like a better deal, it only saves you money if you use it. Many people start off strong but end up cutting back or giving up entirely on their resolution to exercise more.
If you signed up for a fitness membership, this means you continue to be charged for something you don’t use. Even if you try to cancel the membership, there are usually cancellation charges that could make this a pricey option.
Instead of committing to a membership when you first start exercising, consider paying per visit or just signing for a month-to-month option. This way, if you end up not using it as much as you thought, you can always cancel it easily.
It may cost you more in the short run but will benefit you in the long term.
Buying Cheap Stuff
While it may seem like a good idea to pay as little as possible for something, this could end up backfiring. Cheap stuff ends up costing you more since it often breaks, or malfunctions and you end up having to replace it more frequently.
Not to mention the added frustration and hassle of having something not work properly when you need it. Inexpensive items usually rely on cheap materials and mass production to keep costs down, creating an inferior product.
While it may make sense to go for the cheapest option in some cases, for items that you plan to use frequently, it’s best to invest in a quality product. It may be more expensive up front, but it will save you time, money, and frustration since you won’t need to replace it as often.
Going Crazy with Coupons
Coupons can save you a lot of money if used the right way. There are many things you use on a regular basis that can be made cheaper with the help of coupons. However, going overboard will end up costing you more in the long run.
Just because you have a coupon for something doesn’t mean you should buy it, even if it’s very cheap. There’s no point spending money on things you won’t use, or you don’t need. In addition to the money spent, you have to find a place to store all those items.
Instead of clipping coupons and using them to plan your shopping trip, do the opposite – plan what you want to buy and then look for coupons that fit the bill. That way you’re only using coupons for things you were already planning on purchasing.
Buying in Bulk
While buying in bulk can be a great money saver, this only works if you actually use everything before it goes bad. For example, getting a five-pound bag of carrots for half the price you’d pay at a traditional grocery store can be a good deal if you can eat it all before it spoils.
However, if you end up only using a small portion of the bag, you haven’t really saved much – if at all. All your savings will end up in the trash, costing you more in the end.
Before you buy in bulk, consider what you can use up within a reasonable amount of time. Buying large quantities works better if you have a family or if you can split your purchase with a friend. Focus on bulk items that don’t spoil such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
In addition, when shopping at warehouse stores, buy items in bulk that you use frequently such as meat or cheese. This is not the place to buy something new to try out – if you end up hating it, you’re stuck with a giant bag or container that you’d end up throwing away.
Going to the Store Several Times per Week
If you only go to the store when you need something, you’re probably spending more than you intend. That’s because stores have mastered the art of getting people to spend more money than planned.
This is why you end up going in for a gallon of milk but come out with two bags of groceries you forgot you needed. To avoid this unnecessary spending trap, make a quick menu plan at the start of each week and use it for your shopping list.
Once you have an idea of what you need to buy, make one big shopping trip and pick up everything you on your list. Most perishables such as fruits, vegetables and dairy can last for a full week. If you forgot something, try finding a substitution before making another trip to the store.
Taking Advantage of Free Shipping
When online retailers offer free shipping, they do this for a reason – to get you to spend more than you intended. How many times have you found yourself adding an extra item to your cart just to get to that free shipping threshold?
Most people end up wasting money by purchasing unneeded items just to save $5 or $6 on shipping. Instead of buying more to get free shipping, look for a ship-to-store option. Many online retailers that have brick-and-mortar locations offer this alternative without a minimum spending limit.
Going this route means you still get free shipping but without having to buy more to get it. If the online retailer doesn’t have this option, consider shopping at a different store that does or just biting the bullet and paying for shipping. This can often cost you less in the long run.
Using Subscription Services
Nowadays you can get a subscription to just about anything – from razors to beauty boxes or even pet toys. However, all of these subscriptions tend to add up, costing you more money than you realize.
In addition, many make it very difficult to cancel the subscription once you sign up. This means it’s often easier to continue it than to try and get rid of it. Companies know this, which is why they love the subscription model and often offer low introductory offers to reel you in.
If you’re not using something that you subscribed to, then it’s wasted money that can be used in other ways. Go through your credit cards and bank accounts today and identify all subscription services that you’re paying for currently.
Ask yourself if you’re using them, and if so, can you get this cheaper somewhere else. Cancel as many of these as you can and figure out other ways to get this item (or just give it up altogether). Your wallet will thank you.