One of the few things that almost everyone (except your grandmother) is effortlessly good at is wasting money. Learning to decipher good deals from bad and how to avoid money spending traps is a skill not taught. With that in mind, we present a list of 15 things that are generally a waste of money, to help start the year a little less wastefully:
1. Group buying sites: How many Groupon or Living Social deals have you purchased in a hurry only to forget to use? Or worse, how many deals have you gone out of your way to use only to be totally unsatisfied? More often than not, they’re not worth the money and hassle.
2. Redundant insurance: Insurance is extremely important. Make sure you’re covered when and where you need to be and don’t get suckered into redundant supplemental insurance. Read over all the coverage your credit card provides before being coerced into extra insurance at the car rental.
3. Impulse food: So much good money is wasted on bad food. Keep a few energy bars and bags of dried fruit and nuts in your bag or car so that you don’t waste money on crappy food. It buys you time to stave off the hunger and figure out what to eat instead of the first greasy offering you see.
4. Roaming fees: Always check your phone plan before travelling. Call your provider to get data roaming and temporary long-distance so you won’t get walloped with a huge bill.
5. Stupid gifts: It’s great to be generous. Just don’t buy mindless, useless gifts for friends and family. A homemade gift or bottle of wine is much nicer, nine times out of 10.
6. The latest generation of … : Don’t waste money on the latest generation of whatever gadget you covet. As soon as it comes out, the previous generation drops significantly in price. Buy that one!
7. ATM fees, credit card fees, etc. : You might as well give the bank money. Develop a strategy for keeping your fees down. They can add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
8. Lottery tickets/gambling: Just toss your money into the garbage. Or at least the recycling.
9. Newsstand purchases: Everyone loves to pick up a glossy magazine or two once in a while. But if you do so more than a few times a year, subscribe! Magazine subscriptions are ridiculously cheap when compared to newsstand prices. Or, go peruse the ‘free’ online version instead.
10. Parking tickets: Don’t. Get. Them.
11. Fancy beauty products: Is that really expensive lotion any different than the drugstore variation? Likely not. Don’t waste money on frivolously expensive and often toxic beauty products.
12. Fancy coffees: We’ve covered this before. (Here’s five easy ways to save $2 a day on coffee.) Make a habit of simple coffee beverages instead of pricey, sugary, fancy coffees.
13. Impulse clothing and shoe purchases: Take a few seconds to do a tiny bit of research before you buy. Make sure there are no coupons or online discounts for whatever you’re buying. If there are, see if you can negotiate with the boutique or store for price-matching.
14. Movie concessions: Going to the movies is now an expensive night out. Skip the $12 popcorn and soda and go for a delicious snack after. Similarly, cash-in on all those credit card loyalty points you’ve racked up over the years and exchange them for some movie gift certificates – it’s an easy and very usable treat.
15. Memberships you don’t use: If you haven’t gone to the gym yet this year, it might be penny wise and pound foolish to cancel that membership, but you should.