While we never intend to waste money, it happens. Instead of a lengthy list of how to stop wasting money, I’ll give you three items to address. If you address one item each week, you’ll have some of your finances cleaned up in less than a month.
1- Check for online discounts you purchased upfront.
How many online discounts have you purchased and not used? Check your accounts with Groupon, LivingSocial, Angie’s List … you get the idea. If your list for these type of accounts is long, check one each day to get through your list.
I know. When the deal popped up on your smart phone you couldn’t resist. It was such a VALUE. You just HAD to purchase it. But then life got in the way and you never used it. In fact, you just forgot about buying it.
Say “no” to purchasing anymore of these deals. Think of these pop-ups as the items you see for sale heading to the checkout line at a traditional store. They are there to entice you to spend money. And they work, right? Moving forward, resist the temptation for online discounts you purchase upfront. Just add up how much you wasted buying these purchases and never used. That amount of wasted money should motivate you to stop purchasing these discounts upfront.
2- Maximize credit card benefits.
Have you reviewed the benefits you receive from your credit card company? With many options out in the marketplace, credit card companies develop ways to entice you to choose their credit card. While this marketing works to attract new users, many people forget about the benefits and don’t follow-up. The benefits I’m referencing are reward points, car rental discounts, hotel discounts, dining discounts, etc. Go online and check the benefits your credit card has to offer. Some credit card companies require you to sign up for the free benefit (they are hoping you won’t take the time).
Take time to review the benefits of your credit card. Go online and search benefits. If you have multiple credit cards, then review one credit card daily until you’ve completed all your credit cards.
If you’ve accumulated a lot of points, purchase gift cards from stores you use to buy wedding, birthday and holiday gifts. Your recipient won’t know you purchased the gift via free points. If you regularly go to a coffee shop, use your points to buy a gift card from that coffee shop. Instead of using your cash, use the gift card. It’s a great way to use your rewards while saving money.
3. Cancel unused monthly subscriptions.
You know what I’m referencing – look at your shopping accounts where you purchase clothing, cosmetics and entertainment. Look for the ones where you are paying a monthly subscription. Are you really using the products?
For example, there is a workout clothing company where you sign-up for a VIP membership and pay $49.95 every month. This membership gives you a 40% discount on your purchases. Every month, you are charged $49.95 whether or not you purchase an outfit. Paying $49.95 every month amounts to $599.40. Are you really planning to spend $599.40 a year on workout clothing?
Let’s say you didn’t sign-up for the VIP membership and do not receive the 40% discount. You would have to spend over $999 a year to make the VIP membership worthwhile. Do you really need to spend $1,000 per year on workout clothing?
Monthly subscriptions are deceivingly inexpensive because they break the annual cost into smaller amounts. It’s easy to sign up for something that is only $50 per month – but remember that cost is $600 per year. It may be worthwhile if you use the products. But then again, it may be wasting money.
It’s easy to become distracted and not focus on your money. But remember, it’s YOUR money. Take time to make sure you’re using it wisely. Make an effort to stop wasting money. Redirect wasted money toward things you really want to accomplish – whether that’s building your emergency reserve, saving for a home or even saving for an adventure overseas. It’s YOUR money. It’s YOUR life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Her firm bridges the gap between financial planning and coaching. As a Transition Consultant, she offers sage advice in all aspects of life – financial, personal and professional. Niv does not manage money and does not sell financial products. She charges an hourly fee on a retained basis. Her services include spending plan development, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”