Sometimes it’s worth spending the extra cash to get a decent ROI on your purchase–whether that comes back to you in the shape of a better job, a decent sun tan, or a healthy and happy lifestyle. Wasting money, on the other hand, is pretty much never a good idea.
We’re not talking about the bottles of Bollinger you bought for everyone at the bar after you had a few too many. At least that brought you (and everyone else) some temporary happiness.
No, there are a ton of other ways that you’re wasting money without even realizing–basically spending on things that give you absolutely nothing in return and only detract from your life. Here are the top five.
1. Banking Fees
Research suggests that most of us are more loyal to our banks than our partners. The average US adult has used the same checking account for 16 years. They stay married for about seven.
Not because they’re especially satisfied with the service they get but simply because changing your bank account can be a big freaking hassle.
And yet, by not shopping around, you’re probably wasting money every month without realizing it. Small costs that add up over time can be more harmful than those one-off splurges at the bar that bought you instant gratification at the very least.
If you allow your account to go overdrawn every other month, use ATMs that are close by instead of operated by your bank, or are saving money before finishing off paying a debt, you need to look closer at your finances.
2. Buying the Same Thing Twice
If you’re too lazy to double check whether you have something hidden in your cupboard, you may end up buying it twice. If we’re talking about a bottle of ketchup, that’s hardly a problem, since you’ll at least use it when the other one finishes.
But when this starts happening on a more regular basis with items that you don’t need two of… you’re wasting money that could go toward something that does add value to your life.
Whether it’s a cheese grater or a coffeemaker, a set of headphones or a travel pillow, you probably just need the one.
And, going back to the ketchup, if you routinely grocery shop without checking what you have in the cupboard, remember plenty of items expire. That really is throwing money down the drain.
3. Overpriced Items
This basically applies to anything that you could have gotten cheaper somewhere else. While oftentimes you pay for the convenience of buying something from a local store rather than heading to one far from your home, if you fall into this habit, you’re routinely wasting money.
So before you make your next lazy purchase, calculate the value of your time. If it’s worth spending the extra to give you convenience, by all means, pay a premium. But if you have the time to shop around, it’s worth training yourself to do so.
4. Paying for a Brand Name
It’s not the same buying an iPhone or a Huawei, granted. And neither is it if you want a quality watch that will last the distance of your life. But, is it really worth spending three times as much for a branded pair or undies or everyday grocery items like mayonnaise?
Most of the time you can find comfortable clothes that have no brand and make significant savings. So, at least, for your essential items like T-shirts and pants, go for a cheaper version.
If you want to pimp your ride, spend the extra on a branded coat, jeans, or glasses–something that people will actually notice.
And if you must buy branded dishwasher tablets or culinary sauces because you really see the difference, that’s up to you. But if you can find unbranded items three times cheaper, why find yourself wasting money hand over fist to buy them simply because the publicity has beaten its way into the back of your mind?
5. Single-Use Items
This is where something called false economy often comes into play. It may be cheaper to buy a disposable razor because the one with the replacement parts costs more, but remember, the expensive one lasts longer.
The same applies to items you need right now that will never have a future utility. Like an inflatable flamingo on vacation or an all-weather jacket when you live near the equator.
Shop around for the best bank account for you. Your needs change over time. Start cutting down on branded items, avoid buying duplicates and keep on-off purchase expenses to a minimum or you’ll end up leaking money like a faucet.
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