If you’re tired of never having enough to reach your financial goals, take action today. Start eliminating these 7 money-wasters from your lifestyle. Go cold turkey on all of them or work through one at a time to instantly reclaim the cash you want to put toward achieving your financial goals, whether it’s a wedding, dream vacation, or saving for a home.
To stretch a budget or save for a goal, it’s important to look at where your money goes. Most of us are guilty of wasting money in ways we may not even realize. Here are 7 dumb ways most Americans waste money.
1. Cable, Streaming, and Phone Plans
Do you pay for cable and also subscribe to Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Hulu? If so, you’re overspending on television. You can’t possibly use all those services. The same goes for your phone. If you never use all your data, you can afford to cut back. The more you reduce your media budget, the more money you’ll save. If you’re holding on to this expense for football season, figure out a hack of some sort to stream the action live, or hit up a local bar to check out the game(s).
2. Laundry Fresheners
All you really need to clean clothing is detergent. Those fabric boosters, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets are a major waste of money and they’re not the greatest for the environment. Replace dryer sheets with reusable dryer balls or line dry your clothes and enjoy the scent of fresh air.
3. Bottled Drinks
From bottled water to iced tea, most Americans spend a lot of money on packaged drinks. When you think about how simple and cheap it is to make your own, there’s really no excuse. This summer, why not buy your favorite tea bags and make your own iced tea rather than buying bottled drinks? You can start filtering water at home and carry a reusable water bottle along with you in the car; the environment will thank you for it. As for soda and energy drinks, cutting back on the sugary stuff saves you money and benefits your health.
4. Late Fees and High Interest Rates
Anytime you incur a late fee on a bill, you’re wasting money. The same goes for interest. If you’re only paying the minimum on your student loan or credit card, you’re wasting money on interest. The faster you can pay down your premium, the less interest you incur. If you can throw even $20 more at your debts, you’re doing yourself a favor.
When was the last time you overspent with coupons for things you didn’t really like or need? Coupons can trick you into overspending by making it seem like you’re getting a good deal on stuff you otherwise wouldn’t buy so buyer beware! Only use coupons for food you would buy even if it wasn’t on sale. Get smart about clipping and downloading the right kinds of coupons and get to cooking your own meals (a great way to save even more money)!
6. Car Leases and Car Payments
When you consider how fast cars depreciate, purchasing a nice car these days tends to be a huge waste of money. Get out of your car payment and buy an old car you can afford outright to instantly stop wasting hundreds of dollars a month. If you live in a city, try being car-free. Use Uber, Lyft, public transportation, or check out ridesharing programs. These options may end up being much more cost effective than a car payment, maintenance, and parking when you do the math.
7. Gym Memberships
That unused gym membership is wasting your money. If you go irregularly (less than once a week) consider cancelling and purchasing a kettlebell, free weights, or jump rope to get in shape while saving money. You can get a great workout by running, speed-walking, or hiking and incorporating strength training exercises a few times a week.