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Wasting money is a thing that so many people do on a regular basis. There are a lot of ways that money can be wasted, but here are 7 very common ways you waste money.
But you don't have to waste money.
Wouldn't you rather have more money in your bank account than thrown in the trash?
I know I would! I absolutely love having a really fat bank account over an overstuffed fridge!
How can you stop wasting money?
Track Every Penny You Spend
Sometimes just the act of having to write down what you spent money on is enough to stop you from spending it.
When you make a money plan or a budget or a spending plan (whatever you want to call it), you should be tracking your money anyway so that you know where you spent your money and can see your actual budget in use.
But in my experience, I see so many people who only set the budget and then don't track their money. Or they will track their money for a few days and forget about it.
Tracking your money spent will help you actually realize where you are spending money. It will help you realize where you are spending money that you didn't even need to spend it. And it will help you realize what you buying on a regular basis.
An added bonus of tracking your spending, you will also notice your spending habits. Are there certain times of the month that you are spending more money? Are there certain situations that make you spend more money?
Notice Your Spending Habits
Do you buy things because a certain situation happened in your life?
Do you buy things at a certain time of the month?
Do you buy things just because they are on sale?
Your spending habits can make or break the bank. When you track your spending and really notice how you are wasting money, you will notice your spending habits.
When you notice your spending habits, you can easily start to make changes to them.
My biggest habit that I had was buying chocolate when I had a bad day. It didn't matter what happened, but any kind of bad day, meant I needed to have chocolate. I would stop at the store on the way home from work just to buy chocolate.
I would use the excuse that I was buying it at the grocery store, so it counted as food, not the junk it really was. When I caught myself with this habit, I was able to go into why I actually bought the chocolate.
It was a treat for myself to make me feel better. But I didn't need that treat.
So when you see where you actually spend money, what habits do you have around spending that you want to change because they don't serve your goal of spending less money?
Make a List of What You Need to Buy
It really doesn't matter what kind of shopping you are doing, you should make a list of the items that are needed. This list is your plan so that you can stick to your budget.
Plus when you make a list, you can look through what you do have first.
Back to School Shopping
Go through your and your kids closets and dressers. See what you have that still fits. See what you have that is worn out.
Pull out anything that is no longer going to be worn to either be thrown away or donated or sold.
Then plan out what you actually need to buy.
And take your plan to the store with you to buy the new clothing items that are needed.
It really helps to make a meal plan before you start your grocery list.
Then based off your meal plan, go through your pantry and figure out what you still need to buy to make your meals for this week. And make your grocery list based on what you still need to buy.
Keep a running list of the things you need to buy. Things like shampoo, conditioner, makeup, hair supplies, only buy them when you need them.
Things that you want, keep a list of what you want, but also evaluate why you want it. Do you want it just because? Do you want it because it will make you happy right now? Do you want it because it's something that you actually need and it will improve some area of your life right now?
And also use the 24-48 hour rule below for things that you want, but don't really need.
Only Buy What You Need and Can Use
It's a natural human tendency to buy extra of things.
For me, personally, I always buy extra fruits and vegetables. And this is my biggest money waster. I end up throwing away a lot because I can't eat it all before they are going to go bad. I do catch myself and cut back most of the time, now.
But when we go to the store, we see that something is on sale, so we buy extras of it just to keep around.
When you buy extra food, you could also try to freeze it to make it last longer. This is one way that I preserve more of my fruits and vegetables when I do realize that I buy too much of them.
We don't always need to stock on extras of everything. And in the long run, it can save you more money by not stocking up.
Don't Try Free Trials if You Don't Need that Item
There are so many things out there that have a free trial. If you are someone who habitually forgets to cancel your free trial after trying the program, then don't even sign up for them in the first place.
Because the reality is, if you are forgetting to cancel it, then you are most likely not even using the free trial. Then you are completely wasting the money that you are spending on the service when you end up paying after the free trial ends.
Plus, if the program you are trying out isn't even something you would normally even use, why would you try the free trial? Simply because it's free?
Free doesn't always mean free. And forgetfulness will end up costing you a lot of money.
Use the 24-48 Hour Rule
When you see something in the store (or online) that you think you want, wait for 24-48 hours before you actually make your purchase.
One of my favorite things to do is to load my shopping cart in the webstores and then walk away. If I can't stop thinking about having what I put in my cart, then I may have a need for it. But if I can completely forget about what is in my cart, then I really don't need it.
If I find something in the store that I want, I've learned to put my impulse shopping on hold and not buy it immediately. I'll home and think about why I really want that item.
If I want it badly enough, I will drive back to the store to get it a day or two later. But I have to want it badly enough, because I'm a real homebody and like being at home and keeping the energy of my home around me. I don't really enjoy going out much.
So when you see something you want in the store, pause in your purchase. Give yourself 24-48 hours before completing your purchase.
Can you stop thinking about this item you want?
Does this purchase fit in your budget?
How is this purchase going to change your life?
What else do you have at home that is similar? And do you use this item you already have at home?
If you can honestly answer these questions for yourself, and you still need this item, then go ahead, go back to the store and make your purchase.
Choose Savings Over Convenience
Having things delivered and not having to go to the store ourselves is a really nice convenience.
But how much of your budget is it actually eating up?
Many of these delivery companies do have a trial period where you can get some free deliveries while you try out their service to see if you like it our not. And then you get locked into a service of having to use them.
Plus you are also charged a delivery fee to have someone else deliver your purchases to your house.
And for the most part, you can go to the store yourself, save money on the delivery fee, and buy what you need, so that it costs less than what you were paying for the delivery of your purchase.
It's really up to you if you want to save money or be convenienced by having someone else do things for you like your grocery shopping.
Sometimes you really need to do the cost versus savings analysis. How much is it worth to you to save the money versus having someone else do the work and spend more money?
Are you ready to stop wasting money? Where are you going to start with ending your money wasting habits? What is your biggest money wasting habit that you want to change?