Since we started budgeting and tracking our spending in July 2015 I have noticed that we waste money on some stupid things. While we have gotten a handle on our budget over the past three years we still waste money every week. It is a struggle that we are constantly trying to improve. Every month we evaluate our budget and decide what can be cut back on or what we need to change. We have drastically cut back on quite a few things but still find ourselves wasting money every month.
I want to share with your some of the stupid things we waste money on and share tips on how to improve these areas.
5 Things We Waste Money On
Running out and grabbing a burger at 5 Guys or stopping at Culver’s always gets us in trouble. Neither of these fast-food restaurants are cheap and it definitely throws our budget off. Even though we have tried to cut out fast food altogether we still find ourselves out at least once a month. It’s better than it was in the past but we could still improve upon this.
Meal planning will help you cut out those fast food trips. Look at your schedule and make a note on the nights that you may need something quick and on-the-go. Maybe you have kids activities at night or you work a bit later. These are the perfect opportunities for a slow-cooked meal. Set it and forget it. That is my favorite way to stay ahead of the dinner struggle. You’ll need to plan for these slow-cooked meals but they will definitely save you both time and money.
Unused Gym Memberships
We paid for a gym membership for a year and only stepped in the door once. It was only $10 per month so we really didn’t feel that monthly fee. However, it was basically $120 we threw away over the course of a year because we didn’t use the membership. Then we had to pay a cancellation fee. Fail.
If you utilize your gym membership that is awesome. Look at your membership and how you are using it. If you are only going to the gym once or twice per week could you do these workouts at home instead? Can you switch to a cheaper membership if you are not using all of the perks?
If you are not using your gym membership it is time to cancel the membership. You may pay a small cancellation fee but it will most likely be less than the monthly fee you are paying.
Monthly & Annual Subscriptions
We canceled our Amazon Prime subscription a few years ago. Sometimes I feel like the only American without a box showing up at their doorstep every month. However, something crazy happened when we canceled the subscription. We stopped shopping on Amazon (for the most part). I wasn’t one-click shopping anymore and going over budget on random crap. This was one way we waste money and I don’t even miss it!
There are so many subscriptions available now. Amazon Prime, Weight Watchers, Netflix, Hulu, Magazines, Graze etc. Are you really using everything you are paying for? If not, cancel the subscription. While most subscriptions have a low monthly fee if you are not using it every month you are wasting money. Most of the items you subscribe can be purchased in store. If it was an online subscription search a little bit – you may find a free resource to utilize instead.
Credit Card Interest
I don’t even want to know how much money we have wasted on interest. It is thousands of dollars. As our balance increased because of our overspending the monthly interest we were paying to the bank increased. We are still paying interest but every month that number decreases as we pay off more debt.
High-interest credit cards and loans are something that I highly recommend you try to eliminate. This will save you money every month by only spending money you truly have and not paying the bank to borrow money. By budgeting and becoming intentional with your spending you can sever ties with your credit card.
When we purchased a newer-used truck a few years ago we also purchased the extended warranty. We really didn’t know much about it but knew we needed it. Ha. We canceled the warranty a few months later and got most of our money back. If you read the warranty it usually doesn’t cover the things that are going to go wrong with the vehicle based on the age. Vehicle warranties are super inflated and the dealership makes the majority of the money on them. Just say no. Save money in a sinking fund for car repairs as they come up.
There are warranties on everything these days. The extended warranty on a vehicle is the most expensive that I can think of right now. However, there are less expensive warranties we waste money. Take my husband for example – he bought an XBox on Black Friday and signed up for the warranty. It was only $20 but do you really need a warranty on a gaming system? No! The system was only a few hundred dollars and while $20 isn’t much it was not something we needed to spend money on.
Just say no to extended warranties when asked.
We all waste money and need to recognize what these problems areas are for each of us.
If you are looking to cut back on your budget you may need to look at the holes in your budget. We all waste money every single day. Maybe your guilty pleasure is cable television or a coffee out every morning. These things are not necessities and can be cut back. Take a look at your budget and decide what you can cut back on or do without. You will be surprised at how much money you can save every month. It definitely adds up over the course of a year!