Sharon Jannusch


10 Top Ways to Waste Money

10 Top Ways to Waste Money

By Barbara Pronin


If you aim to tighten your belt this year to save more or pay off debt, you need to figure out where to find extra bucks. The money mavens at suggest doing it by plugging up the leaks in your spending.

Start by eliminating wasteful spending habits like these:

  • Paying for stuff you don’t use – Whether it’s Netflix, premium cable channels, or an unused gym membership, everyone spends money on stuff they thought they needed. Run such expenses by the family and determine where you can cut.
  • Buying brand name only – The difference between major brand groceries and generic, or store labeled, can be dramatic. In many cases, you can save big each week and barely notice a difference in quality.
  • Using coupons for the sake of them – Don’t use a cents-off coupon unless you really need the item. Generic brands are probably cheaper, anyway.
  • Buying insurance you don’t need – Your auto insurance policy covers a rental car. Regular term life is cheaper than mortgage life. If you have no dependents, how much life insurance do you need?
  • Overspending on gas – Stick to regular gas if your owner’s manual recommends it. Premium won’t improve mileage. But correct tire pressure will, so check it regularly – and change the oil as recommended.
  • Leaving money in a low interest account – If you’re getting next to nothing from your traditional savings account, search for highest yields on CDs and money market accounts. Consider online savings.
  • Not pulling the plug on electronics – Most households waste up to $100 year to power devices while unused or on standby mode. Pull the plug whenever you can.
  • Not reading the fine print – Moving a credit balance to a lower interest card can cost you if the transfer fee is high. Know which ATMs you can use free of charge, and be sure your bank isn’t charging you for services like banking with a teller.
  • Mismanaging your Flexible Spending Account – Contributions to an FSA come out of your paycheck before taxes -- so you don't have to pay taxes on that portion of your income. Then you can use the money tax-free to pay for health care deductibles, co-payments, dental work and child care.
  • Staying with the same providers – It’s the path of least resistance. But it pays to comparison shop every few months for better deals on insurance, cable, smartphone and more.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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