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25 Things You’re Spending Too Much Money On

As a person becomes overwhelmed  by all of the expenses that life throws at them, it can be difficult to manage one’s money, regardless of income. One of the best ways to improve one’s financial situation is to cut back costs; when doing this a person should figure out just what they are paying much for. To help anyone looking to save some money figure that out, this article is going to describe the top 25 things that people are paying too much for.

1. Retail insurance

The scenario is always the same: Someone finds what they need and get to the register, only to be bombarded by implorements by a pushy sales associate who insists that the shopper needs that extended warranty, insurance or “service plan.” Regardless of how the retailers have instructed their employees to word it, one fact remains constant: They are almost always useless. Most of them cost between 50 and 100 percent of the price of a product that probably won’t need replacing; what’s more, all but a few don’t offer you any more protection than the manufacturer’s warranty that the product comes with.

2. Brand name medicine

The world has become so over-branded that people feel as though everything, from their clothing to their prescription drugs, must bear a recognizable brand — otherwise it is not as good right? In the case of medicine, that assessment is dead wrong. Generic prescriptions must undergo the same rigorous testing by the FDA that the brand name ones do; what’s more, government research has shown that generic prescription drugs work just as well as the brand name ones. In this case, a buyer really is paying for the name.

3. Late payments

In this digital, fully accessible era, one can pay a bill with a few clicks of a button or taps of a touchscreen. This, however, does not prevent many people from making late payments nonetheless. Most late payments come attached with late fees that can often be higher than the bill itself. Unless the funds simply aren’t available on the due date, there is really no excuse for this, especially since one can set up autopayments or schedule a payment well in advance.

4. Bottled water

Water is simultaneously the most precious and the most abundant resource on this planet. This fact, however, does not prevent distributors from charging an arm and a leg for a single bottle. They are able to get away with this by convincing people that they are selling “natural spring water” when in truth, they are only selling tap water that has been filtered by a device very similar to the inexpensive filters that one can attach to their faucet at home. Since most people pay less than a penny for a single gallon of faucet water (vs $1 or more for a few ounces), there is a lot of money to be saved here.

5. Your own money (bank account fees)

People should not be paying someone else for their hard earned money. This thought is completely counterintuitive. That fact, however, does not prevent countless people from paying account fees, minimum balance fees and a host of other senseless expenses that should not exist. Believe it or not, it is possible to find a bank that does not do this; negotiating with a bank is also possible, since they need to store people’s money in order to operate.

6. Premium gasoline

The higher price tag and fancy name attached to “premium” gasoline has convinced people that higher octane gas will enhance fuel efficiency and reduce engine wear, but this is merely a fabrication. Higher octane gasoline only exists for vehicles with higher compression ratios (high-end sports cars mostly). These types of vehicles need the more expensive premium gasoline. Most cars, however, see no benefits from premium (or plus) gasoline. As long as the manufacturer does not mandate high octane gasoline for a vehicle, regular is the best option.

7. Your taxes

Tax season is one of the most frustrating times of year. For some, Uncle Sam has been holding their money hostage for months; for others, the government has their hand out in demand of payment. Either way, filing taxes is filled with so much jargon, instructions and questions that it can make one want to follow the easiest route possible to get things over with. That, however, is a big mistake. Spending a few more hours on filing taxes either at home or with an accountant can save a taxpayer hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

8. Your next car

Vehicle technology has advanced so far that new vehicles are no longer the only ones that shine. Many people, however, simply go with the new model because, well, it is new. By comparing the newest model with the previous two or three year’s models, however, one can find that there is usually little to no difference; what’s more, this is an opportunity to receive deep price cuts by using that “it has been driven off of the lot” stigma to one’s advantage.

9. Your electronics

Technology is advancing so rapidly that many of the latest, greatest electronics devices are obsolete the day that they are released — literally. By waiting a few months so that the next line of products has time to build a buzz, one can see deep discounts on their electronics from the launch price. Also, one should keep in mind that electronics is one of the most heavily discounted category of products during the holidays. It could pay to do a little holiday shopping for oneself.

10. Vehicle maintenance and repairs at the car dealership

The car dealerships would have everyone believe that their mechanics are the only ones qualified to fix and maintain the brand of vehicles that they sell. They do this by referring to their mechanics as [insert brand name here] service professionals and closing every sentence by reminding customers that they use parts directly from the manufacturer. While they would have you believe that they are the only ones qualified to work on a specific type of car, this is simply not true. The mechanics at regular shops are just as qualified as the “service professionals” and just like the dealership, they can order parts directly from the manufacturer.

11. Cell phone plans

Before one signs a two year deal with a phone carrier, they should figure out exactly what they need. One should determine if they need any additional features, such as roadside assistance; if not, they should be removed. Also, since data is pretty much the only cellular feature left that has options other than unlimited, one should figure out how much data they actually use and select a package slightly above that number.

12. “Health” foods

Just because a food insinuates — or outright claims — that is is healthier does not mean that it is. For instance, many of those “healthy” snack bars that cost five to ten times as much as a candy bar contain just as much sugar as a favored tasty treat. Popular supplements aren’t exempt either. For instance, protein powder is a popular option for those who stay in shape, but in most cases, one gets more than enough protein from their normal diet. In fact, excess protein is actually bad for a person’s health.

13. Your energy bill

Improper home insulation, poor heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system maintenance and simply leaving the lights on can cost a person a lot of money on their energy bill. For the short-term, one should manage their energy use and optimize the efficiency of their appliances; for the long-term, one should update their appliances to more energy efficient options whenever possible.

14. Music

Digital technology has ensured that people no longer have to buy entire albums that include songs they don’t like. Cherry picking favorite songs can save hundreds (and in some cases thousands) over time.

15. ATM fees

Everyone has been in a situation where their bank’s ATM isn’t nearby, so they chalk up the $2-5 and pay to withdraw their own money. Instead of continuing to be victimized by this banking scam, one should have at least one bank account that prevents or refunds these fees.

16. Greeting cards

Five dollars or more per card for everyone on every occasion will add up very quickly. Instead of paying Hallmark hundreds of dollars per year, one can find free greeting cards online and have them printed for pennies.

17. Retail store products

If one can afford to wait, then they are usually looking at massive savings by purchasing a product online, where most things are sold for a fraction of the prices in retail stores. If there is a need to see a product in person before a purchase is made, using the brick-and-mortar stores to browse is always an option.

18. The highest possible definition TV

Television marketers have convinced most of the world that higher definition equals a better viewing experience. While this is true to a point, it rarely prompts the need to invest in the highest definition available. For instance, if one owns a television that is less than 50 inches, 720p and 1080p are virtually identical.

19. Auto insurance

Car insurers have a clever way of keeping people trapped in their service: automatic renewals. While this may seem convenient, it makes it seem as though one is trapped in the service for another six months to a year. In reality, one can change insurance whenever they please. The best best is to shop around at least once per year.

20. Hotel stays

The rates for a hotel are not the same everywhere. One should shop around at different booking agents and/or travel websites to find the best price.

21. Your computer

Not everyone needs that computer with a high-powered CPU, endless gigabytes of RAM and several terabytes of memory. These components can be expensive enough to add over a thousand dollars to the price of a computer. One should figure out what they need and only pay for those features.

22. Branded accessories

Many companies (especially electronics manufacturers) would have everyone believe that only accessories made by them will work correctly with their products. The truth is, however, that these products can and will work just as well hooked up to a third-party charger, pair of headphones, ect. One can save at least 50 percent by shopping around for third party accessories.

23. Parking

Parking tickets, parking garages and parking meters — all of these things will add up to cost a driver anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each year. Properly planning trips — or occasionally using public transportation — can reduce the effects of this problem.

24. Food

Nobody can live without food, but nobody has to overpay for it either. There are plenty of couponing resources that can create deep discounts at the grocery stores after only a few minutes therein. Eating what is already in one’s fridge should be eaten before they go splurging at the grocery store; spoiled food is one of the most popular (and expensive) ways to increase a grocery budget. Also, for foodstuffs that are consumed often, buying in bulk should be considered.

25. Your credit score

Sometimes, dire financial straits make a poor credit score unavoidable. More often than not, however, people shave points on their own credit score needlessly. Excessively late payments, missed payments, overzealously applying for unnecessary credit cards and canceling current cards are all great ways to drop a credit score a few dozen — or hundred — points. One should never forget that a credit score will determine loan rates (and likelihood of approval), deposit amounts, credit limits and other factors that impact one’s pocket are affected by their credit score.

To learn more…

These are just a few of the ways that you can save yourself a great deal of money. To learn more about how to approach managing your finances, feel free to contact us.

  • Takes your existing debt and try to settle with your creditors for a lower amount. If you pay off the settled amount, your debt will be considered paid in full.
  • Negotiates with your creditors on your behalf.
  • Fee based on a percentage of your total starting debt or a percentage of the debt they save you.
  • Most settlement companies have you create a separate "escrow" account where you will make monthly contributions over a certain amount of time to contribute to your settlement. Once there is a substantial amount of funds to show your creditors, the settlement company will try to negotiate a lower amount of debt.
  • Combines all your debts and creditors into one monthly payment.
  • Allows you to pay one monthly payment to the consolidation company, instead of multiple payments to different creditors.
  • You no longer owe your original creditors; instead you pay one monthly payment to your consolidation company.
  • Consolidation companies can help negotiate lower interest rates on your debts and help lower your total debt payment in the long run. A lower interest rate will lower the amount you owe in the end.
  • Allows you to consolidate all your different debts into one personal loan that can be paid off over time.
  • Can offer borrowers a lower interest rate with a longer payback term (compared to high-interest credit cards or medical bills). This will lower the amount of money required to pay off the loan over time.
  • Personal loan debt consolidation can be an effective way to raise your credit score quickly (within 3-6 months).
  • Borrowers can receive funds from their loan within only a few days.

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