20 mistakes that empty your wallet
Do you want more money in your pockets? Does money slip through your fingers too easily? Avoid these 20 proven errors that drain your wallet.
Withdrawing money from ATMs
If you take money out of ATMs a few times a week, you may be paying a fortune in banking fees. To limit fees, take out a little more money when you do or get cash back when you pay for your groceries. Try to avoid withdrawing from a cash machine that isn’t from your own bank; they will charge you additional service fees.
Doing your banking at the counter
Do you still pay your bills by going to a bank teller? Did you know that you could probably save tens of dollars every month by paying your bills online or using your bank’s mobile app?Online banking servicesusually offer a ton of free or affordable transactions that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Buying bottled water
In addition to their terrible impact on the environment, disposable water bottles literally drain your wallet. Bottled water will cost you hundreds more than tap water will. What’s more, many manufacturers source their water directly from municipal systems.
If you need to bring water with you, choose a reusable bottle instead.
Using name-brand medication
Name-brand medication generally costs a lot more than generic drugs. If you have to take medication regularly, you will probably save tens, even hundreds of dollars every year by choosing generic drugs.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before choosing a generic medication.
Renting your modem
When you choose an internet package, check whether modem rental is included in the price. Some companies charge their customers up to $10 a month to rent their modem. That means that over five years, you will pay $600 for a modem that you don’t even own. Buying your own modem is often the best solution, since many models are available for less than $100.
Did you know that adults aged 35 to 44 spend US$4,249 every year on takeout and restaurant meals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? That’s a huge sum.
Save restaurants for special occasions and choose leftovers for lunch. You will waste less food and undoubtedly make healthier food choices.
Throwing away food
Food waste is terrible for the environment and for your wallet. Every year, consumers in developed countries waste 222 million tonnes of food. On average, a household throws out uneaten food equivalent to CA$1,100 in Canada and US$1,440 in the U.S.
To limit food waste, plan your meals more efficiently and prepare a shopping list.
Choosing a plan with low data
Choosing a cell plan with the lowest amount of data is not always the best choice, especially if you exceed your limit every month. Data overage fees vary from one company to the next, but they are usually pretty high.
To avoid going over on your data, activate notifications, choose Wi-Fi whenever you can or opt for an unlimited plan.
Using devices that suck electricity
Many electronics, such as TVs, terminals and game consoles, use electricity even when they are turned off. Families pay an average of US$200 per year for this “vampire load.”
To solve the issue, get yourself a power strip with a button you can push to turn off the feed when electronics are not in use.
Subscribing to cable
If you pay for cable, it is likely costing you more than $1,000 per year. By cutting cable, you will save a ton of money and can watch several channels by using an antenna. Do you love TV series? Subscribe to a service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime for access to hundreds of hours of content for just a few dollars per month.
Paying the minimum on your credit card
If your credit card is always full, you will obviously be paying a lot of interest. Paying late is even worse. If you have a $1,000 balance on your card, for example, you will have paid $798.89 in interest after 10 years, which is how long it will take to pay the balance if you are only putting the minimum towards it every month.
To limit interest fees, try to pay the balance in full every month or find a card with a lower interest rate.
Letting your car engine idle
Not only is it bad for the environment, but idling your vehicle when waiting in line at a drive-thru, for example, is costly too. After just 10 seconds, it is smarter financially to cut the engine and reboot it when you are ready to move again.
Buying coffee from a restaurant every day
If you stop in to the local coffee shop every morning on your way to work, you are wasting hundreds of dollars every year. Save money by preparing your coffee at home and bring it into work in a reusable mug.
Shopping on an empty stomach
Never using coupons
Failing to use coupons is a recipe for draining your wallet. These days, consumers have access to a ton of ways to save. There are not only the classic coupons, but a slew of apps designed for one purpose: to save you money. Extreme couponers even claim to save up to 84% on their grocery bill.
Buying everything new
If you only buy new, you are wasting a ton of money. You can save big by purchasing items second-hand, such as books, furniture, video games and your car.
Most new cars lose 30% of their value in the first year alone. By waiting a year or two, you can find a recent model at a much lower price.
Dry-cleaning all your clothing
Having your clothes dry-cleaned may save time, but it’s a habit that will send you to the poor house. Keep dry-cleaning for clothing labelled “dry-clean only.” You can even buy dry-cleaning kits for around $10 and do it yourself.
Playing the lottery
Playing the lottery every week doesn’t improve your odds of winning the big prize. In fact, you’ll see a better return on investment if you put your money into thestock market. For example, if you spend $5 a week on lottery tickets and you never win, you will spend $5,200 over 20 years. However, if you invest the same amount in the stock market at a rate of 7.3% (the average historic performance rate for stocks), you will have $11,015 in your pockets after two decades.
Paying for a monthly gym membership
Unless you work out at your gym several times a week, your membership is probably costing you money. According to a study, 56.83% of new members would get more for their money by paying per use instead of buying an annual membership.