When looking to maximize your money and make the most of every dollar you earn, it is valuable to assess where all of your dollars go. In a world where you are constantly online and learning about new products, it is easy to get caught up in the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality even if you don’t realize you are that way. Check out the ten biggest things you’re wasting money on and see if it is time to reassess your spending!
#1 Credit Card Interest
According to Value Penguin, credit card interest on cash back credit cards averages at 20.9%, and if you miss a payment, the penalty interest rate gets as high as 29.99% with some companies. A credit card debt of $1,000 at a rate of 20.9% and a repayment of $20 a month will take over nine years to pay off and will cost you $2,380.
When considered this way, think that credit card interest is just throwing money away that could be spent elsewhere. Credit card interest is a major waste of money. Decrease the money you pay in interest by increasing the amount of money you pay toward your balance.
#2 Going Out to Eat
Although going out to eat is convenient, it costs more than preparing meals at home. In the past few years, the inflation rate of the entire economy has been 1.4%, but the rate for restaurant prices has risen by 2.7%.
Decrease the number of times you go out to eat per week or month. Cutting one meal out per week for a family of four can save around $200 a month.
#3 Cable or Digital TV
Cable bills can easily reach over $100 per month, and this doesn’t include a sports package. As of the year 2016 the average cable bill was $103 per month. Now there are more ways than ever to get access to television shows you love without overpaying.
Look into decreasing your bill by cutting channels or switching to digital streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
#4 Car Payments
Car payments are an expensive cost for most Americans. Experian reports the average car payment is $483 a month. In some parts of the country, this amount is significant enough for a large portion of rent or mortgage payment. The best advice for reducing your debt is selling your vehicle and buying something used and in cash.
#5 Gym Memberships
Do you actually use your gym membership? Paying for a gym membership at the rate of $50 a month costs $600 annually. Be honest with yourself about how frequently you will use the membership and determine if the money is better spent elsewhere.
#6 Daily Luxury Purchases, like Coffee and Snacks
That coffee you get on the way to work every day, even if it costs $2, at 260 working days a year this is $520. Assess your lifestyle to determine if you are spending money on daily luxury purchases like a coffee, a soda, or even light snacks.
#7 Cell Phone Bill
It is all too common for Americans to accept their cell phone bills as a cost that cannot be changed. Instead of setting your phone on auto-pay, give them a call and talk about decreasing your bill. You might be able to cut out add-ons you don’t use, eliminate phone insurance, or work through line items in your bill.
#8 Online Purchases
With online consumer shopping increasing on an annual basis, you are likely participating in the purchasing culture. According to BigCommerce, the average amount spent online per year is $488. One way to decrease your online purchases is to never connect your debit card to your online account or activate one-click shopping on any website. This gives you time to ask yourself if the purchase is completely necessary.
#9 Luxury Upgrades to Everyday Items
Have you recently upgraded to a more expensive product that you use on a daily basis? It starts with upgrading your shampoo and conditioner, then leads into makeup, office supplies, and more. Ask yourself if the name-brand item is necessary when the more affordable option is just as good.
#10 Air Conditioning and Heating
While every part of the country is different, many Americans overpay for air conditioning and heating. By changing your indoor temperature by two degrees (two degrees hotter in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter) decreases your bill and the system runs less. The right practices with your system has the potential to save hundreds per year.
Change One Step at a Time
While all of these changes won’t occur overnight, working on your spending can break habits of wasting money while increasing your bank account balance. Tackle these changes one-by-one, track your results, and experience the freedom of a bank account with an emergency fund!