Whether you have money to spend or not, there is no excuse to waste money on nothingness. The definition of “nothingness” – spent money that gives you nothing(ness). You might as well burn the money instead.
There are probably quite a few things you’re wasting your money on. Some you’ll know about and others you won’t realise.
I’m one of those people that tracks ALL our spend. I have a spreadsheet that I plug the spend from all our accounts. At the click of a few keys on the keyboard, I can see what we have spent against our budget.
We have wasted money on a few things in the past, and sometimes we still do. But here is a rundown of what you could be wasting your money on and how not to.
ATM fees are a lazy way to waste money. There are so many FREE ATMs around that spending money to withdraw money is ridiculous. If you do have to use an ATM in an emergency that charges for withdrawals, make sure you’re withdrawing enough to justify it.
Plastic. Waste. I don’t think I need to say more. Sir Attenborough has made the issues plain. Invest in a reusable bottle instead and use the Refill app to find out where you can refill your bottle for free. Then when you’re out and about and run out of the thirst quenching stuff, you won’t waste money buying a bottle of water.
Duplicates of things
It’s a good idea to check your insurances to make sure you’re not duplicating anything. Does your contents insurance have free emergency call out cover? Is breakdown cover included in your car insurance? Does your employer include life insurance with your employment? If they do, you don’t need to pay for each of these things separately as well. It’s worth spending a little time going through the insurances you have, as this is a real waste of cash you can avoid. However, pay attention to the details of the cover to ensure you have what you need before cancelling anything.*
Warranties you’ll never use
Before you accept a warranty on small electrical appliances, weigh up if you’ll ever cash in on them. If you buy a kettle for £50 are you going to use the warranty if it goes wrong or will you buy another kettle? If you are the kind of person who will spend the time sending the item back and can wait a week or so for a replacement then great. Otherwise, make sure you’re not wasting the money on something you won’t use even if the need arose.
The food you don’t eat
On a Saturday we have a food shop delivered for the week. On a Friday, I work out what we need and make sure our Saturday delivery has those items on it. Nothing more. Yes, we get to Friday night and our fridge looks pretty bare, but we buy what we need and use what we need with very little waste at all. You don’t need your fridge and cupboards packed with food at all times. Enough is all that is necessary.
Memberships or subscriptions
Magazines that don’t get read. Beauty boxes where half the items you receive don’t get used. Food boxes that contain foods that you don’t like or eat. Gym memberships that are used for a month or two a year. The list goes on. Check what you have, and cancel what you don’t FULLY use. Be completely honest with yourself. Which leads on nicely to the next point.
Payments or memberships that renew automatically
Membership payments that renew automatically have stung me a few times. I’d forgotten about them and didn’t need them anymore. Look through your PayPal automatic renewals and payments on your bank accounts and credit cards. As a result, you won’t be hit with that frustrating feeling when you pay for a renewed membership you don’t want or need.
Interest on credit card purchases
Paying interest on your credit card purchases is a real waste of money. There are many 0% interest deals on credit cards these days. If you’re paying interest on your credit card, you can look into transferring the balance to a 0% card. Money saving expert is a great place to look at these deals. They do the hard work for you and tell you currently which the best deals are. You could save a shed load on interest payments.*
Buying refurbished items is a great way to get the best products for less money. But be careful about where you are buying them from and investigate their returns policy and time frames.
The Other Half recently purchased a refurbished gaming computer with an extended 12-month warranty to go with it. It was a great deal. Until it stopped working three months later. We realised that, even with the 12 months warranty, because we bought it online it would take up to 3 months to have the PC looked at by the merchant and we had to send it back at our own cost. If they decided it wasn’t broken or damaged in transit, they would send it back. So, in all, this could be more than a 6-month process, and we might end up with a PC that was still broken at the end of it.
In the end, he took it to a local computer fixing place (official title), and they fixed it within a week for not much more than the extended warranty. What a waste of money. We chalked it up to experience and moved on.
The epitome of a false economy. If you are going to spend money on buying in bulk, you need to make sure you are going to be able to use the items before the use-by dates and be able to store it. It’s not just food that has a use by date but cosmetics and toiletries too. The ‘buy two’ deals in the supermarket can also be deceptive. Most of the time, the difference can be a couple of pence so you can end up paying a whole lot more on your shop than you needed to in the first place. Panorama made a very interesting programme about this. It was a few years ago but still worth knowing what to look out for, so you don’t get played.
Have a look at your finances, are you wasting money that you could be putting to use elsewhere or saving? If you are, then it’s time to make some tweaks to how you think about your purchases.
* The above references are an opinion and are for information purposes only. It’s not intended to be financial advice. You must seek a certified professional for financial advice.
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash