There is no shortage of products and services available today promising to enhance your life in one way or another. Many of these products or services follow through on their promise and you get value for your investment.
Unfortunately, there are many products and services designed solely to give the impression of working, but ultimately fail to deliver and waste money.
One of the best ways to save money is to first eliminate products and services you do not need. In many circumstances, these are products or services purchased on impulse because of their advertising only to end up wasting away in storage after failing to impress you. Other areas to focus on are services that technically are convenient but cost too much for what you are getting in return. One common way sellers trick you into spending more money than you need is to include extra services as part of the transaction, making it seem like you are getting a deal when, in reality, you are throwing your money away.
You may feel like you are making the responsible decision when you invest in an extended warranty for newly purchased electronics or gaming systems. The cost of these warranties or service contracts is often quite high. For example, you may purchase a $200 item and be offered an extended warranty for $45. The problem is in what the warranty covers for the cost. There are often exclusions for the most common issues you need the warranty for in the first place. You also are usually paying too much for the item being covered relative to the cost of the item and the length of the warranty. Instead, put away a bit of money each month in an account for minor repairs and tap into this account when necessary.
Each year, thousands of consumers sign up for gym memberships as a part of their New Year’s resolutions. Most of them go regularly to the gym for about a month before they quit. There are millions of shoppers paying for gym memberships they hardly ever use. While joining seems like a good way to get motivated to stay in shape, it does not usually work. If you are not already motivated and already using a gym or exercise equipment on a regular basis, chances are a new membership will not suddenly increase your motivation. Many members hang on to their memberships long after they have stopped going to the gym, telling themselves they can back into the habit before finally admitting it is not going to happen.
Commercials that advertise the effectiveness of name brand pain relievers, heart medications and other drugs make up a large portion of advertisements. Many viewers are convinced brand name medications are superior to generic medications from these commercials. This is not the case. Generic medicine uses the same ingredients and are just as effective in treating pain and other conditions but cost significantly less. The next time you reach for a bottle of expensive headache medicine, look for the generic or store brand instead.
Going to the movies, downloading films, buying new video games you are dying to play – all of these are a waste of money. In most instances, movies at the theater will be on Netflix or similar platforms within a few months. If you opt to wait until you can watch them at home, you also avoid buying expensive theater foods and drinks. You can rent most video games for a fraction of their cost or wait a few weeks for used copies to become available.
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The same logic applies for books. Buying a book when it first comes out often costs $20 to $25. Instead, get a library card instead and check out books for free as often as you want. Many larger libraries now let you download books to your tablet digitally, so you do not even have to visit their physical location.
Meal delivery kits have seen a huge spike in popularity as of writing. These meal kits are supposed to offer buyers delicious meals that are easy to prepare packaged in kits with all the ingredients right down to the spices and condiments. You then prepare the meals at home for a fresh, affordable lunch or dinner.
In most cases, the meals are tasty and there is less food waste, but for what you are getting, you are paying too much for food. Most memberships charge an additional sign-up fee and require a monthly subscription, so you are stuck paying each month. In reality, you can buy these same, fresher ingredients at your local grocery store and find the recipes online easily. You also end up with a lot of wasted packaging and a narrow range of meal choices. If you are looking for vegetarian options or gluten-free, you pay even more.
Starbucks is practically an American icon. Nearly every town has at least one Starbucks or similar coffee café option. These purchases are easy to write off, since it ends up being at most a few dollars each transaction. However, if you add up the costs over time you may find you are throwing away $25 or more a week, or over $250 a year. Instead, invest in a decent coffee maker and a few flavored syrups so you can make your java drink at home. An insulated mug and you are out the door each morning with the same drink for just pennies a cup. This little trick can help you save money every day.
Impulse buying refers to purchasing an item you know you do not need because it seems appealing in the moment. Each purchase seems small, but they can add up quickly. Every time you buy a cold cola at the drive-through instead of pouring a beverage at home or buy shoes you may only wear a few times, you are throwing away hard-earned money. Learn to curb impulse buys by foregoing window shopping and using shopping as entertainment. If you stick with a list at the grocery store you only buy what you need instead of getting to the checkout line stocked with junk foods or other unnecessary items.
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