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20 Things You’re Spending Too Much Money on and How to Save Instead

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Featured Image: Olivia Jeanette
Article By: Judy Allen

Saving money on everyday items means everyday savings. Small adjustments, made over time, will add up in the long run and help us to kick some bad habits at the same time. Choose a few of these money-saving changes then bolster your determination. As you lessen your expenses, you can learn to increase your savings. It’s a win-win for you and your wallet.

1. Weddings

We all love a fabulous wedding but when the average cost to tie the knot in the US is $26,000, something’s amiss before we hit the altar. Who wants to pay interest on twenty dozen, dead roses and sixteen, non-eaten plates of filet mignon? Or wake up the next day with a negative balance at the bank? Why not hire an amateur wedding planner, with great reviews, and include your closest family and friends in building your dream wedding – on a smaller, more intimate note? Being surrounded by your inner circle, as you pledge into the future, is a good omen and better for your pocket-book.

2. Funerals

We all hate funerals. We gather with people we love, hate, and don’t remember at a time no one is in the mood for mixing. Add in the $10,000 for the traditional American method of departure and chances are we’ll end up hating our families even more. This is when pre-need, funeral planning can free you up to grieve the loss of your loved one; without the added stress of emotional spending. If pre-planning was impossible, call upon your most level-headed friend or family member to make tasteful, yet budget-friendly decisions

3. Baby Gear

How could such a tiny, innocent newborn need so much stuff? Are they safer in the high-dollar infant seat and need the baby swing that plays over one-hundred different tunes you upload from your favorite playlist? Here’s a wholesome idea: call in grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and moms and dads with more than two kids. Print a “must have” list off the internet then poll your people. Consider their wisdom and watch your mega-list shrink to something that not only prevents clutter in the living room, and gives your little one the best of care, but leaves some cash for those much-needed date nights; up ahead.

4. Eating Out

Perhaps it’s been a hectic day, there’s a celebration calling for wine and candlelight, or we’re plain craving our favorite seafood platter. There’s nothing wrong with these occasions out, but when they happen three times a week, and we forget about the at least 30% mark up on every dish, we can be mixing a recipe for disaster. We should always have something quick in the freezer, left-overs in the frog, and some bucks tucked away for special occasions. Cooking when you feel like it, then freezing your creations, can arm you with something to pull out later, and meal-planning co-ops are happy to partner with you to pack the freezer full. Invite friends, giving each of them an assigned ingredient or dish, and share the cost, while still enjoying the company – at home. 

I recommend trying the $5 Meal Plan to get you started on eating at home more. For just $5 per month, you will receive a delicious meal plan, where every meal will cost around $2 per person.  It’s a great way to save money and lots of time, they also offer specialty plans, including gluten-free meals and vegetarian meals.

Click here to try it free for 14 days.

RELATED ARTICLE: 7 CONFIRMED TIPS FOR EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET

5. Brand New Car

Drive one of these babies off the lot, and it’s already depreciated by 20%. Before you know it, your shiny piece of steel, plastic ,and fiberglass is worth the same as a good used one; except you’re paying a much higher, monthly payment. Leasing is a more economical choice and if you choose to buy, land a good deal on a previously leased vehicle. It’s more likely to have been well-maintained, and its service records more readily available. The best option is buying a good used car; for cash. Many times, this takes months or even years of advanced planning,  but it’s well worth the effort.

6. College

Let’s face it; most leave college with more debt than they can cover in the next ten years. And, landing a job that utilizes your degree can take time. Do some homework before filling out that college application to make sure you’re on the right track. Take several personality, aptitude, and career exploration tests. Talk to friends and family that have known you for years. What gifts and skills do they readily connect with your personality? Search for scholarships and apply for grants. You’ll be working hard when you get in, work harder before you start.

7. Divorce

We loved the wedding; now comes the sad truth that close to 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce. It’s ironic how two people who once swore their love turn into bitter enemies when their relationship ends. In many cases, lawyers heat up the fight by planting ideas in the heads of their clients and the resentment grows even deeper – into your savings account. Unless there are dire circumstances, the use of a mediator, or even online divorce, is a healthier option for your heart, mind and bank account. When negotiating terms, be fair. Live and let live.  

8. Sports Gear

Are you using that “must have” hockey stick that fell behind your workbench? How many deflated soccer balls do you own? When’s the last time you lifted those weights or sat on that balance ball? If you haven’t used your gear for two seasons or for more than six months, consider selling the good stuff and pitching the bad. Whenever you decide to try something new, be gut honest with yourself. Did you try it before and walk away? Rent or borrow equipment before investing in it. Then buy it second-hand to make doubly sure it’s a good fit. If you’re convinced your new interest in “the one”,save up for its purchase. If you end up using your stash on other things, maybe the gear wasn’t so necessary or affordable after all.

9. Cosmetics

It’s been said that a women will spend her last dime on beauty products. If that’s true, it also means she has nothing left for shoes. The answer is simple. Buy quality products and use them sparingly. Give your face a break from all cosmetics, whenever you can, and take advantage of online coupons, sales promotions at the mall and holidays gift offers. Drug stores can yield an amazing line of quality lipsticks and nail polish and outlet malls are stepping in to offer top-dollar lines for less. You’re creative about your beauty; be creative about your spending.    

10. Cleaning Products

It’s time for another investigation.  Browse through your cabinets and utility closets. How many types of glass cleaner do you have? And is there a huge difference between those six kinds of toilet bowl cleaner? Buying in duplicate, whether the same product or similar ones that do the same job, is wasteful and expensive. Check out the concoctions your grandmother may have used. Apple cider vinegar, baking soda, even peroxide have their place as handy, household helpers. Make a list of the products you use, then research ways to create your own. Shopping at a dollar store helps too. Same stuff for less.

RELATED ARTICLE: 9 DIY ALL-NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS

11. Pre-sliced or Prepared Foods

True, you’re busy. From sun up to sun down you’re on the go. And our local grocers provide a quick grab and go for almost anything; including pre-sliced onions and pre-formed burger beef. But you’re paying for it – about one and a half times. Call all hands to the kitchen and make a prep-line or take a few minutes to cut, slice and dice the night before; when the kids are all tucked in. If your significant other gets in before you do, ask him or her to play prep-chef that evening. You can pre-form your own burgers and put together most salads about three days ahead of time. Seasoning your chicken breast is quick and easy – not to mention fresher.

12. Energy Drinks and Coffee

Some of us don’t drink water. We need something with kick or comforting cream. It’s time to be brave. Add up the cost of one week’s worth of energy drinks and coffee bought on your way to work. You may swallow hard, when you realize it’s costing you $25-35, or more, each week. Buy yourself a fancy, travel mug or two then purchase your favorite coffee and add-ins. It will take just ten minutes, tops, to brew up and go. Invest in a coffee machine like the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee or Espresso Machine with Aeroccino to save lots more money on coffee. It will not only cost you less, it will save you time in the drive-through. If you’re a fiend for energy drinks, replace them with lower-cost, protein drinks you mix in your kitchen. You’ll save big bucks and be healthier.

13. High-Cost Dates

You may be out to impress him or her, but you won’t be so dashing when you run out of funds, and your exotic dates come to an end, or your electricity gets disconnected. Better to make a habit you can keep. Put some thought and planning into it. It’s certainly impressive to choose a date based on research and reviews. It’s also interesting, table talk when you explain the chosen venue according to its location, history, menu or service. And time spent walking and talking – perhaps on some well-researched hiking trail – can heighten the chance for more meaningful conversation. It’s not how much you spend; it’s who you spend the time with.

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 DATES THAT WON’T COST YOU ANY MONEY

14. Bottled Water

Studies show that many high-end, water-bottling companies are packaging the same stuff that flows from your kitchen faucet. And since you’re paying for it to come to your house, why pay double to buy it in a bottle? Same as with the coffee; buy yourself a couple of awesome water bottles, that reflect your personality. Tote your jug to work and around town. It shows your intelligence commitment to better health practices and attention to environmental issues. If you’re convinced that the stuff coming out of your faucet is not so great; invest in a filtration system or use a filtered pitcher in the refrigerator. But first, ask for a water-quality-report from your city hall or buy a water-testing kit at your local, building supply store, follow the directions, and see for yourself.

15. Utility Bills

Most of us have heard the call to, “turn out the light when you leave the room.” But there’s much more to lessen our energy consumption. Do you have drafts around windows or doors? Is your 25-year-old furnace keeping up, and do you change the filters on your new one?  Do you ever turn off the TV, ceiling fans, and white sound machines?  Lower your thermostat setting when leaving the house in the winter and bump it up on the AC when gone in the summer. Have your home inspected for proper insulation and upgrade your windows to insulated or glazed. Lower utility bills are definitely within our control. We use, we pay, we use less; we pay less. 

16. Designer Paper Towel, Plates, Napkins and Food Storage Containers

As much as we may love the little bells, bows, and pumpkins on our paper goods and storage containers, they’re a quick, money drain that goes straight into the garbage can. Sure, they add a festive touch, but we can be creative with their use. Buy one roll of a holiday, paper towels and put it on display when company comes. But when they leave, switch it back to your plain, white brand. Or leave it out to adorn your holiday kitchen, but use the white, roll under the sink most often. Use printed, paper plates and napkins for parties only, and stamped storage containers only when giving a home-baked gift. If you can skip paper plates and napkins altogether, it is even better to use the real thing!

17. Kid Birthday Parties

What fun! We want our little ones to remember each birthday party and enjoy it to the fullest. However, how many memories are rolled up and tossed with the fancy, paper, tablecloths and how many parties favors end up thrown into the basement or are given away in duplicate to those who don’t want them? Don’t buy party favors until the RSVP date passes and prepare fewer extras. And keep your guest list smaller. Who do you want around? Bake your cake, or cupcakes, and let the kids decorate them. When it comes to gifts, buy your child things that last; the other stuff will come from the guests. And when it comes to food, remember it’s all about your youngster, not their parents. 

18. Buying Brand Names

When buying a store brand, or unknown, is as good as the big-ticket, brand name, consider the lesser. True, some off-brands are of less quality, like cans of carrots and green beans, but when the quality is the same, we may be spending for other reasons. You can buy an “off brand” pair of gym shoes for ruining in the garden and keep your high-end sneakers in the closet; to wear when leaving the house. You can remove the tag from your blouse if it seems too low-brow, and doctor up your no-name soup by putting in into a fancy container before taking it to the office. Few will take note of your “brand” unless it’s distasteful and offensive.     

19. Clothing

How many pairs of shoes are in your closet? Do you buy a new outfit or extra accessories each time you attend an event? A little organization may help stop unnecessary spending. Group clothing together that can be mixed and matched. Hang a coordinating sweater over a favorite blouse and wrap a fashion scarf around the neck of the hanger. Next, to that, hang the skirt or pair of slacks you intend to wear with it. Try grouping your clothing by colors or by season and look through your wardrobe often. The more you remind yourself of what’s there, the less you may spend on new stuff. Try shopping online thrift stores and if you still have that gorgeous dress or suit you wore to your cousin’s wedding, chances are, you still look great in it! Try it on and remind yourself. 

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 PLACES TO SELL YOUR CLOTHING FOR CASH

20. Auto Insurance

Still have the same insurance policy you did five years ago? Have your agent do some checking. You may be missing more affordable coverage. Are all drivers, at your address, on the same policy? Do you bundle insurance? The more the merrier when it comes to insurance – unless you’re surrounded by those with reckless, driving habits. And getting your homeowners, renters or even life insurance through the agent that provides your auto coverage, can yield greater savings.

Are you guilty of any of these? Comment Below!

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30 Comments
  • Rawlings sunday
    February 18, 2018

    These are really nice tips. Cutting your expenses to the barest minimum by leaving below your means and track your expenses to save more money.

    https://rawlingsunday.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/case-study-two-on-budgeting-strategy-70-3010-10-10/

  • Naomi
    February 19, 2018

    I’ve totally been guilty of spending too much money of coffee! I finally bought an espresso machine so I can make my own cappuccinos at home. It’s saving me so much money.

    xoxo Naomi
    http://www.myfairolinda.com

  • Toni | Dr Toni DDS
    February 20, 2018

    This list got me thinking. I know weddings are expensive and if I could do it all over again I would go to the court house then use the money for the wedding on a down payment for a house. Brand names is another big one for me. I now shop at Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls to get brand names for a fraction of the cost.

  • Lauren
    March 5, 2018

    This is so true and while attending 4 weddings this year I have come to agree with wedding one! I am about to be $1000 deep as a bridesmaid in just ONE of these 4! Crazy! I’m also guilty of the coffee one, Starbucks app with “bonus stars” suckers me in every time!

  • alia
    March 5, 2018

    I definitely am guilty of some of these! Makes me think of ways to save. Thanks for this post!

  • UGH OMG YES!
    I spend WAY TOO MUCH money on coffee + energy drinks on a daily basis, and WAYYYY more on eating out. It’s horrible! I really need to cut back on this!

  • JLyn
    March 5, 2018

    Great suggestions, especially the one about weddings. When my husband and I got married, I was determined not to go over the top. We spent about $2500 on the whole thing!

  • Heather LeGuilloux
    March 5, 2018

    I love my coffee but last year I was realizing just how much that Starbucks latte was adding up to over the course of a month. So this year I teamed up with my workmates to make coffee at work and it has saved us all so much!

  • Emily
    March 5, 2018

    Family events can be so expensive. I have been guilty of overspending for events as well as eating out. I have been working on meal planning and have noticed that I have been saving so much money.

  • Mrs G (Jennifer)
    March 5, 2018

    We stopped going out for coffee on a regular long ago. We might stop if we are out for the day but other than that it is home brewed and it DOES save a lot.

    We nixed the bottled water as well, everyone has a nice water bottle and the tap we have is perfectly fine.
    Great tips.

  • Sara
    March 5, 2018

    This is a great list!! I love a good Starbucks but I have found making coffee at home fits my budget way more! And, I agree about the eating out… I really need to cut back on that. Just this weekend I went out to eat with my family along with my dad, so three adults and 3 kids… total cost after tip was $98! That is almost a weeks worth of groceries for me.!

  • Mariah
    March 5, 2018

    Eating out is always such a high expense. I always hate when I have to spend money on food.

    http://moosmusing.com

  • J
    March 5, 2018

    Definitely guilty of some of these. I actually just got married this past year and I knew that my family wouldn’t be able to pitch in too much money so instead we all planned it ahead of time and used Pinterest which is such a great resource for weddings! It was better than I ever imagined and were debt free from it!

  • Bukola Veronica
    March 5, 2018

    These are fab tips! I must learn to actually start saving money by definitely eating out less!

    Bukola Veronica,
    http://www.bukolaveronica.com

  • Taylor
    March 5, 2018

    Yes, this is true! We have cut down/ cut out a lot of these. It seriously does help and you learn to live a more minimal life 😊

  • danielle
    March 5, 2018

    I always love finding new ways to save money and I recently started filling a gallon glass jar with fruits and herbs to make flavored water. My body and wallet are loving it! As far as buying brand names goes, poshmark.com has been an excellent place for me to buy brand names without paying the cost because there are a ton of girls out there spending full price but never using the product and in turn selling them on sites like poshmark.

  • Rae
    March 6, 2018

    This is something I need to get better at. We’ve cut back on many of these but there’s plenty on this list we can cr back on or stop doing completely. Great tips!

  • Margaret Smith
    March 6, 2018

    What a great post! I need to look at a few these items.

  • GiGi Eats
    March 6, 2018

    Im raising my hand. Yep. Spent WAY TOO MUCH on my wedding but it was SOOOOOO worth it and um, my husband and I spend WAY TOO MUCH eating out but um, we cannot live a day without sushi LOL!

  • Alex
    March 6, 2018

    I love how you included tiny daily things and huge life decisions on this list!

  • Tara
    March 6, 2018

    This is such a great post and reminder of scaling down. It is so easy to spend too much money it these areas. Thanks for the helpful reminders!

  • Raina
    March 7, 2018

    What a great list! And so true! There are so many things that we have cut back on as well.

  • Nicole
    March 7, 2018

    These are wonderful budget saving tips. It’s hard to be frugal sometimes, but your bank account will thank you!

  • Mandy 2 Robinson
    March 8, 2018

    At my house it is cosmetics! Having daughters makes it really hard!

  • Amy
    March 8, 2018

    9 & 11 are my downfalls! I worked with both luxury and drugstore cosmetics for years, and now it’s a hard habit to kick. I try to justify it by saying I cut back in other areas, but I need to cut back on those in general regardless!

  • Raluca
    March 8, 2018

    Wow I’ve never thought of a lot of this things before. Thanks for sharing!

  • Elaine
    March 9, 2018

    Yeeeeeeeeeees on weddings! When I got engaged I already knew I didn’t want to a typical wedding. My DIY brain was like “OH, let me design the whole thing myself and on a $3000 budget.” So I started looking at all kinds of wedding planning books and after a week decided against that too. I just didn’t want to put in the effort or the time. Instead we went to the courthouse, took our friends and family to dinner right after, and road tripped through France for two weeks as our honeymoon. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

  • Ris Phillips
    March 9, 2018

    So much of this is about where we place our priorities! These are great reminders.

  • Heather
    March 9, 2018

    Yes yes yes yes yes!! I agree on all this stuff! We’ve recently decided that big birthday celebrations will be 5, 10, 16 and 18. My kids get to choose their cake and one gift and then we usually hit a fun place like bowling or laser tag. That’s it. I’ve spent way too much money and time planning a themed birthday party in the past and wondering where all the money went. I also know a friend in debt more from her wedding than her college student loan! Seriously!! Ours was small and quaint with just our best friends and family and we spent more money on photography, things that would last than anything else. Our reception was at Red Lobster. 😉

  • Mary jo
    May 12, 2018

    Great tips, loved the one about funerals. Both my parents were cremated and then family and close friend gathering, picnic style with family photos and games. We did a lot of reminiscing, lot of food and fun. That’s the way I want to be remembered, fun, food and playing!

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