Every month, we spend our hard-earned money on any number of things. Some of these things are essential, like food, rent or mortgage, utilities, and vehicle payments, but there are always a whole host of things we spend our money on that are not required for our survival, health, mental health, or even comfort.
Most of the time we are aware that we are buying or paying for something we don’t need, but sometimes we just don’t realise how much money we waste by simply being unaware of the effects of our actions and choices. Here are 10 things we waste money on without even realising it.
- Subscriptions and Memberships
Don’t get us wrong, there’s no problem with having memberships and subscriptions to things that make us happy or improve our lives. Please don’t cancel your gym membership!… unless you’re not using it.Look at your bank statements for memberships and subscriptions to things you may have forgotten about, and cancel anything you don’t use, like that streaming service you signed up for to watch one series. Also, search your mobile phone bill for dodgy subscription services you may not even have meant to sign up for.
- Eating Out and Takeaways
You might think this doesn’t belong here, because, of course you realise it when you eat out or buy a takeaway, but what you might not realise is just how much money you actually waste on this over time, especially when paying by contactless methods.Again, a good way to keep track is to scroll through your bank statement and add up all your restaurant and takeaway purchases over the last three months. You’ll probably be shocked by what it adds up to. Don’t forget to include your morning and midday coffees and cold drinks, and the cafeteria sandwich at lunchtime.
- Shopping When Hungry
This is one we are probably all aware of, but do you realise just how much money you actually waste by doing this? Strolling the grocery store (or online shop) when you’re hungry is bound to lead to an unnecessary purchase or two.This may not seem like much at the time, but how often do you make this mistake? That extra chocolate bar or snack, when bought repeatedly, will eventually add up to a fair amount of money.
- Wasting Food
Humans are wasteful creatures by nature, and when it comes to fresh foods, we are the pits. How often do you go to the grocery store with the intention of eating better this week, and come home with a stack of fresh fruits and veg that sit in the bottom of your fridge until you sheepishly throw their wasted remains in the bin? Now add up all the times you’ve done that in a year, and see how much it actually adds up to.
- Special Deals
If you know the normal price of an item, and you’re specifically looking for a special offer because you need that item, by all means, make use of the offer. But be very careful of sales and offers when doing your general shopping.Special offers are designed to draw you in and trick you into buying things you don’t need, or more than you need, and when you add up your unnecessary purchases, you might discover that you’ve made quite a dent in your bank account.
- Impulsive Buys
Much like the previous point, it is easy, when strolling through a shop, to get caught up in the moment and buy something you don’t need, simply because you like it at the time.To make sure you don’t waste money on impulse buys, leave the item on the shelf and give yourself some time to think about it. If you still really want it after a few weeks and you are certain it will add value to your life, go back for it then.
- Bulk Buys
As with special offers, the prices of bulk offers can be enticing. When done cautiously and with a clear mind, buying in bulk can be very beneficial, but be careful of falling into the trap of buying more than you need.If the item in question has a sell-by date, are you sure you’ll use it all by that time? And if it is something that will last a very long time, do you have enough space to store it for that long, without it getting in your way?
- Shopping in the Wrong Price Bracket
There are disadvantages to buying both very cheap items and very expensive items. There is an art to learning to find the balance between the two.For example, if you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes, shopping in the cheapest stores might save you money at that moment, but it is unlikely that that pair of shoes will last very long, meaning that you’ve essentially wasted that money, as you’ll need to replace them shortly.Buying the most expensive, brand labelled pair of shoes, however, will mean that you may have spent a lot of money on something that will probably last longer than the cheaper option, but was likely not worth what you paid for it.Finding the balance means buying the pair of shoes that is at a perfect point between price and quality. Mid-range items generally offer perfectly good quality at affordable prices, without the risk of the item breaking after just a few uses, and yet, without costing more than it is worth.
- Shopping in person
Getting out of the house for a bit of retail therapy and window shopping is fun, relaxing, and good for the soul, but be careful; it’s very easy to get sucked into buying when the items are right in front of you, and you’re just adding up rounded off amounts in your head. By the time you get to the checkout, you will probably be shocked at how much the items in your basket come to.Shopping online limits this problem, due to the fact that your total will always be displayed in the corner of your screen while you shop. Avoid extra unnecessary purchases by making a list before you start shopping, and sticking to it like glue.
- Sticking with the Same Suppliers
Most utility contracts are in place for 12 to 18 months, and it seems simpler and easier to just renew the contract and continue with the same supplier when it ends.However, what many consumers don’t know is that most utility suppliers offer excellent discounted rates to switch to their service. So when your contracts come to an end, before you commit to another year with the same company, see what deals you can find to move to a new supplier.The same goes for car and home insurance. How many of you get your renewal through, and are shocked that it has increased so much, but don’t actually shop around in time, and so you default to keeping the policy for another year? Be sure to keep a note of when your insurances and contracts are up for renewal, so that you can shop around in plenty of time to get the best deal out there, and save yourself some money.