By Susan Cabezas
There are a lot of things we enjoy buying, but if you’re trying to save money or pay off debt, it is important to cut back on certain things during the process. As busy parents, we don’t realize that the things we buy on a regular basis can add up, and then you realize that you’re out of money.
When you are trying to get out of debt, you don’t have to sacrifice these things, but instead, figure out how to spend less on the things you enjoy. Being more frugal doesn’t mean you have to give up things, but instead look at it as a fun game to get things for free or less. Personally, I enjoy finding ways to get things without having to pay (or pay less) because the money I would have used to spend on whatever it is, I could use towards saving or paying off debt.
Here are the 10 things we waste money on, and how you can save money by doing something different about getting these things.
- Books – Unless you are a fan of collecting books, you are better off either borrowing from the library or from a friend. You may think that there aren’t popular or recent books at the library, but there actually are! If you live in a big county, you may have a county library system where you can borrow books from several libraries in the county as long as you have a library card there. You can also use apps like Hoopla and Overdrive to borrow books to read on your phone and even audiobooks using your library card without having to go to the library.
- Manicures and pedicures – Sometimes it’s nice to indulge on a mani/pedi, but if you’re doing this regularly, it can add up and become expensive. If you really want to keep up with having pretty nails, you can give yourself a manicure, or ask a good friend to help! Plus, you wouldn’t have to worry about tipping!
- Subscriptions you don’t actively use – We are all guilty of buying subscriptions we don’t use, and sometimes even forget we have them. It’s always a good idea to keep track of your subscriptions, whether it is a gym membership, a membership on an online tool or those fun subscription boxes. If you aren’t using it, then cancel it! Make sure you note the date of when you’ll be charged the next month to make sure you are aware it is coming up and cancel before the next time you get charged.
- Cable – These big companies make having cable difficult and most of the time, we aren’t using it! Opt for a service like Sling, Netflix or Hulu to watch your favorite shows, and the best part is that they are on demand so you can catch it whenever it is convenient for you!
- Credit card interest – Unfortunately credit card interest is tough to tackle when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, but the best way to save money on this is to pay your balance as fast as possible to “beat the system” of using a credit card.
- Cheap clothing – I hate to say it, but there are many clothing stores out there that have low-quality clothing. It may look like a great deal, but if the clothing rips or fades after a couple of washes, you are out a piece of clothing, and money too! It is far better to spend your hard earned money on some quality, timeless pieces of clothing that will last the whole year, or longer!
- DVDs and CDs – With services like Apple Music and Spotify, who really needs CDs to listen to music? As far as DVDs, we are able to watch movies through services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. If you’re desperate for a movie that isn’t on those services, you can always borrow from the library too!
- Going Out To Eat – We all love going out to eat, but it adds up! There’s nothing wrong with going out to eat occasionally, but it is a lot healthier and cheaper to cook at home. If you’re short on time, you can make a list of meals you can make under 30 minutes. There are many meal plans out there that focus on being budget friendly such as $5 Meal Plan. For $5 you can get a month’s worth of meal plans where each dish costs up to $2 a person. The recipes I’ve tried so far are really tasty and easy to make!
- Coffee – We all love our coffee, but it definitely adds up and you can make your own version at home! If you really love your Starbucks mocha lattes, you can always figure out how to make them at home and bring it to work in your own portable mug!
- Bottled water – Buying water bottles on a daily basis can add up and it’s far better to buy a good water bottle you can use again and again. Buy a water filter for your sink and fill up a gallon of water to put in your fridge.
Don’t feel bad if you are guilty of wasting money on any of these things. You can make a change by thinking how you can spend less or do something different. You can still enjoy the things you love, but be more mindful in how you are spending, find alternatives or make it an occasional treat for yourself.
How will you start making changes to the things you are wasting money on now?
Susan Cabezas writes about saving money, budgeting, making money online and ways to live frugally with family. She offers four practical savings plans that you can use this year to save money and a money organizer spreadsheet that you can get for free. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and find her website here.
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