Let's face it, we all waste money every once in a while.
Take my story as an example:
Back when I was a senior in high school, I had bought a car after saving up money from part-time jobs and side hustles. Having a car gave me a freedom that I had never had before.
One of the things I did with this freedom was that I bought a lot of fast food. I rarely had fast food when I was a kid, so I went a bit overboard.
I started going to McDonald's, Wendy's, A&W, you name it. I was eating out at least once a week.
The worst part about all of this? I wasn't even working anymore, so this was all coming out of my savings.
Moral of the story:
I probably spent over $1000 solely on chicken burgers and big macs.
This was unhealthy for me and my bank account, so I had to figure out how to stop wasting money on things I didn't really need.
I figured other people must have the same problem wasting money like me, so I decided to write this post.
Here you'll find some actionable tips that will get you from wasting money to saving it.
However, in order for these tips to work, you need to actively implement them into your life. Pin this post on Pinterest or bookmark it so you can re-read these regularly.
How to Stop Wasting Money
If you really like buying stuff (who doesn't), then that's completely alright. But if you're spending money on unnecessary things, it can become a problem.
Here are some tips to help you put away that credit card and stop wasting money.
1. Wait it Out
If you're about to purchase something you don't need, wait it out and see how you feel the next day. This will help you stop impulse buying, and you'll notice you won't want a lot of things after thinking about it for a day.
Here are a couple of things you can ask yourself during this “wait it out” period:
- Do I need this?
- Will I still be using this a week, month, 6-months, a year from now?
Another thing that helps is to calculate how many hours you would need to work to make back the cost of the purchase.
For example, if the purchase costs $50, and you make $10/hour, you'll need to work 5 hours to make that money back. Realizing the time cost can change your mind about an iffy purchase pretty fast.
However, if you still can't stop thinking about it and you really want it, as long as you can afford it, you should buy it.
Similarly, if you're purchasing something a bit more expensive, say over $100 or $200, go through the same process but wait it out for a week or longer until you are one-hundred percent sure the purchase is worth it.
2. Only Buy Things You Need
As obvious as this may sound, many people do not follow this simple rule.
Whether it's fast food, cable, brand name products, or something else, there are a lot of things we don't actually need that we spend money on every month!
Think about how much money you could save by avoiding some of these things.
Don't get me wrong:
I don't think you should eliminate everything fun from your life, just try to cut back little by little.
If you're trying to save money or pay off debt, you can save a lot faster by avoiding the unnecessary things you want and focusing only on the things you need.
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3. Don't Buy Stuff That's on Sale Just Because It's on Sale
A big way that stores trick shoppers into buying something is by putting it on sale. They slap a big red sticker on it or put up a big 50% off sign, and people just start buying crap they'd never think of buying at full price!
This tactic works so well because it creates a sense of urgency. Sales only last so long right?
To avoid this trick, completely ignore the before sale price and judge whatever you are buying off it's current value to you. Don't buy something you'll never use for $50 just because it's on sale from $100.
That's a waste of money.
If something you need or something you've wanted for a long time goes on sale, and the price is worth it to you:
Otherwise: Say bye to it.
Did you know that you should only be spending a MAX of 1/3 of your income on rent? If you can spend just 1/4 of your income on rent that's even better.
There's just no point in having too big of a house.
You won't feel happier in a bigger house, you'll be spending a ton on furniture to fill it up, and you'll probably spend most of your time in the same areas of your house anyway.
You can be just as happy, or happier, in something smaller.
This will not only save you money on rent but also utility bills and maintenance costs.
Now, of course, there will be some expenses that come with moving:
- Real estate agent (if you own a home)
- Time spent looking for places
- Moving services once you find a place
- You may even have to sell some things if you're downsizing
Keep all of this in mind when you're planning to move.
PS: If moving isn't an option but you have an extra room, you could try renting it out on Airbnb.
5. Cook Your Meals
This one was a big one for me because I used to eat out a lot.
Check it out:
This post states that a meal out costs, on average, about $15, and a home cooked meal costs around $9.
That means if you go out for dinner every day for a year, it's going to cost you around $5,475.
On the other hand, if you cooked every dinner at home for a year, with each meal costing $9, it would only cost $3,285.
That's $2,190 in savings!
I don't know about you but an extra two grand in the bank sounds pretty nice, and home cooked meals can be just as good or better than restaurants.
Want to save even more? Here's how you can save over $1,000 more per year:
The $5 Meal Plan will not only save you over $1,000/month on meals, but it will also save you time.
The average family spends over two hours each week planning their meals. This is time you could be spending with your family, working on a side hustle, or doing anything else!
The best part?
Each meal on the $5 Meal Plan will only cost $2 per person or less! That means compared to eating out every night, you'd be saving $4,745 per year!
If you're interested you can get a FREE 14-day trial of the 5-dollar Meal Plan for a limited time only.
6. Shop Smart
You can do your best to avoid shopping, but at some point, you're going to have to buy things like groceries, household supplies, clothes, and some fun stuff every now and then to keep life exciting.
However, if you just go out and buy these things you're wasting money! There are so many easy saving opportunities that you're missing out on.
If you want to save money on food and household supplies, try these 19 simple ways to save money on groceries, and get these apps ASAP:
- iBotta (Free $5 sign up bonus after uploading your first receipt) – Find more apps like Ibotta.
- Checkout 51 (Available in U.S. and Canada – $5 sign up bonus – Full review here)
- BeFrugal (Coupons, circulars, savings EVERYWHERE. You'll receive $10 for FREE if you earn $10 in cash-back within a year of signing up)
- Drop (My favorite way to get cash back from popular brands)
- Shopkick (Earn points by waking into stores, scanning barcodes, and more)
If you like to shop online make sure you're taking advantage of these apps that pay you to shop:
- Ebates (Receive $10 FREE if you spend $25 through Ebates within your first year of signing up)
- Groupon (Deals on pretty much everything)
Finally, have you ever bought something and then seen it a week later being sold for a cheaper price?
This happens all the time, and most stores will refund you the price difference if you ask.
But who has time to monitor everything they buy? You probably don't.
That's where Paribus comes in:
Paribus is a free program that monitors all your purchases for price drops. If it finds one and the store has a price adjustment policy, it will get you a refund automatically.
For example, Costco will price adjust for price drops or missed coupons within 30 days of the order date. So if I bought something from Costco for $30 and the price drops to $20 a week later, Paribus will notice and get me a $10 refund automatically.
It's free money with no work required.
Pretty awesome right?
7. Negotiate Your Bills
Think about how long you've been using the same internet, cell phone, and cable company. Have you been a loyal customer for a long time?
Now think about how many times you've called and tried to negotiate your bill to get a better deal. Have you ever?
If you haven't, you could be wasting your money paying more than you should be.
All it takes is a few hours of your time and a phone call and you could save hundreds on your bills every year.
NerdWallet has a great post outlining how to go about negotiating your bills.
You may not have time to negotiate your bills yourself.
Trim is your solution:
Trim is a free program that can automatically negotiate your bills for you.
If Trim successfully negotiates your bill, he takes 25% of the annual savings. So if he saves you $100/year he takes $25.
Not bad since it's completely hands-off.
8. Use Cash
Cash? What is that?
Seriously though, we're so used to using our credit cards and debit cards nowadays it seems like no one is using cash anymore.
Yes, credit cards are more convenient, and yes reward points can be nice, but if you don't pay that credit card debt off every month, the interest will start to pile up.
This is where cash comes down like a shining money saving knight.
Give yourself a budget each week, say $25, and that's your spending money for the week. It might remind you of when your parents used to give you allowance (if you were lucky), and once your $25 is gone, that's it.
This will stop you from wasting money because it makes it impossible to overspend.
Also, when you see the money physically leave your hand, you'll think twice about what you're spending it on.
John C. Maxwell once said, “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
When you go through the process of starting a budget, you'll begin to see where most of your money is going each month.
Once you identify your money blackhole(s), you can start working on cutting back. You can then use the extra money you're saving each month for something else like paying off debt or building an emergency fund.
Oh, and if you're worried about starting a budget because you're afraid you won't be able to do anything fun anymore, don't worry.
A budget isn't meant to eliminate fun (then we'd call it a bore-get), it's about regulating how much you're spending on that fun. That way you still have money for things like rent and all the other crap life throws your way.
We live in a time where we are constantly bombarded with sales and marketing and people just trying to get us to spend some money! Add that on top of the fact that buying new things is super fun, and it's no wonder that we all have trouble saving our money.
Follow these money-saving tips, and you'll never waste money again. You'll be able to avoid those money blackholes like a true blackhole dodging master. You'll also be able to make more meaningful purchases because you'll have money saved up for them!
All in all, if you build up the good habit of saving money you'll be a lot happier and your bank account will thank you.re
Now that you've learned how to stop wasting money, check out some of these posts to start making money:
- Superb Ways to Make Extra Money on the Side
- How to Get Free Money Online
- Work From Home Online Jobs for College Students
- Sites That Will Pay You To Test Websites and Apps
- Apps That Pay You To Work Out