When I was younger, my parents tried to teach me the value of the dollar and the importance of saving. They would say, Money doesnt grow on trees. You have to work hard and earn every penny. If you save today, youll be able to put aside enough money to buy something you really want.
So thats exactly what I did. I did my chores, earned my allowance, and saved the majority of my money in a piggy bank. I had one goal in mind I wanted to take my family to Disneyland for Christmas. Keep in mind that this was no easy feat for a 10-year-old kid, especially at $50 a ticket. It took me nearly a year, but I finally saved up enough money.
On Christmas morning, my mom, dad, sister, and I piled into the car and drove half an hour to Disneyland. I remember sitting in the backseat with my piggy bank on my lap, and I felt such a sense of pride and happiness. Not only was I able to reach my goal, but I was also able to give a wonderful experience to the people I love most.
I can honestly say it was one of the happiest days of my life and the feeling has never left me. Now as an adult, one of my greatest sources of pride is being smart with my money. Ive become quite a pro at budgeting, and Im super diligent about monitoring my accounts, but up until recently, I didnt realize there were still ways I was wasting money. Ive discovered some of the things people do to save money, but it ends up costing them more in the long run. Unfortunately, Ive been guilty of all of them!
- Not having health insurance
Im relatively young and healthy, and for some time, I didnt think I needed health insurance. I thought the cost wasnt worth it, because even when I got sick, I never went to see the doctor. One day, I was riding my bike to work when I went over a pothole. I crashed into the pavement and broke my leg. The doctor gave me X-rays and put me in a cast. Since I didnt have insurance, I had to pay for everything out of pocket. Needless to say, the medical costs ended up hurting more than the physical pain I felt!
- Doing my own taxes
I used to do my own taxes because I thought it was cheaper than hiring a professional. Not only was I told my taxes were done wrong on more than one occasion, I ended up owing more than I thought I did. If I had hired an accountant to do my taxes, he/she could have gotten me maximized deductions and even a tax refund. Im not saying that you cant do your own taxes, but in some cases, you may save more money by going with a professional.
- Buying cheap stuff
I try not to buy things I dont need, but I certainly love getting good deals. However, Ive made the mistake, on many occasions, of confusing what is cheapest for what is the best value. Several months ago, I bought a coffee maker for $10. What a deal, right? Well, I thought so, until it broke 3 weeks later. Instead of saving $15 by foregoing a higher quality coffee maker, I wasted $10 by buying a crappy one instead.
- Stocking up on groceries
Think buying in bulk will save you money? It may if you shop for a family of four. For a single girl like me, I actually waste money when I buy groceries in bulk. I would stock up my fridge after a Costco run, and every time, Id end up tossing a third of the food away. What a waste! For one person, its difficult to use everything before the expiration date. Now, a couple of friends and I share a Costco membership, and we try to split the food that we buy.
- Driving around for cheaper gas
Driving, especially when you live in a big city, can be very expensive. I always thought I was saving money by driving around for better gas prices, but most of the time, I just end up wasting time and not really saving that much money. By driving around, I burn more gas and put more wear on my tires. It may be cheaper to fill up at a gas station 10 miles away, but the end cost is similar to how much it would cost if you fill up at a gas station near your home.
- Paying for services you dont use
If youre paying for something each month, make sure you use it or else those charges will add up to wasted cash. I had a gym membership that cost $40 a month and a Netflix subscription for $10 a month. Back then, I hardly went to the gym, and I didnt watch enough movies to make my account worth it. By cancelling those services, I put $50 back in my pocket. Now, if I were to sign up for monthly services, Ill make sure its for things Ill actually use!
- Wasting utilities
I try to be mindful about not wasting utilities, but there are still times when I forget. Its not just about saving money, its about conservation too. Just remember, if the lights are on in a room youre not sitting in, youre wasting money. Use only what you need, and dont be excessive in your utility usage.
If youre looking to save some money, keep these things in mind. It can help you save some serious cash in the long run. You may not be guilty of the 7 items listed above, but there are other ways you can trim your spending. Check out this cool ways to save tool by Bills.com. It helps you understand the real cost of activities over time and shows you how much you could save if you made small changes in your spending habits. Some of the numbers are real eye openers!
This has been a guest post from TKT. I hope you enjoyed it!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.