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How to Stop Wasting Money

Updated on September 16, 2015


If you've ever been worried about upcoming bills, stressed about debt or kept awake at night because of money problems you aren't alone. Millions of people never learned how to manage money properly and end up spending it in all the wrong places. But there is a way out, you need to stop spending money on things you don't need. Let me say that again, you need to stop spending money on things you don't need. Easier said than done I know. Just keep reading to see what some of the most common paycheck vampires are and what you can do to avoid them.

Stop Wasting Money on Restaurants / Coffee Shops

One of the most common and most talked about places where people waste money is on eating out at restaurants and coffee shops. Everyone loves eating out and getting a hot cup of Java on the run but it quickly adds up.

Some people go out for lunch each and every day. At $10 - $15 a pop that's a whopping $2600 - $3900 a year, just for lunch. It's far less costly to bring a lunch from home and often times healthier as well. I'm not saying to never go out for lunch but to cut back, once a week if you are going everyday for example.

A coffee shop doesn't seem like an expensive stop, but everyday, sometimes 2 and 3 times a day certainly take a toll on your bank account. If you're a coffee, tea or latte addict take a moment to add up what you've spent on it in the last month. You may be surprised. Many people can't avoid those tasty little extras either, a brownie here and cookie there add up as well. Not only to your expense but to your waistline. Again it's not about elimination, it's about cutting back. Brew some coffee at home and take a travel mug more often. Most workplaces these days have free coffee that isn't half bad. There are less costly ways to fuel your caffeine addiction.

Restaurant / Coffee Shop Poll

How much do you spend a week on eating out at restaurants and coffee shops?

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Stop Wasting Money on your Vehicle

Another place a lot of our hard earned money winds up being spent is on transportation. With gas continually on the rise, maintenance, insurances costs and monthly payments, getting around is costing us a fortune.

Do you really need all those bells and whistles to get where you need to go? Probably not. A used Corolla will get you to the same place as a new Mercedes without the huge payment. Maybe it's time to evaluate what you are driving and see if it's time for a change. Don't let foolish pride be your financial demise.

Always try to buy with the long term in mind. There is no better feeling than having a good vehicle in the driveway and not having to make a monthly payment. Do a little research and find out how reliable and durable what you're buying is. If your prospective new ride tends to have transmission problems, steer clear. I tend towards Japanese cars, they are a little more expensive used but last a really long time and are relatively trouble free. I also try to buy something common, this means that if I do need to have a repair the parts will be more easily sourced and less expensive. Learning to do a little basic maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations can save you a trip to the garage.

As far as insurance is concerned, the best advice I can give is shop around. Compare what the different companies are offering. I would advise against increasing your deductible. If the worst happens you don't want to be shelling out a big sum of money. Try also to determine how much coverage you need. If your car is low in value and you have medical at work maybe basic liability is enough.

Another big expense of owning a vehicle is fuel. It seems to fluctuate back and forth but the overall trend is up. The best way to save money is to use less of it. Consider the MPG or L/100km of a vehicle when you are car shopping. You will tend to always get worse mileage than the rating even if you are driving conservatively. Other than the vehicle the way you drive significantly affects how much gas you use. Accelerating hard, driving too fast and riding on underinflated tires are the most common ways people are using more gas than necessary. Pay attention to the price at the pump as well. There are websites that show you the cheapest place to buy gas. Costco tends to be the cheapest where I live but is sometimes a very long line up.

The amount of driving you do also greatly affects your expense. Driving less will save you money in countless ways. Less miles driven equals less gas, less maintenance, tires last longer, less frequent oil changes, a better resale value for your car, the list goes on. Can you carpool with someone from your work every second day? In some places taking a bus or subway is very convenient and very inexpensive. No worry of finding a parking spot or feeding a meter.

Stop Wasting Money of Electricity

In order to stop wasting money on electricity you must know where most of it is being used. The chart below was taken from the Natural Resources Canada website and shows a breakdown of the usage in the average Canadian home. The northern United States would see similar usage. The farther south you go as you can imagine the lower you heating percentage and the higher your cooling percentage.

Heating being the largest consumer of electricity suggests that it offers the greatest potential for savings. Turning the thermostat back a little and putting on a sweater can have an impact as well as turning it down at night and while you are away. You can invest in electronic programmable thermostats if you are the forgetful type or would rather not have to wait for your home to warm when you come home. Better insulation will also keep more heat in. A bit of an investment but it will pay off.

That brings us to the next largest consumer of electricity in the home, hot water. If you have a natural gas or propane water heater you will still benefit from reducing hot water consumption, you will just save on a different bill. Showering quickly instead of taking a long shower or a bath will make a difference to your consumption. Washing clothes in cold water instead of hot will have an impact as well. Most clothes comes clean with cold water just fine. I will only generally use hot water for very dirty clothes. Pay attention to where you are using hot water and see if there are other places you may benefit.

Reducing the electricity used by appliances will also save you money on your utility bill. When buying appliances look for an energy star label and also at the energuide label which shows typical kwh of the appliance. Using a clothesline instead of a dryer will make a big impact. When using the stove turn it off a few minutes before the time is up, the heat in the stove will keep cooking the food. Also put the food in right away rather than pre-heating the oven, just add a couple of minutes to the cook time. This will make your cooking faster as well.

How much is your average electricity bill each month?

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