Let me share with you a list of 10 things that are just not worth the splurge. These savings certainly accumulate and become quite significant over time.
Who doesn’t love a good night out? Maybe to the theater or a concert, perhaps even the movies. Let me tell you something, there are so many promo codes out there that I feel bad for anyone paying full price. Keep an eye out for these deals, often you’ll find them on group buying sites such as Groupon, Team Buy, Deal Find, Wag Jag, Living Social, etc. Tickets get cheaper towards the end of a run which can be a great time to score some deals too. In some cases you can find tickets up to 40% off the original price.
2. Garbage Bags
As environmentally conscious as I am, and as much as I try to always have reusable grocery bags with me, somehow I still end up with tons of plastic bags. I find solace in the fact that these seemingly useless plastic bags become my garbage bags, thus saving me from ever having to buy them.
3. + 4. Birthday Cards + Gift Bags
Personally I enjoy making cards for my loved ones, but I’m not suggesting that as a way to save money. In fact, if you factor in opportunity cost hand-made cards are considerably more expensive. What I am going to propose is a trip to the dollar store. I never understood what made a $5 bag better than the one that looks identical to it but cost $1.
When it comes to cards I find that a lot of people don’t really care or appreciate a store-bought card anyway. They will read it, remove the money if it contains any, and the card will find its way to the garbage shortly after. Spend the $7 if you please, but the dollar store does the trick just fine.
5. ATM Fees
An ATM fee is a convenience fee, so plan ahead whenever possible. If you’re headed to a club and there’s a cover charge take out money in advance rather than use the ATM at the door, which will surely charge you a fee. If you’re only taking out $20 and the ATM fee is $1.50 (It’s usually more now), you’re effectively paying a 7.5% fee for convenience. If you’re taking out a larger sum the fee becomes more justifiable, but be careful as these do add up and you’ll have nothing to show for it.
6. Cable/Satellite TV
Personally, by getting rid of cable and getting Netflix instead I save not only money but SO MUCH time! It’s easy to come home after work turn on the tube and veg. Before you know it one show turns into four hours and slowly rolls into bedtime robbing you of your evening. We all have a show or two we follow religiously, but you don’t need to pay $60+ for two hours of TV. With Netflix, YouTube and the internet it’s easier than ever to get your weekly fix. Saving $60-$120 a month results in annual savings of $720-$1440, not bad! For the odd time something super important is on live (and you can’t find it online) go to a friend’s house! Watching the super bowl or the Oscars is funner with others anyways! (Bring snacks!)
7. Phone Plan
As long as we’re talking about our internet/cable/phone providers let me just mention that the advertised price is an arbitrary figure which seems to not matter – don’t be afraid to question it. Businesses need customers more than customers need businesses, given there is competition in the market. If you aren’t happy with the rep you happen to speak to, ask to be transferred, speak to customer care and get the treatment you deserve. Sometimes the quoted price is just plain silly. During my last conversation with my provider I was told with all fees included, a new phone would cost me $380, and $375 to buy out of my contract. I had to do very little to get the customer retention unit to drop this figure to $105.
8. Travel Sized Products
You always pay for convenience, and travel sized products are convenient. You can buy little dispensers and containers (3 for a $1) and fill them with the regular sized stuff you already own. This is great not only for shampoos and conditioners but also for moisturizer and mouthwash.
9. Single water bottles
Pretty self-explanatory: you can get a whole case of water at the grocery store for the price of one water bottle from a convenience store, or an event. Water is essential every day, as we are supposed to consume 6-8 glasses daily. Always have a reusable water bottle or at least a plastic one that came in a case. The markup is just obnoxious on bottled water and other drinks, so come prepared.
10. Travel games
Sudoku, cards, Rubik’s cube etc can all be bought for about $1 in the dollar store. Don’t bother going to “fancier” places such as indigo/chapters, mastermind etc. to get these.
And that’s it for today folks! I hope you enjoy these tips and the extra money in your pocket!