In our fast paced and hectic lifestyles, it is so easy to forget how much money we spend day to day.
In a recent MSN article, the writer recalls the 9 ways Americans waste money. I chose 5 that will help the young professional re-evaluate some of the choices we make everyday.
Eating out on lunch breaks
Reader BloNdAtHrt78 says: “Packing your lunch is not only a healthier choice, but also saves you a good amount of money that could be spent elsewhere. If you’re eating out every day, spending about $7 a day, you could save around $700 a year, just by packing your lunch two times per week.”
WalletPop says: This is another one that begs repeating. We all know that brown-bagging is an instant money-saver, but many of us still fall prey to eating out far more often than we can afford to. If you can’t commit to taking your lunch every day, we suggest considering altering weeks. One week bring a sack-lunch, one week eat out. This way, the deli-meat and other perishables you bought will have less chance of going bad, and your morning routine will be more consistent.
Speaking of coffee…
Reader Isisreptiles says: “Coffee at the high-end coffee chains is a huge waste of money, IMO. Some of their coffee drinks can cost upwards of $5.00 each. I admit, I do go there as a special treat on a very occasional basis, but to go often really adds up and is not worth the money spent.”
WalletPop says: We know, we know. You’ve heard this one a million times before. But then why are you still standing four-deep in line waiting to tell the barista you’ll have your “usual?” If you must get your coffee on the go, stick to a gas station or convenience store (like Sheetz, Wawa or 7-Eleven) to lessen the daily blow to your bank account. Or skip your daily “drive through” or “rush in, rush out” and only visit a premium coffeehouse when you have time to sit and linger. This way, the money you are spending is not just for the drink, but for the experience as well.
Reader Wakkila says: “I think we spend way too much money on bottle water. When what we should do is just buy a sport bottle and fill it up with filter water from our faucet or our refrigerator.”
WalletPop says: The tide finally seems to be turning on our bottled-water obsessed nation. Whether motivated by the desire to be more “green” and stem the flow of plastic bottles piling up in our landfills and being burned in incinerators — or — by the realization that many bottled water companies are simply bottling filtered tap water, bottled water appears to be suffering a backlash. Jump on the bandwagon, if for no other reason than to improve your bottom line. Use a safe refillable container and fill your own bottles right from your tap. Your tap water not up to snuff? Over at Amazon, you can purchase a Brita home-filter pitcher or sink attachment for less than a case of Evian.
Oil changes every 3,000 miles
Reader DIPMASTER9 says: “Most people religiously change their oil every 3,000 miles. There is no advantage to this, except spending your valuable money. Oil changes at 7,000-8,000 miles using SAE grade oil have done a great job for me over the years. My cars have lasted over 160,000 miles in highway and city driving. When I got rid of them, it was never ever due to engine failure. Transmission fluid changes at every 30,000 miles has worked out for me over the years also.”
WalletPop says: Why are you changing your oil every 3,000 miles? Because your father did? Because the quickie-oil change place put a little reminder sticker on your windshield? Before you get another oil change, stop! Check out your owner’s manual and you may be surprised to see your car’s recommendation to be between every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, potentially cutting your annual need for oil changes in half. Money in the bank.
Reader Sapkovski says: “We constantly purchase brand names, and I don’t mean clothing. Food and medications, just to mention a few. Food brands add marketing and advertising costs … Is Bayer or Advil so much better than “I-don’t-know-this-brand” aspirin and ibuprofen. Sometimes it is, but very rarely. Marketing and advertising don’t make products taste or work better they just add to the final price of a product.”
WalletPop says: It would appear, to some extent, that Consumer Reports agrees. In Sept. 2010, it conducted 21 blind taste tests comparing name-brand and store-brand grocery products. The verdict: Store-brand foods were often at least as good as their name-brand counterparts.
I hope this article serves as a help to you the next time you decide to buy name brand over generic or Starbucks over the local gas station. We must remember that these habitual nuances are more a form of convenience and laziness, but with proper preparation and education on the best alternatives we can save more than we waste.
Remember, Knowledge is Money!