To get your finances in great shape and save more money, there are a lot of things you should start doing. For me, I started keeping better track of my spending, started clipping coupons and watching for deals, and started earning more than I spend.
But with all of these things you can start doing, there are just as many things to stop doing. Here are 12 simple things you should stop doing if you want to have more money.
Photo source: ladybeames
- Using too much electricity. There are plenty of easy ways to cut back on your electricity use. Whenever you leave the room, be sure the lights, television, computer, and other electronics are turned off. If you can, go one step further and unplug it. Even when items are off, if they are plugged in they are still using electricity. You can also switch to solar outdoor lights instead of electric and use timers for any other lights. If it’s not unbearably hot outside, turn off your air conditioning and open the windows.
- Renting movies. A movie rental may seem like not a big budget buster, but over the year, it can add up, especially if you get late fees for not returning it on time. Instead, watch movies that are playing on television. If you have TiVo or DVR, scroll through the next few days to record movies. Also, you can borrow movies from the library for free.
- Paying bills without looking at them. Unless you’re very lucky, you probably have numerous bills you pay every month. But don’t get into the bad habit of just zipping through your bills and paying them quickly online. It’s extremely important to look at each bill carefully. I can’t count the number of times I was overcharged on my credit card, got a weird fee on my phone bill, or found that a previous payment didn’t register. You always need to be aware of changes being made to any of your accounts as well.
- Subscribing to magazines and newspaper. There’s a great chance that anything you can read in a magazine or a newspaper is readily available on their website. If it isn’t or if you’d prefer to read it in print, go to the public library to read magazines for free.
- Buying your meals outside. I love going out to dinner, but if I did it all the time, I’d be broke. Grabbing breakfast on the way to work, buying lunch on the street, fast food, and eating dinner at restaurants is a great way to lose money. Stop the habit, and start eating at home or explore alternatives to dining out. Eat breakfast at home, and pack your own lunch to bring to work or school with you. For dinner, cook your own or switch off between friends and family hosting a dinner. There are thousands of recipes online willing to solve whatever reason you have for not cooking. Search for low-cost recipes, frugal and easy recipes for those who don’t love to cook, and 20-minute or 30-minute recipes for those of us who are short on time.
- Driving so much. It’s easier said than done, but limit your driving whenever you can. Try car pooling to work, school, and other events to split the cost. Walk, bike, and take public transportation whenever you can. Plan your errands and trips out so you don’t have to make duplicate journeys. If you are driving somewhere, research what’s the most efficient way to get there to use less gas.
- Eating junk food. Chips, candy, and other junk food is not only bad for your health, but it’s bad for your wallet. Food that doesn’t fill you up and doesn’t offer any nutritional value is a waste of money. Stick to fruit and nuts. They’re healthier and will fill you up longer.
- Forgetting to pay your bills on time. With different due dates and some bills paid online, it’s easy to forget a payment if you’re not on top of it. Once you start forgetting, you’ll start wasting money on late payments. Besides having to pay extra money, it can negatively impact your credit and even raise your interest rate on loans and credit card debt. Keep your bills organized and in the same place so you know what you have paid and did not pay. Mark your bills on a calendar, keep a separate notebook, or a document on your computer so you are aware of your bills.
- Using name brands. Next time you’re grocery shopping, grab your favorite name brand and compare it to the generic. More often than not, you’ll find the generic has the same, or similar ingredients for a fraction of the cost. From toiletries to food, opting for the generic over the name brand can really add up.
- Smoking. If a longer, healthier life isn’t motivation enough to quit smoking, saving thousands every year may be. Besides the high cost of the cigarettes themselves, health and life insurance premiums are much higher for smokers. If you’re spouse is a smoker, encourage them to quit. Stopping smoking is extremely difficult and requires patience, encouragement, and determination from both the smoker and family and friends around them. Visit Smokefree.gov to learn more.
- Paying for a gym membership. It’s important for both your physical and mental health to exercise regularly, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay for an overpriced gym membership. When the weather is nice outside, walk, bike, run, or rollerblade for a great cardio workout with Vitamin D from being in the sun. Check out local park districts. They can have a free pool, free or cheap fitness classes, free or cheap sports teams to join.
- Buying stuff you don’t need. The same way we learned that you need to think before you speak, the same logic applies to think before you buy. Before each purchase, you should be asking yourself if you really need it. Whether it’s a pack of gum or morning latte to a new car or expensive clothes, ask yourself if you really need it.