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The Only Tip You Need to Start Saving Money

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by Shawanda Greene

STOP WASTING IT!

When you wander through life unconscious and unaware, you waste a lot of money. I mean, literally, waste it. You crumple it up. Toss it in the trash. Don’t confuse wasting money with foolishly spending money. Putting a round of drinks on your credit card when you’re flat broke qualifies as stupid. But, at least you derive some value from it. Throughout my life I’ve not only witnessed the phenomenon of torching money, but I’ve also participated in it. Here are just a few examples.

  • Letting food spoil because you’re too lazy to cook.
  • Paying for private school when your child has access to equal or superior education at their public school.
  • Failing to cancel subscriptions and services you’re not using.
  • Not reviewing your bank statement for charges that are either unauthorized or for unwanted services. LA Fitness got me good once.
  • Leaving the air/heat on when no one’s home.
  • Buying perishables, i.e., food, medication, you already have because you’re unorganized.
  • Throwing storage containers in the garbage because you fear the mold that’s developed in them just might kill you.
  • Going to Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Southern Living parties, or the like and being guilted in to buying something you have zero use for.
  • Purchasing clothes or shoes that are too small because you just know you’re going to lose weight.
  • Spending money on distant events, e.g., wedding, couples vacation, etc. when you’re in a rocky relationship.
  • So, have you witnessed money being wasted on valueless products or services? Let’s hear/read it.

This article was featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance: The House of Rose Edition. Check out the other articles at Good Financial Cents.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla July 16, 2009 at 1:39 PM

I have purchased clothes that were too small because I knew I was going to lose weight. Thankfully, I did!

But I have wasted money purchasing items new when I could have found great deals on these same items used:

Handbags
Camera
Coat
Car (It wasnt me, but my guy could have saved money on a CPO)

Reply

Bakari July 18, 2009 at 7:18 PM

Guilty!

I threw out a tupperware bowl last night that I couldn’t quite clean.

I hope that picture above is just a special effect. :-)

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orphu July 18, 2009 at 7:36 PM

Hi, great post :D

I’ve wasted so much money drinking too much when I’m out. I think partying is important, but less is definitely more when it comes to alcohol.

So here’s my tricks for spending less when partying:
- Decide on how many times per week or month to go out.
- Add it as an item in the monthly budget and transfer the money to a special debit card.
- Before going out decide on how much to spend that night.
- Bring only the party card, withdraw that amount in cash.
- Make the most of pre-drinks and happy hour.
- Drink water or sodas between drinks.

The last one keeps you fresh too ;-)

Alright, love your blog, keep on writing!

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hustler July 19, 2009 at 2:32 AM

You read my mind! How did you know I have done all these things?! One thing I’m working on right now is a weekly fridge clean out to avoid food spoilage and to prevent myself from throwing away yucky tupperware!
Another thing for the list is paying a higher price for the same service. Such as car insurance or cable when you could call and ask for a discount.

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Brian July 20, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I love this article. The old me was guilty of a handful of these things. Its a constant struggle, but it is battle i am slowly winning these days.

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Ashley July 20, 2009 at 3:07 PM

When I have foods I fear will soon perish (ex: veggies), I slice or chop them then stir-fry them briefly and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. After they initially freeze I pop them in a zip lock baggie and keep them on hand to toss into quick meals like tofu scrambles or omelets.

Love the post cause it made me feel guilty about some of my bad habits and I needed that!

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Shawanda Greene July 22, 2009 at 11:46 PM

@Carla – I’ve been tempted to buy clothes that are too small. I’m not at all confident a pair of pants will inspire me to lose weight. Actually, when the dryer shrinks my clothes *clears throat*, I refuse to replace them for two reasons: 1) I don’t want to spend money on new clothes, and 2) the discomfort caused by their snug fit forces me to lose weight.

@Bakari – I have a cousin who used to throw out entire pots that she didn’t feel like cleaning. That’s absurd!

I’m actually not in a position to judge.

@Orphu – Thanks! I need to get a “party card” immediately. I’ve actually been pondering ways to save money on alcoholic beverages consumed away from home. Excellent tips.

@Hustler – Calling and asking for a discount provides for a pretty good return on your investment. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask for a discount. I used to check my cellular service provider’s website from time to time just to see if the price of my current plan had decreased. They won’t call you and tell you there’s a better deal. Maybe I’ll call AT&T to see if I’m paying as little as possible for my iPhone plan. I won’t get my hopes up.

@Brian – Can you believe there are actually people who exist in this world that don’t waste anything? I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that.

@ Ashley – I’ve got some bananas about to go bad in my refrigerator. Thanks for the reminder!

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Tia July 23, 2009 at 5:00 PM

cable
spoiled food
repurchasing items because i forgot to put them in a suitcase
not checking my coupons online before going to the store
knowing i have coupons but paying regular price for things.

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Nicole Draffen July 29, 2009 at 8:47 PM

Wow! It feels good to know I’m not alone! It seems now that I’m actually trying to save and become a smarter shopper, my fiance’ is right behind me buying worthless things and picking up bad habits. It’s been a stressful year for us, we were both laid off and really had to stretch our pennies, and now that were back working he is going crazy! Help me, to help him! Please and thanks.

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Shawanda Greene August 3, 2009 at 7:55 AM

Thanks for dropping by! When it comes to convincing significant others to change their spending habits, I can’t say I’ve been victorious in this area. It could be helpful to show your fiance how both he and you will benefit financially from living frugally.

During a budgeting class I was teaching, the subject of quitting smoking came up. One of the class participants mentioned cigarettes cost him $5,000 a year. I told the class that once you’re aware of how much such things cost, you can make an informed decision. Is your smoking habit more important than your ability to retire, send your kids to college, or own a home? If so, keep smoking. If not, you know you have some changes to make.

Sometimes it’s hard to even get people to listen. If you can get them to pay attention, you still may have a long road ahead of you convincing them to consider a new way of thinking.

Don’t press too hard, i.e., nag. I can’t think of any occasion when someone changed before they were ready.

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vikki January 7, 2010 at 10:31 AM

thankfully I'm to tight for most of these. However I am terrible (but getting much better) at buying produce with every intention of cooking it and then letting part of it ruin. Too many cucumbers and zucchinis in the trash.

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Shawanda Greene January 11, 2010 at 7:32 PM

I’m really bad with letting green peppers spoil, and they seem so expensive to me. I had to stop buying them. Green, red, and yellow peppers are purchased almost exclusively out of the frozen food section now. I have some broccoli, avocado, and asparagus threatening me with spoilage this very second. I better get my act together before I have to set aside time to draft a blog confession.

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Carla January 12, 2010 at 12:46 AM

I have the advantage of living within a short walking distance to a local co-op and grocery store. I only buy what I know I will need for a few days. That way, I will always get fresh, raw produce and not waste anything. I don't need to stock up as if I had to drive for food. I had a much harder time when I didn't living within walking distance to anything!

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