How You May Be Wasting Money – And How to Stop this Year

Do you ever get the feeling at the end of the month that you don’t know where your money went? You are not alone. We Americans have a habit of overspending in small ways here and there. And while a little indulging is fine, this habit is less healthy when you’re struggling to pay your bills or cutting back in ways that could have lasting consequences.

Starting a new year is about new beginnings! If you suspect you’re wasting your money, there are many steps you can take to get your finances back on track.

How and Where Are Americans Wasting Their Money?

Sometimes finding out what others are doing can shine a light on our own habits. Recent statistics tell us a few things about finance habits in this country. For some perspective on the issue, Yahoo Finance provides evidence of just how widespread this habit has become in this country:

  1. “$3,768: the average cost of impulse buys individual Americans make each year”
  2. “72%: the increase in impulse spending since 2020”
  3. “11.3 million tons: the amount of clothing thrown away each year in the U.S.”

Other items people pay for unnecessarily include unused storage unit rentals and luxury goods. Again, there’s nothing wrong with buying something nice for yourself and loved ones, luxurious or otherwise. But if you can’t truly afford a purchase, then that high-end handbag, down payment on a car, or plane ticket to the Bahamas could haunt you in the form of credit card interest and depleted emergency funds.

Are You Wasting Your Money?

It isn’t too hard to be a detective when it comes to your own expenses. Chances are you have an inkling of where some of those dollars are going, whether it’s those weekday lunches with coworkers or an online spending habit that’s gone a bit too far. For many of us, the hard part is taking a closer look at purchases that aren’t very expensive but have become habits that build up debt over time.

Do you inspect your financial statements each month? They are the most immediate way to get insights into one’s spending habits. Do you toss uneaten food into the garbage bin each week? Perhaps you could cut down on edible goods that won’t get eaten right away – or purchase more frozen fruits and veggies that won’t be wasted.

What about your other bills? Each year telecom companies and other utility companies have new deals available to their customers. The beginning of the year is a good time to give each one a call to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. You might even discover your rates have been raised in an area you weren’t aware of; then negotiate a more appropriate plan for your household.

Avoid Buying These Items to Save More Money This Year

Perhaps you’re already paying the lowest possible rates on monthly bills. Take a moment to congratulate yourself! Your wise spending and budgeting puts you ahead of the curve and positions you to save up more dollars. It could even help you secure a better loan sometime down the road when you need one.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for these common expenses that can sap cash from unsuspecting consumers, according to finance expert Dave Ramsey:

  • Single use/disposable goods such as plastic razors and individual-serving beverages
  • More expensive brands instead of cheaper or generic brands
  • Morning stops at the coffeehouse
  • Eating meals out each day
  • Impulse shopping online
  • Pre-packaged lunches and dinners

Everyone should enjoy their hard-earned money. The good thing about cutting back is that it helps you appreciate those expenses that you may not need – but definitely enjoy – even more when they’re treated like something special.

Budget Wisely: Use a Prepaid Credit Card from CCEA Currency Exchange

Finally, set up a system that encourages budgeting and discourages overspending. Spending apps and credit cards make it all too easy to buy items that aren’t on your budget. Consider getting a prepaid debit card from a Currency Exchange today. That one small step can make a huge difference for someone trying to stick to their monthly budget.

Ready to save more dollars this year? Stop by your local Community Currency Exchange (CCEA) to load up your prepaid debit card – and find out what else we can do for you today!

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