After being in $40,000 worth of debt, there were certain things I realized that were things you should NEVER pay for. It's funny that after spending money on these things for so long, I didn't even realize that I should change the way I spent money on them.
What is the difference between making an extra $100 a week, or simply not spending $100 a week?
Nothing, it's still $100 in your pocket.
Well… if you want to get technical, the $100 you didn't spend is actually more valuable because it is tax-free money in your pocket!
1.) Extended warranties on electronics and appliances
You researched the perfect TV for the perfect price, and then you go to the store to buy it. But then, at the last minute, the sales person presents you a horrible scenario… what happens if your new TV breaks?
What will you do?
Good thing he also has the solution – if you just pay an extra $50 now, then you're covered. But did you know that the failure rate is astronomically low? Only a small fraction of that $50 is going towards insuring the product… the rest is pocketed by the underwriter and a nice commission is paid to the sales person.
Better idea – buy NO extended warranties, and self-insure all of your electronics and appliances.
2.) Hair cuts for guys
Yeah, I'm serious. When you include the tip, most men pay about $30 per haircut (sometimes more). If you get it cut twice a month, you are looking at $720 a year.
Cutting men's hair is not hard. Buy a $20 set of clippers and then get a friend, wife or your mom to spend 20 minutes and cut your hair.
There are tons of tutorials on YouTube.
Maybe your spouse is really bad at it… well, she will get better after a few tries. So worst case scenario, you will only have awkward-looking hair for a couple months.
I might be hitting a nerve on this one… I know many people who need their Diet Coke fix. But let's be honest for a minute.
We all know that soda is bad for you. Like, really bad. But we continue to buy it and consume it. You could just stop and drink the free water that comes out of your faucet instead. Better health AND more money?
4.) Bottled Water
You do realize that the bottled water companies don't fill it from pristine glacier-formed lakes, right? It's pretty darned similar to the stuff that comes out of your tap.
In fact, this is one of the items with the biggest markups in the grocery store – over 4,000 %.
5.) Expensive garbage bags
Why do we opt for the expensive version of a product that literally goes right in the garbage can?
A few weeks ago, I was at the store and saw two boxes of garbage bags for the same price. One had 80, but it was the type with the flaps on top, the other had 40 but it had the nice draw string.
I bought the ones with the draw string. But 3 weeks later when I ran out of garbage bags, I thought, “man… I wish I bought the other ones.” Sure the draw strings are nicer, but twice as good? C'mon, they're just garbage bags, get the cheap ones! And unless you regularly dispose of bricks in your trash, the cheap bags very rarely tear. Ok, rant over.
6.) Housecleaning, yard work, small home maintenance jobs
These are all things you can do yourself on a Saturday afternoon.
If you're healthy and have time on weekends, there's no reason to pay someone to do these chores. Tip – get your kids to do it!
7.) ATM fees
Plan ahead for when you need cash. 'nuff said. There is a new bank out there called Aspiration which charges you ZERO ATM fees – check it out.
8.) Gym memberships that you're not using
I know, I know… you have great plans of waking up at 5:30 am 5 days a week and going. But you're not going. Cancel it.
Another idea – go outside for a jog, or buy an at-home DVD workout program for a one-time price.
Learn how to work out for free at home.
9.) Travel-sized products
A scene in the movie “The Lorax” – upon seeing a marketer's idea to sell air in a small plastic bottle at a higher price: Mr. O'Hare (CEO of the company): “You gotta be kidding me! Do you really think people are stupid enough to buy this?
Marketing guy: “Our research shows that if you put something in a plastic bottle, people will buy it!”Instead, buy normal-sized items and place them in smaller packages when traveling. We pay big bucks for convenience, don't we?
10.) Movies (on DVD, Bluray, or electronic copies) –
How often do you watch a movie more than once? More than twice?
Cost of renting a movie:
Cost to buy a movie: $15 – $20.
So you'd have to watch a movie 4 or 5 times to make the purchase even make sense. But many of us just go ahead and buy movies that we like as soon as they are released.
I can think of maybe 5 movies that I like enough to watch multiple times – and I own them. Better yet, find a friend who is addicted to buying movies, and use him/her as your “free” video rental store.
11.) Internet Modem rental
If you don't have a modem, most cable companies are more than happy to let you borrow theirs… and charge you $5 – $8 a month. Better idea, buy your own for about $50 and it will pay for itself within the year.
Do you go to the dentist twice a year? Do they give you a toothbrush? I bet you could even ask for another. Use those instead of buying them at the store.
13.) Interest on credit cards
No one likes carrying a credit card balance, and for good reason. You are usually paying upwards of 12% interest! That is crazy.
Ok – so maybe you can't stop paying this one immediately, but it definitely should be a goal… and in the meantime, find some cards with 0% introductory APR's to transfer balances.