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20 Things You Are Wasting Money On

20 Things You Are Wasting Money On

There are most likely a good amount of items in your budget that you can probably cut out completely, or at least lower your spending on. There are some instances where you may not always be “wasting” your money, but in the cases below, you should try to evaluate your spending. A lot of these little things can add up quickly.

Here is a list of things that you may be wasting money on:

Bottled water

Bottled water can be expensive. If you want filtered water, buy a water filtering system and fill-up a re-usable bottle on your own. You are helping the environment this way as well, since you won’t be using so many plastic bottles.

Famous brand products

When was the last time that you bought something primarily because of the brand? Many people do this. Try to look for items that are similar, but without the brand name logo on it.

Jewelry

Yes, jewelry can be nice to have at times, but should you be spending your life savings on it? Probably not.

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Shoes that you do not need

Shoes are important, but are a pair of $1,000 sneakers a “need?” Buy shoes that help you run, walk, hike, look good, etc., but a crazy expensive pair is most likely just a waste of money.

Second-rate entertainment

Second-rate entertainment can be a big money waster. Try to find things to do that are more frugal and fun. Go for a hike, a bike ride, and so on.

Transportation

Do you find yourself driving to where you need to go, when you could easily walk or drive a bike? Think about this next time before you get in your car. Also, think about living closer to work so that you can save on transportation costs that way as well.

Movie theater food

Buying food at the movie theater can be very expensive. Boxes of candy may be around $4 or $5, drinks around $7, and popcorn somewhere between that. Save money and skip the food.

ATM fees

ATM fees can add up quickly. My bank charges an extra $2 or $3 onto whatever the ATM charges me. At times, that means that I have paid over $5 just to get money out. Instead, try to figure out a different way to not pay an ATM fee.

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Lottery tickets

Yes, it is nice to think about what you would do if you won all of that money, but the chance of you winning is very slim. Save that money instead.

Coffee

I know of someone who complains about never having money, yet they go to Starbucks every single day and buy a latte. It makes no sense! Save your money and make your cup of coffee at home.

Prepared foods

When at the grocery store, there are always many food items that are already prepared for you. However, try to cook yourself or make things from scratch. You can save money this way.

Insurance

Insurance is expensive, no matter what you are talking about. Car insurance, health insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc. most likely eat up a lot of your budget. Shop around and find the best rates.

Buying books

Reading a book can be a great hobby that is cheap, but it could be cheaper. Borrow books from your library to completely cut out this expense.

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Too large of a home

How much of your house do you actually use? If your house is too big, then you probably have extra rooms that are empty, or you might buy furniture just for the sake of filling those rooms. A bigger house costs more to maintain, and utility bills are most likely higher since you have more space to heat or cool down.

Warranties

Sometimes a warranty may be a good deal, but most of the time they are not. They are usually pure money-makers for the company offering them. If you think the item will break, then you might want to rethink the purchase altogether.

Food that you don’t eat

If you are not careful with what you buy, then there is a large chance that you are wasting a lot of fun. The average family wastes around 25% of the food that they buy.

Smoking

Smoking is not good for you. Try to find a way to break this unhealthy habit. You are saving your life and your money.

Taxes

Many people think that they can do their income taxes on their own, however this isn’t always the best case. A good accountant can help you find areas where you might be able to lower your taxes.

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Water

Water can be expensive, and there are things that you can do to lower your water spending. Look into buying more efficient home products, such as a better toilet, faucet, shower head, dish washer and so on.

Cell phone

Cell phones are expensive.  Evaluate your needs and see if there is a cheaper contract out there. There are many new companies popping up all over the place with plans under $30.

What are you wasting your money on?

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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