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9 Things You’re Paying Too Much For Around Your House

9 Things You’re Paying Too Much For Around Your House

We all have plenty of bills to worry about, on top of needing to keep our living space clean and take care of our own personal health and hygiene. Some things are just essentials. Looking at a receipt after a big household shop can be somewhat scary, and we are often at a loss when it comes to figuring out where all that money actually goes.

Tightening up the budget sounds like a good idea, right? But which corners can you afford to cut without sacrificing comfort and basic needs? Well, if you want to manage your funds more effectively, then you should definitely stop paying too much for these nine common items.

1. Overpriced medication

assorted medicine with money with spoon

    I can already hear some of you saying, “Oh, come on, everyone needs medicine. You can’t cut any corners there.” However, there are ways of getting all the medication you need without breaking the bank.

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    The first thing you need to do is avoid heavily marketed drugs with fancy names and shiny packaging – they usually have the same basic ingredients as generic options and what you are really paying all that extra money for is the package design and marketing. You don’t need Super Headache Remover 3000 when just any old tablet of aspirin will do the trick.

    It is also good to buy larger doses of some medication and then cut the pills in half – you may be able to get a better price for the same weight. Important note: not all drugs are safe to split, so ask your pharmacist if such a solution is possible for the medication you need. If not, try and find a cheaper alternative or look elsewhere for a better price.

    2. Toiletries

    There is no noticeable difference when it comes to the effects a cheap tube of toothpaste has on your oral health as opposed to heavily marketed, popular, brand name toothpaste. The same goes for shampoos and creams. You’ll need to pick out shampoo based on your hair type and choose a fragrance that you like, but other than that there is no real benefit to shelling out for the very expensive ones.

    Moisturizing creams do a very particular job and the active ingredients that have been proven to work have been used for decades now. Don’t fall for marketing hype surrounding revolutionary technologies – a hand cream is a hand cream. Of course, if you go for the very bottom of the barrel you risk getting a product that went through virtually no quality control, but any reasonably priced product will be more than enough to get the job done. Apart from choosing a face cream based on your skin type there isn’t much more to say about it.

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    3. Liquid personal hygiene products

    While I’d be the first to say that liquid soap and hand sanitizer are excellent products, you can end up spending more money than you need to on packaging. A simple solution is to switch to bar soap or just keep refilling your bottle when it becomes empty. You can get liquid soap much cheaper if you buy larger quantities, so you can pitch in with several family members and friends and then split the stash up into equal parts.

    Body wash bottles are often thrown out with a small amount of the liquid still stuck on the inside walls. Cutting the bottle in half with scissors allows you to scoop every last bit up, and there are plenty of great soaps that moisturize and have a beautiful fragrance and are a cheaper option.

    4. Cleaning chemicals

    Chemical cleaning agents

      Just as with other product types on this list, the basic ingredients that make a detergent, window cleaner or drain cleaner work are the same, and fairly inexpensive to boot. You can pick out the cheapest product on the shelf and get the same results as incredibly expensive alternatives. But an even better way to save money is to avoid using store-bought chemical cleaners whenever possible. You’ll need things like laundry detergent and fabric softener, sure, but simple ingredients found in every household are proven cleaners and can be used for over 90% of problems. White vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon juice, bleach, carbonated water and heated tap water are enough to clean everything from spilled wine to clogged drains.

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      5. Cable TV

      In this day and age you can get all the entertainment you need off the internet. You may need a few channels to get your news and sports fix, but you can simply watch your favorite movies and TV shows online, and go through a whole season in one sitting if you so desire. You can also get DVD box sets of various shows and find all sorts of pop culture news on YouTube. If you’ve got a PC, you can download games from Valve for incredibly low prices, particularly if you catch them on sale. There are so many options available that you don’t really need to waste money on premium cable packages.

      6. Bottled water

      Americans tend to spend a whole lot of money on bottled water, and it’s not unusual to see fridge compartments filled with water bottles. This is, for the most part, an unnecessary expense. In most parts, your regular old tap water is perfectly safe to drink, and even if you have your doubts you can get a water filter or water softener. You don’t need to be a handy man either. As long as you pick a good professional who’s not out to rob you blind, your local plumber can install these devices for you at a very reasonable rate. It’s a one-time investment that will end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

      7. Heavily processed food

      Processed food

        My mind boggles when I hear people talking about how they can’t afford to go on a weight-loss diet or eat relatively healthy food, as if you needed to sprinkle everything with gold to stay healthy. The truth is, most fruit and vegetables are fairly cheap. No, you don’t have to spend a ton for organic food, any old fruit or vegetable will do. And if you aren’t too lazy to spend half an hour in the kitchen, you can buy all kinds of food in bulk and keep it in the freezer. With a few relatively cheap ingredients and some spices you can make a true gourmet meal while staying within your budget.

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        8. Room deodorizers of all sorts

        Everything from incense sticks, scented candles, scented oils and spray deodorizers are used in a vast majority of households to create a fresh aroma and mask different kinds of nasty odors. While lighting up a couple of scented candles every now and then can be a great way to rekindle your romance, if you want to get rid of odors you can simply pour baking soda – an excellent deodorizer – on the desired area and let some fresh air in. You can lightly sprinkle baking soda over a rug before vacuuming to keep the room fresh. Things like orange peels can be placed in bowls to cheaply give a very fresh scent to your home.

        9. Seemingly high-tech, but ultimately useless electronics

        Now, don’t get me wrong here, if you are an avid gamer and want to invest a few hundred dollars in a next-gen console and a couple of hundred more on some new games, then there is nothing wrong with that. You get very good value for your money and you are actually going to use it all on a daily basis. What you don’t need is a super high-end blender with an LCD display, the ability to be remotely accessed via smartphone and modern tooled-steel blades that spin so fast they create a whirlwind. A $40 blender will do a splendid job of collecting dust in a forgotten corner of the kitchen and making the occasional smoothie! There is no need to pay hundreds of dollars for a virtually useless feature on an appliance that you barely use anyway.

        As you can see, you can save quite a bit of money if you just reevaluate some of your basic needs around the home. These are things that you really shouldn’t be wasting money on by paying too much for them. You are not going to be giving up on luxuries and sacrificing comfort to cut costs, you are going to become a smart consumer who makes careful assessments and informed decisions.

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on January 2, 2019

        How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

        How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

        Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

        Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

        Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

        This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

        Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

        What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

        Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

        When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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        How It Leads to Financial Improvement

        It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

        Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

        Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

        It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

        Types of Personal Finance Software

        When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

        Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

        For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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        Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

        When to Use Personal Finance Software

        So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

        Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

        1. You Have Multiple Accounts

        There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

        If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

        Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

        2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

        Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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        There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

        With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

        3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

        Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

        Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

        Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

        4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

        Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

        You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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        How to Get Started

        From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

        Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

        It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

        When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

        Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

        Final Thoughts

        Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

        In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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