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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

        SEO Consultant

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        Published on September 17, 2018

        How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

        How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

        Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

        With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

        So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

        1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

        It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

        You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

        So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

        2. When you want something big, wait

        Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

        It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

        We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

        A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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        So, you get the itch.

        You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

        Here’s where you have to take a step back.

        Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

        Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

        It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

        The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

        3. Live smaller than you can afford

        You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

        You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

        That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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        Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

        Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

        The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

        But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

        4. Practice smart grocery shopping

        Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

        But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

        Create a grocery budget

        Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

        Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

        I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

        Make a list… and never deviate

        Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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        You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

        These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

        Eat before going grocery shopping

        It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

        If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

        After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

        Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

        However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

        This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

        5. Cancel your gym membership

        Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

        The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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        Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

        I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

        Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

        Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

        For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

        Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

        There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

        It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

        I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

        Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

        The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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