Americans are great at a lot of things, but some things that we are great at, like wasting money, we should not be proud of. The average American wastes thousands of dollars each year on purchases that they do not need to make and on fees that they could have easily avoided. This results in many households not saving as much as they should to ensure a secure financial future. Here are some of the most common ways that we waste money and what we can do to change these habits.
Unnecessary Banking Fees
Americans can pay hundreds of dollars each year in unnecessary banking fees. These fees can add up quickly and range from $3.50 for using an out of network ATM to $35 for causing an overdraft on your checking account. Most of these fees are fairly easy to avoid if you are aware of them and actively take steps to ensure that you will not trigger any of these additional charges. Make sure that your bank account always has more money deposited than the minimum amount required, keep track of your transactions so you always know how much is in the account, and only use ATMs that will not charge you a fee.
When it comes to convincing people to buy more than they need, retail stores are experts. The retail stores have been so effective at encouraging people to spend that there are now television shows dedicated to helping people get rid of the ridiculous amounts of stuff that they have accumulated throughout the years. In many cases, the extra items that were purchased were never taken out of the packaging. Whenever you plan to go shopping, make a list of the things that you intend to purchase while you are out and stick to this list so you are not buying things that you do not really need.
Another area where people tend to waste a lot of money is on convenience purchases. Nothing demonstrates this more than the proliferation of fast food and fast causal restaurants across the country. Instead of paying a minimal amount for ingredients at the grocery store and taking the time to prepare a meal ourselves, we spend more going to one of these restaurants and paying someone to prepare our food for us. Some people eat at these places nearly every day, not realizing that they could make many of the foods they are eating at home themselves for half of the price they are paying now. To save a significant amount of money each year, cook at home as much as possible and be mindful of the price of the ingredients you are buying.
We would like to wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday and the time to truly enjoy it with your friends and family. May you find much to be thankful for.
- The EYF Team
Many people believe that refinancing their home is a good way to get the money that they need without having to pay a high interest rate to obtain it. While refinancing a home can be a good financial move in certain situations, it is not always a good idea to pull equity out of your home using refinancing. Refinancing a home is not a decision that should be considered lightly as there can be many negative consequences to the decision. A home should only be refinanced for a reason that justifies the expense and the reduction of equity in the home. The following reasons are not good reasons for refinancing your home.
Paying For A Vacation
While rest and relaxation are important, it is not a good idea to withdraw equity from your home to take an expensive vacation. The pleasures of the relatively short vacation are far outweighed by the long-term repercussions of taking a large chunk of money out of your home. If you cannot afford to take the vacation that you want with the money that you have been able to save up, then you should probably scale back your plans for the vacation. There are many ways to still have a relaxing vacation without spending a large amount of money.
Eliminating Credit Card Debt
Many people believe that refinancing their home is an inexpensive way to get rid of expensive credit card debt. While this may look good mathematically, it can also leave some people further behind. Refinancing a home to pay off credit card debt will reduce your debt in the short term, but if the underlying problems that caused you to run up that debt are not addressed, you could find yourself in the same position a few years from now without the financial stability of the equity in your home behind you. If you are serious about getting out of debt and staying out of debt, you should reorganize your finances and change your habits so that you never end up in debt again.
A Minimal Interest Rate Change
If you are lowering the interest rate on your mortgage by a significant amount by refinancing, then you may be paying more with the refinancing than you are saving by getting the new loan. Many people forget that there are fees associated with refinancing a home, reducing the amount that is eventually saved by obtaining the new loan. If the new payment is not significantly smaller than the old payment or the timeframe for paying off the loan is not lessened by years, it is probably not worth it to refinance the home.
The Money Pages has a great article up on their website. Evidently, a new study has come out which shows that if you shop for groceries online, you are far more likely to stay on budget. This makes great sense, whenever my wife and I go grocery shopping we always seem to come back with more food than we intended to buy. Here is the first few paragraphs from their study:
It seems that online shopping is the best way to safeguard your budget when doing your weekly shop, according to the results of a new poll; revealing that 54 per cent of online grocery shoppers say that the fact that it’s ‘easier to stick to budget’ is the biggest motivating factor behind why they shop online.
The study, conducted by www.vouchercloud.com, polled 1,911 UK co-habiting couples as part of ongoing research into personal finance and household budgets. All respondents were aged 18 or over.
The study initially asked, ‘Do you usually do your grocery shopping online or in store?’ to which the majority, 61% said in-store. The remaining 39% said that they usually conducted their weekly shop online.
Click here for the full story.