Over the last year or so, we’ve offered up sundry tips on how to consistently and systematically save money. However, there exists a litany of alternative methods that certain factions of people routinely employ in a hapless effort to hold on to their finances. Let’s take a gander at some of the worst ways that people have dreamt up to “save,” and why you should avoid them like the bubonic plague.
“Everything’s fine! Why would I need insurance?”
For the love of all that is holy, please do not adopt this attitude. Be it home, auto or health, you need insurance. All the money you could possibly save in your lifetime by not having insurance will still pale in comparison to the amount you would have to pay out of pocket in the event of an accident or unexpected serious condition. Property and car insurance providers are well aware of this, and as a result must compete for your business by advertising/offering cost cutting incentives (why do you think Geico has over 100 mascots?) Even the oft maligned ‘government’ is looking out for you in terms of reasonably affordable health insurance (Hello, Obamacare.) Only when you’re insured, can you rest assured – or at least take a little nap.
“Let’s buy in bulk! / Find the best deal!”
Shopping at the massive bulk item conglomerates can be quite cost effective when making purchases …if you actually use up all the items you buy. For instance, “Octomom” could have benefited from a large supply of diapers. You, on the other hand, may not need 200 Glade Plug-Ins. While the individual costs of these items will be ostensibly inexpensive when you break them down, if you aren’t using the products up rapidly, then these giant quantities are effectively costing you cash. Not to mention the annual fees that most of the wholesale clubs enforce. Along the same lines, if you spend all day long scouring the internet for “super great deals,” you can often be tempted (and lured with clever advertising) to buy “cheap” things that you weren’t going to buy in the first place. So great, you’ve just saved 40 cents on fabric softener with a discount code provided by a site, but you also just bought 78 dollars worth of Snuggies.
“I see Golden Arches ahead!”
Truly, a “Dollar Value Menu” sounds like the epitome of savings/deliciousness, but if you trust your, ahem, gut, you know this is not a smart idea. Yes, eating healthy can be costly, but ultimately it is worth it. Scarfing down copious amounts of fast food will leave you feeling lethargic and susceptible to illness. In the long term, doctor’s bills of any sort will always outweigh any savings you may have incurred from eating BK every day. Repeat, do not have it your way.
“Minimum payment: check! I’m good to go!”
We’ve gone over a lot of the pros and cons of credit cards and how to avoid debt, but one thing is for certain; making only the minimum monthly payment on your cards is costing you a great deal. As your balance surges higher and higher, the interest you owe also accumulates at this exponential rate, leaving you in quite the credit hole. Try to pay as much as you can per month (unless, of course, you’ve got one of those nifty promotional cards with an APR of 0% for the first year, in which case, go buck wild.)
“DIY, DIY, DIY!”
While some of you may love working with your hands, either digging around in a garden for weeds or popping Ikea furniture together, there is definitely a time and a place for home projects. So let’s go over the times/places where you should NOT attempt to repair or construct things yourself (after a perfunctory Google or Bing instruction session that you deem totally adequate): fixing a hole in your steep angled roof, stopping that gas leak in your basement, putting out the fire billowing from your carburetor, building a guest-tree house for your brother-in-law to live in, capturing a rabid raccoon. There are professionals in all these fields; if you value your safety in the least bit, please use them. Even tasks that aren’t that dangerous can just be a colossal waste of your time. You’ve been trying to grab it for the last three hours; you’re never going to reach that turtle your son flushed down the toilet. Call a dang plumber immediately before you permanently lose your mind and end up in a mental hospital.
“One day, this sparkly thing will be worth so much!”
Holding on to old diamond jewelry that you never wear anymore (or ever did, in the case of some dusty inherited pieces) is not smart. Diamonds, and most jewelry items in general, do not appreciate in the same way that other commodities can. If you have substantial diamonds of any nature (meaning 1 carat and larger), you should consider selling them now. The money you make from them can then be used for something more profitable, such as a mutual fund or (a more spiritually profitable) trip to Paris or Mumbai. Check out DiamondLighthouse.com. We get our clients the best value for their diamond jewelry, every single time. Find out how!