If you’ve ever made a purchase of any kind, chances are you spent way more than you should have on at least on of those purchases and didn’t even know it. Here are ten things you’re probably overspending on.
10. Drinking Water
Referred to by some as the biggest scam known to man, bottled water is one of the most ingenious marketing ideas in the history of the world. But, if there’s nothing wrong with the tap water at your home, you’re wasting your money. Beverage companies have somehow convinced us that bottled water is safer than tap water. But, according to The Motley Fool, your tap water is far more likely to be “strictly and stringently regulated by the authorities” than bottled water. And, it’s much cheaper, too. According to Minnesota Department of Health, “bottled water can cost thousands of times more than tap water. In Minnesota, tap water costs between a quarter and a half cent per gallon, on average. Bottled water costs between $1.00 and $7.50 per gallon nationally, on average.”
DID YOU KNOW?
The bottled water you’re buying just might be tap water that’s been purified. According to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), “many bottled water companies use public water sources for their products.” In fact, more than 25 percent of bottled water comes from a municipal supply, Reader’s Digest says.
The average cost for an American wedding these days is more than $25,000! Seriously?!? That’s an annual salary for some folks. We understand that this is one of the most important days in your life, but, remember, you still have to live after that day has passed. According to a recent study, money worries are the leading cause of failed marriages today, so the last thing you want to do is start your marriage off on the wrong foot. With that said, there are cheaper alternatives out there, and you can still have a beautiful ceremony. Here are some options:
-Make it a small, intimate gathering. You don’t have to invite every person you and your mate know. Unless your mail carrier is also a close family member, they really don’t need an invitation now do they?
-Buy a used gown.
-Buy your cake from your local grocery store’s bakery.
-Don’t get crazy with the flowers. They can be quite expensive, so only buy a few of them.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral with viewing and burial in 2016 was $7,360. That doesn’t even include the cost of the cemetery plot, vault, monument or marker, floral arrangements, and newspaper obituary. And, while most of us want to go out in style, there are things we can do to make that already stressful time less stressful on our loved ones. Here are two options:
-Get cremated. The national median cost of a funeral with viewing and cremation in 2017 was $6,260. It’s still not cheap, but it is a little less costly than a traditional burial.
-Shop around for the best rates. The average cost for a metal casket in 2017 was $2,400. But, you probably didn’t know that you could get a casket through Amazon Prime or from Costco for $791 and $950, respectively. Oh, and shipping is included in the cost.
Did you just recently have your eyes examined? If you did and you’ve got your prescription on hand, consider getting your eyeglasses online. You can get glasses from Zenni Optical starting at just $6.95. Another popular site is Warby Parker. You’ll pay a bit more for your glasses there than you would at Zenni, but you’ll be able to try them out at home with their Home Try-On Program. And, best of all, shipping for the program is free.
-Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable shop.
-Check the return policy just in case they aren’t the right fit.
-Find out if they offer a warranty.
-Check Groupon and RetailMeNot for even more savings.
6. Personal Checks
Even Man Ray from SpongeBob Squarepants likes checks with little poodles on them (who remembers that episode?), but designer checks don’t settle your transactions any better than basic checks. They do, however, cause you to waste money. Besides, how often do you write checks nowadays anyway? Most people are more likely to pay with a debit or credit card or with cash. Plus, many businesses don’t even accept checks anymore, so the only people seeing your fancy checks are your creditors. And, we’re certain they’re more concerned about the face value of your check than its design.
TIP: If you write a lot of checks you can get them even cheaper if you order them through a check printing service offered by Costco, Sam’s Club, and the like. Just be sure you deal with a reputable company. You don’t want just anyone having access to your banking information.
An insurance policy is a wise investment, but insurance companies often prey on your fears to get you to buy more than you need. Therefore, you should consider your coverage needs and purchase products accordingly. For example, “dropping whole life insurance in favor of term life will save a lot on premiums,” Dan Cunningham, an investment advisor, said in an article written by U.S. News & World Report.
TIP: Jared Snider, senior wealth advisor with Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City, recommends shopping for new, cheaper coverage every two to four years. “It’s not uncommon for shoppers to cut their rates by $100 to $200 a year after spending 15 or 30 minutes getting free quotes,” Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst for insuranceQuotes.com, said, as reported by U.S. News & World Report.
Did you know that you can borrow eBooks? Yep. Websites like OverDrive.com let you borrow eBooks–audiobooks and videos, too–from your local public library, anytime, anywhere. And, the only thing you need is a library card. Of course, if you want to borrow eBooks using OverDrive’s app, you’ll need a tablet or smartphone. With the app, named Libby, you can instantly stream or download books and audiobooks. You can also sample books without having to download anything. Plus, Libby comes with its own ereader and audiobook player. And, if you prefer using your Kindle, Libby can send your borrowed eBooks to it.
By the way, OverDrive has millions of titles to choose from, from more than 30,000 libraries in over 40 countries.
There’s a common belief that private schools are better at educating kids than public schools. But, a new study says that simply isn’t so. According to researchers from the University of Virginia, all of the supposed advantages of private education are completely eliminated when sociodemographic factors are taken into consideration. So, take our advice and do your research before dumping your money into a private school.
The same can be said for big-name colleges with an even bigger price tag. “Like buying clothes, you need to look beyond the pricey labels,” TV program Money Talks News wrote on its website. “Start by checking out the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center and the College Scorecard, tools introduced in 2015 by President Barack Obama.”
Dealerships mark up car prices all the time. But, that doesn’t mean you have to pay the advertised price. You have the power to negotiate, so put that power to good use. Also, consult a website like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book to find out a car’s price value before you buy anything.
TIP: To save even more, avoid buying your car from a dealership. Instead, buy a used car someone may be selling on their front lawn. Just make sure to test it out first before handing over any cash.
When you buy brand name clothes, the only thing you’re paying for is the label. Plus, you won’t always be certain you’re getting the quality you’re paying for. But, if brand name clothing is a must-have for you, keep in mind that you don’t have to pay full retail price for them. If you look really hard, you can snag some good deals at stores like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. You may even be able to find brand name items at consignment shops and thrift stores. Many people donate nice stuff to the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
For even more money-saving tips, check out this article to find out what things you’re paying for that you can actually get for free!