5 Ways You Can Waste Money Without Realizing It

We all are always looking for ways to save money, but we sometimes ignore the fact that we’re actively wasting money every day.

Here are 5 ways you might be letting money slip through your fingers.

1. The Food In Your Kitchen Goes Bad

It’s hard to judge exactly how much food you’ll eat in the next week or month, but when food spoils, that’s money down the drain. Planning your meals ahead of time helps a ton, as does knowing how long different foods stay fresh on the counter, in the fridge, and in the freezer. But, in the end, all it takes is a little attention.

2. You Pay Too Much for Smartphone Data

Most people sign up for a data plan and use their phone without really digging into how much data they use. If you’re still holding onto an unlimited plan, for example, it’s worth looking up how much data you actually use in a month—you might actually save money by moving to a metered plan (after all, 65% of people don’t even use 300MB of data per month). I subscribe to comonth for Blackberry on glo, and I can’t remember ever using up to 50% of the monthly data. That was when I realized how much I wasted on the ‘so-called’ unlimited subscription I was on using Airtel. If you haven’t checked your data usage in awhile, give it a look. You might be surprised. Of course, if you do have a limited plan, make sure your phone isn’t secretly wasting data in the background, too.

3. You Don’t Negotiate

Negotiating can be tiring and time-wasting, but with the right preparation, you can make the whole process a lot easier—and get a lot more for your money. In fact, researchers in the U.S. found that the average new hire loses out on $500,000 in the long run, just by not negotiating their salary on that first job. There are a number of negotiation methods that work well in different situations (the Briefcase Technique being a pretty good one for salaries), so check out Lifehacker’s guide to getting anything you want with minimal negotiation. In a typical Nigerian market, the price you’re told is usually double what the good is worth, especially if you’re buying from an Ibo or Yoruba trader. But when you master the techniques of negotiating, you might be surprised how much you let go down the drain before you put in a little effort.

4. You Fall For Tech Myths

It’s amazing how much tech companies try to squeeze out of you when you go to buy a new computer. “Oh, don’t buy that one, it’s six months old…buy this new one!” “O, you should get an extended warranty for an extra $200.” “Here, this $40 HDMI cable should suit your needs.” These sales tactics lead to quite a few myths, like the fact that new products are somehow better than refurbished products, or that expensive cables will get you a better picture on your TV. If you buy a lot of technology—and if you’re anything like us, you can save quite a bundle by knowing your stuff before you go into the store.

5. You Try Too Hard to Save Money

Wait, what? That’s right: Sometimes, trying to save money can actually lead you into a pit that wastes money. For example, some people avoid regular checkups with the doctor or dentist, but then end up having to go in and pay much more for all the things they neglected. As a way to save money, you buy only the things you need in bits, but you end up using a carton at the end of the month; you could have saved money if you bought a whole carton in the first place-each would cost less than how much retailers sold the product to you each time you bought it. That’s not to say saving money is a bad thing—it’s just important to pay attention to where all of your money is going, and that you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot with a strategy you’re using to “save” cash. [Lifehacker]


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