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No one has flawless spending habits.  As much as we’d like to think we have our finances under control, even the most budget-conscious person overspends sometimes. Here are some ways you may be wasting money and how to stop.

Forgetting to cancel a free trial

Free trials are a great way to try out a product or service before actually paying for it.  The problem is most people forget to cancel before the trial period ends and wind up getting charged.  Anytime you sign up for a free trial, set a reminder in your phone to cancel your subscription a few days before the deadline.  If you’re currently paying for any subscriptions or services you don’t use, cancel them immediately.

Paying for convenience

Being able to order whatever you want, and have it delivered to your door makes life so much easier.  But convenience comes at a cost.  When you order food through your favorite delivery app, the prices are usually higher than in-store.  Plus, you’ll need to pay a service fee, driver fee, small order fee if you don’t meet the minimum requirement, taxes and don’t forget the tip.  Before you know it, you’re paying a whole lot more than you anticipated.  An easy way to save money is to order directly from the restaurant and pick up the order yourself.

Choosing brand name over generic products

Some people are loyal to certain brands because it’s what they grew up using.  Switching to generic versions of certain products can get you the same quality at a cheaper price.  The key is knowing what’s worth buying and what to skip.  Save money by purchasing generic cleaning products, medicine, baking supplies, seasonings, cereal, milk, trash bags and paper products.  Skip food items like peanut butter, coffee, ice cream and cheese because they tend to either have more additives or don’t taste as good.

Buying sale items you don’t need

Just because your favorite store is advertising a BOGO sale doesn’t mean you have to buy anything.  A sale is only a good deal if it’s an item you actually need and plan to use.  Otherwise, you’re spending money unnecessarily.  The next time you get the urge to splurge, go to your closet and take inventory of what you own.  You may be surprised by the amount of stuff you have and don’t wear.  If that’s the case, declutter what you don’t need.  Then go to your email and unsubscribe from all the stores that tempt you to spend your hard earned cash.

Letting good food go to waste

According to the USDA, the average family of four wastes $1,500 a year by throwing out food.  Reducing food waste can save you money and help the environment.  Here are some ways to do your part:

  • Create a shopping list based on the meals you plan to cook for the week.  Check your fridge and pantry to see what you already have at home. 
  • Stick to your shopping list at the store.
  • Check your fridge’s temperature to maintain quality and freshness.  Your fridge temperature should be set at 40° F or below.  Your freezer temperature should be 0° F.
  • Freeze your foods to prevent them from going bad.
  • Stick to the serving size listed on the nutrition label.  You can always go back for more when you’re done.