American Spending Habits Part 4

American Spending Habits Part 4

So we have come to the final installment of our series on American spending habits, and in particular, how Americans waste money. We hope you’ve found these lists helpful and informative. We’d also like to remind you that everyone is guilty of some of these habits, and no one is perfect, so please do not feel guilty if you find an entry that seems to speak to you. In fact, we encourage you to use it as an opportunity to help yourself develop better habits and discretion when it comes to spending your hard earned money. Even the most financially successful of us could use this kind of help in one way or another. Again, these entries are presented in no particular order.

More Ways in Which Americans Waste Money

  • Coffee. We’ve said it before and we will say it again. That five dollar latte is an all too frequent expenditure in our daily lives. Sure, we don’t necessarily go overboard and order a fifty dollar frap. But even if you only get that latte twice a week, that’s $40/month! We’re not suggesting you quit cold turkey, but you can cut that number in half, save $20 and still enjoy a weekly coffee treat.
  • Designer clothes for infants. Do you really care what others think of your new child’s wardrobe? Apparently a lot of folks do. Sales of trendy clothes for tots were up last year. We have to wonder: what’s the point? If a child will grow out of an outfit in six months (after having spit up on it repeatedly, not to mention other messes), was it worth it to shell out that money for clothes that in a few weeks, no one will remember the kid was wearing?
  • Multi-level marketing. We could probably do a whole series based just on this and how much money is actually wasted each year by well-intended folks who like the idea of their own home-based business. Repeated studies have shown most of these businesses do not work, and in fact are simply tools to recruit other people to pass money up along a line of people that strongly resembles the shape of a pyramid (we’re not legally allowed to say the word ‘pyramid’ with a word that rhymes with ‘team’, but we hope you get the idea). More than 90% of folks who get into home-based multi-level marketing will barely break even when all is said and done. And seriously, please do consider all that is required just to get into this kind of business: there is almost always an “initial investment”, in addition to the expenses uncured when the so-called ‘independent business owner’ hosts a ‘party’ in which he or she tries to sell their product to their friends and acquaintances. And there are tertiary costs involved. If you are thinking about getting into one of these businesses, at least do thorough research on it first. Here’s just one tip: if one of the requirements for success is recruiting other sales people, then the company is not a legitimate marketing enterprise.
  • Medicine. Are you paying out-of-pocket for a prescription? Ask your pharmacist if you are buying a name brand medicine or if there is a generic equivalent. Generic prescription meds are often a fraction of the price of their name brand counterparts and could save you a bundle, especially if your prescription is ongoing and not a temporary one. Many pharmacists are not allowed to tell you if there is a generic version of the medicine you might be taking, so please don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Gadgets. In an earlier entry, we talked about how consumers often buy things they don’t end up using. This entry is somewhat different. Do you find you have to have the latest version of that new smartphone that just came out? Did you know most “upgraded” devices of this nature only have one or two minor changes at most? Yes, new technology is amazing, and sometimes we feel like we’re lagging behind if we don’t have the newest Operating System on our computer (don’t get us started about those wonderful new operating systems that come out every other year and seem to have more bugs than the previous version). If you have a smartphone, consider keeping it until three or four versions of it have come out, or at least until you know for certain there are substantial upgrades to the product. Otherwise you’re just wasting money on a new bell or whistle you might never actually use.
  • Water. Get a filter for your home tap and a reusable squeeze bottle. Not only will you be saving tons of money, but you’ll help the environment.
  • Unclaimed property. Did you lose a box of important papers awhile back? Did your aunt or uncle once tell you about an investment they made in a company decades ago but never knew what happened to it? Your state or the Federal Government might be holding property (note: this does not mean real estate or anything expensive) that belongs to you. The state of Nevada alone is holding over half a billion dollars’ worth of personal property waiting to be claimed. Don’t go dismissing this entry before you have at least investigated your state’s unclaimed department website (do an online search). The writer of this article decided to investigate his own name on a lark and found ten dollars in unclaimed cash waiting for him to claim (turns out it was an uncollected Paypal refund). Hey, ten bucks is ten bucks.
  • Last one, and it might not mean that much in terms of savings, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even think about this: audio greeting cards. You know, the ones that you open and a song plays or someone sings or whatever. Those things can cost 8 to 10 bucks these days and if you buy them for everyone on every occasion, the money can really add up. Buy the cheaper card and save, because hey, ten bucks is ten bucks.

CASH 1; if there’s one thing we hate more than wasting money, we haven’t found it yet (OK, maybe we’re not so fond of evil dictators and people who use their cell phone at the theater, but wasting money is right up there). If you find you are short of much-needed cash, come see us for loans in Arizona and Nevada or check out our  installment requirements online and see what a short-term installment loan in Nevada could do for you.  

We've come to the final installment of our series on American spending habits, and in particular, how Americans waste money. Learn to save money in America.

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