For the most part, we think we’re making smart financial decisions that give us the best chance of enjoying long-term financial freedom. Yet, when you study the numbers and look at the averages, it’s pretty clear that most people overspend in key areas.
As Americans, we seemingly have a love for debt and a disdain for saving until it’s absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, this frequently lands people in hot water and creates challenging situations that require slick maneuvering and last minute decisions that are more emotional than practical.
While every family has its own financial constraints and freedoms, most of us could do a little more saving and a lot less spending. In particular, here are some areas where you may be spending more than necessary.
- Cable and Internet
If you’re still bundling your services and paying for cable and internet from a traditional cable provider, you’re probably spending way too much. The average “triple play” service – which includes phone, cable, and internet – costs American families $165 per month. That comes out to just under $2,000 per year.
While it used to be that you had cable and nothing else, there are plenty of options available today. Between YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu, and other services, you can still watch live television without an expensive cable contract. Sling, for example, costs just $20. If you add that to a typical internet bill of $69, you’d save an average of $76 per month (or $912 per year).
- Car Insurance
Car insurance is one of those things you don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about, but you’re probably spending way more than you have to each month.
Your car is the definition of a depreciating asset. From the moment you leave the lot, it’s losing significant value every single day. So, why is it that you pay the same insurance premium from month to month and year to year? If you look around, you may find a better deal.
One of the more interesting companies is King Price, which actually offers car insurance premiums that decrease as time goes on (to account for depreciation of your vehicle). You could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year with something like this.
- Eating Out
According to a survey of 2,000 American consumers, eating out at is the number one money waster across all generations. Millennials are the worst of all, with 72 percent of respondents saying they spend a significant amount of money dining out each month.
It’s not even dining at expensive establishments that gets people. Take, for example, a family of four that eats fast food three times per week. Assuming that the average bill is $25, this family is spending $75 per week on fast food (or $300 per month). You can run some calculations in your head, but that’s $3,600 per year – on fast food alone!
By shopping in the supermarket and cooking meals at home, this family could easily cut these expenses in half. With some savvy shopping – looking for sales, buying in bulk, etc. – it could probably be reduced by even more.
Be Smarter With Your Money
You work hard to earn money, yet tend to throw it away frivolously. While a few bucks here and a couple of dollars there might not seem like a lot, it adds up. And before you know it, you’re wasting hundreds of dollars per month on items you don’t need, or services you could find for much cheaper. It’s time to tighten up and maximize your income.