To err is human; to make budgeting mistakes, totally human as well. Most people are not aware of the little budget traps we get caught in because life is so busy it's hard to keep track of the smaller money details. But being careless can rack up higher bills. Pretty soon, you might be wondering where your money is going — you don't spend that much every month but your bank seems to be emptying itself on its own. Here are things you need to watch out for:
Buying things that aren’t on sale: Most items generally go on sale if you wait for it. Whenever I buy greatly discounted items at a big annual sale like Black Friday, an outlet mall, or on some flash sales site, I wonder why I ever bought items at full-price.
Not preserving your groceries: Even if you're good about saving on your groceries and avoiding the items that are greatly marked up in the supermarket, those savings will be worth less if you don't know how to properly preserve your groceries. If you're throwing away food, you're wasting money. Do things like only cutting fruits and vegetables when you need them, putting your bread in the fridge or the freezer, and making perishable items more visible in your fridge. Here are even more tips for lengthening the life of your groceries.
Never checking your bills for mistakes: Monitor your receipts, bills, and statements to see if there are any mistakes being made. Get into a habit of giving your receipts a quick once-over as soon as you receive them. This may save you money and it'll definitely save you the time and effort of having to go back to the store or calling them to deduct the mistaken charges. Now that big banks are trying to slip in more fees to the unsuspecting customer, you have more reason to monitor your statements. Be a responsible consumer — the sooner you catch on to suspicious fees, the more chances you'll have of getting your money back.
Leaving your electronics plugged in: It's easy to be lazy and leave your electronics plugged in because you figure you'll be using them soon. Electronic items still suck power even when they aren't turned on. In fact, they draw five percent of the energy in American homes, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The amount of energy wasted is equivalent to the output of 18 power stations!
Buying brand-name instead of generic: Sick of personal finance experts telling you to buy generic, buy generic, buy generic? Well, embed that into your brain, because buying generic will save you a boatload of money. Health bills are already as expensive as it is, and switching to generic medicine will save you a ton. The FDA says consumers will be saving 80 to 85 percent by going generic. Read to find out how safe generic drugs are. Generic medicine aside, you should also consider skipping out on brand-name goods when grocery shopping or buying everyday items. Many taste tests have proven that generic goods taste just as good and sometimes even better than brand-name products.