If you evaluate your spending, there are probably things you're paying too much for. Don't beat yourself up – we're all guilty of this. But if you're looking to improve your finances and save money, making simple adjustments can keep cash in your pocket. However, you need to recognize certain things you're paying too much for.
1. Cups of Coffee
Coffee is likely one of the main things you're paying too much for. If you're always rushing in the mornings, you may have little time to brew your own pot of coffee. Going to a drive thru or a convenient store might work with your schedule. But daily coffee trips aren't cheap. Rather than spend upwards of $4 a day for a cup of Joe, you can buy a $4 bag of coffee that lasts the entire month.
Who doesn't enjoy a fun action flick? But if you make regular trips to the theater, buying tickets for a night screening can quickly drain your entertainment budget. There's a better approach – purchase tickets to a matinee (showings before 5 or 6pm) and reduce your ticket price by $3 or $4.
3. Restaurant Meals
If you don't feel like cooking, or if you're hanging out with friends, going to a restaurant might be the solution for dinner. But there's a price to convenience. And if you eat out regularly, you're probably spending unnecessarily on food. Not that you can't dine out, but do so in moderation. If you eat out, dine smartly. For example, look for discounts, take advantage of happy hour specials, or split an entrée or appetizer with a friend.
Do you really need 200+ channels? Re-evaluate your TV viewing habits. If you never watch TV, or if you only watch a few select shows, you might be able to cancel cable and stream your favorite shows using Netflix or Hulu. For less than $30 a month, you can subscribe to both services and never miss a TV program or movie. This is cheaper than paying more than $100 a month for channels you never watch.
Don't fall for the gimmick that you need to purchase expensive shampoo and conditioners. There are many low-cost alternatives that’ll leave your hair just as shiny, clean and healthy.
6. Pre-packaged Foods
I know, you're busy. And as a busy person, you probably don't have time to cook. But if you buy pre-packaged foods, you're overpaying for lunch, dinner and snacks. It's always cheaper to buy and prepare foods yourself, and it’s certainly cheaper to buy fresh foods. Not only will you save money by avoiding prepackaged foods, you’ll also consume less sodium and sugar.
If your doctor prescribes a certain medication, check with your pharmacist to see if there's a generic version. Generic medications are just as effective as brand names — and they cost a lot less. And if for some reason your insurance doesn't cover a particular drug, ask your doctor about a cheaper alternative.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is interested in ways to save money – and for good reason. However, saving money is much easier to say than do. You may not be able to reduce every expense in your budget, but if you assess where your money goes and make changes, you can spend less on everyday items. What other items do we typically pay too much for?