5 Money Saving Habits that Could Break the Bank

By Kathryn Katz

When you’re trying to save money, sometimes well-meaning practices, like clipping coupons, could result in you spending more money at the end of the month if you’re buying items that you don’t need. Rather than saving a few dollars here and there, you’re spending a lot more than you’re saving. Here are some money saving habits that could be costing you:

Daily Deal Hangover
Problem: While sites like Groupon and Living Social might offer great daily deals on popular businesses, it’s very possible to break your budget if you end up buying more than you can use or need.
Solution: If you’re trying to cut back on your budget, avoid temptation and stop shopping these daily deals. When your friends share these deals via email, just press the delete button.

Impulse Coupon Clipping
Problem: Coupon clipping is meant to help you save on the groceries you buy. However, if you find yourself clipping coupons with the intention of “trying it” or “that looks good” then you might find that you’re buying items that you don’t necessarily need.
Solution: Make sure that you have your meal plan and shopping list done before you select your coupons. Put aside coupons for stables that you may want to buy later but don’t need right now.

Window Shopping via Email
Problem: Signing up for retailer’s emails can help you save money by finding out when your favorite items go on sale. However, if you find that you’re opening those daily emails, gazing at the newest and latest items on sale and then finding more excuses to visit your favorite stores, then you may have a problem.
Solution: Now that the holiday shopping season is over, it’s a good time to get off the email lists. You’ll have less emails clogging up your inbox and less excuses to go shopping.

Buying in Bulk Isn’t Always Better
Problem: In many cases, buying in bulk can cost you less on a per item basis. However, if you end up throwing out half of what you bought or never get around to using it, then you really didn’t save all that much money.
Solution: Make sure that the items aren’t perishable, will be used over time and are really cheaper on a cost per item basis. Sometimes retailers can trick you into buying in bulk but when you calculate the cost per item, it’s actually more. Carry a calculator or smartphone app to make sure that you are getting the best deal.

Yoyo on BOGO
Problem: Many retail stores like to promote BOGO (Buy One Get One…) to get you buy one item at full price and get the second item for 50%. However, if you’re only planning on buying and using the one item, then it doesn’t matter that you’re getting the second one for 50% off, you’re still buying something that you don’t need.
Solution: If you only need one item, pass on the BOGO. However, if you could use the two items, then it’s just fine to take advantage of the deal. With any of sales promotions, do your research. Comparison shop and make sure that your sale isn’t a seasonal markup masquerading as a sale. There are some great smartphone apps that will actually scan the bar codes and tell you what other retailers are selling the items for.

Do you know of any other money saving habits that could be costing consumers’ money? Add your tips to the comments below.

About the Author

The following post is from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.