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3 Ways You’re Wasting Money by Trying to Save It

Posted April 14, 2014 by Kelley Long in Life After Five


  1. BOGO: Buy one pair of shoes, get the second pair half off… it’s so tempting! But chances are that you’ll end up talking yourself into a pair that you’re not crazy about just to take advantage of the deal. Plus the store is betting that you will pick a more expensive pair than you originally came to shop for, driving your bill even higher. Suddenly a $40 purchase turns into $80, and you’re not even sure you like the bonus shoes. BOGO only works when you’re truly getting something free that you were planning to purchase anyway, like microwave popcorn or my favorite treat, ice cream.
  2. Cheaping out at the parking meter: I know how annoying it is to feed the meter just to pop in for a cup of coffee. But those meter maids are omnipresent and they are trained to ignore your pleas once they’ve spotted your car at an expired meter, even if you’re standing there with your keys in hand (don’t ask me how I know this). Saving a dollar is NOT worth the $35 or more parking ticket that you’ll end up with when your good parking karma runs out. Feed the meter every time and for enough time.
  3. Signing up for retail credit cards for the discount then not paying them off: It’s one thing if you open the store credit card to get the discount then pay the balance due in full. That’s smart. But only paying the minimum negates any money saved due to the high interest rates charged.

Be careful also when you receive your rewards that you aren’t going shopping just to get rid of the coupon – be strategic about using the discounts and only shop for things you need. It’s not the end of the world if a coupon goes unused either. Retailers count on you spending more than the coupon’s value when normally you wouldn’t even be shopping.

And here’s a simple way to save a little extra money that my mom taught me: keep every five dollar bill that comes your way instead of spending it. It’s easier to stay disciplined with this if you have a plan for the savings. I designate mine as cocktail money for the next time I get together with my out-of-town friends. That way when we do manage to congregate in the same city, I have a little stash set aside and I don’t break my budget.

About the Author

Kelley Long

Kelley Long is a CPA/PFS and CFP® who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. She uses her 15 years of experience in various financial services industry jobs to inform her work as a Resident Financial Planner for Financial Finesse, providing unbiased financial guidance through workplace financial wellness programs. She’s also a volunteer and media ambassador for Feed the Pig and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. In Kelley’s perfect world, everyone would feel great talking about their money concerns, fears, questions and problems, because then everyone would see that we ALL have those concerns, fears, questions and problems. Kelley lives in Chicago with her husband and their Himalayan cat Miles, where she also teaches BODYPUMP group fitness classes at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.