Three Ways You're Wasting Money by Trying to Save

This is a guest post by Kelley C. Long.  She is a a nationally sought-after personal finance expert.  You can find and follow her on her KCL Money Coach website or at @kclmoneycoach on Twitter.

Be strategic with your money.


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


Image courtesy of  Michal Marcol /

  1. BOGO: Buy one pair of shoes, get the second pair half off… it is so tempting! However, chances are that you'll end up talking yourself into a pair that you are 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 are not even sure you like the bonus shoes. BOGO only works when you are 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. However, 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 are standing there with your keys in hand (don't ask me how I know this). Saving the quarter 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 a discount then not paying them off: It is one thing if you open a store credit card to get a discount then pay the balance due in full. That is 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 are not going shopping just to get rid of the coupon – be strategic about using the discounts and only shop for things you need. It is 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 would not 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 is 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 do not break my budget.


Question:  What is your best money saving strategy?

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