Staying on top of managing money is a constant struggle for me.

I’m not perfect (but who is?) nor do I have it all together all the time but I’ve come a long way.

This article just reminds me of my goal, to spend money only when necessary and to save up for the future.

I hope this inspires you to do the same, as hard as it is.

1. Failing to Return Items.

Everyone makes shopping mistakes sometimes. However, failing to return unwanted items in time is like flushing money down the toilet.

Returning unwanted items can be a chore but think of all the money you will be getting back. I usually get back over $100 and that makes my trip worth it. Now, I make a more concentrated effort not to buy things impulsively so I won’t have to return them later.

2. Buying an Unnecessary Extended Warranty.

Every time I have bought an extended warranty coverage, I have never used it. I wished I had saved that money instead! Stores make a good profit when they sell extended warranties because most people don’t cash in on the coverage. According to Consumer Reports, the profit margin for extended warranties is 40 to 80 percent!

Usually, if a product fails, it will happen early on and will be covered by the manufacture’s warranty. If you are afraid of products breaking down, put aside some money into an account for repairs. You can also try talking to customer service to get the warranty extended if the item broke down close to the end of the manufacture’s warranty.

Recently, our clothes dryer broke down a little over a year after we bought it. My husband talked to customer service and was able to get our warranty extended. They repaired the dryer for free!

3. Overbuying in Bulk.

When shopping at warehouse clubs, it’s easy to overbuy. Now, I just stick to buying only things I will definitely use and will have room to store.

It’s easy to get carried away buying things in bulk and at a good price. But if you have so much bulk stuff in your home that you have no room to walk and no room to store anything in the fridge, is it really worth it?

4. Buying Things You Don’t Use.

This used to happen to me a lot. I would buy things that I thought I would use and end up not using them or only using them once. It’s worse when some of these things are not even opened.

Why? Sometimes when we buy stuff, we buy them impulsively without thinking… Do I have room for this? Will I really use it?

If you don’t have room to store new things, they may end up being lost and then you really won’t use them. Seeing this was a wake up call. That’s where a lot of my money went. Some of this stuff I have already sold on eBay or Craigslist.

5. Spending Money on a Hobby That You Don’t Fully Participate In.

A lot of us have a dream of taking on a particular hobby. But for some, buying the accessories for their hobby is more of a joy than participating in the hobby itself.

Take Photography for example. Lots of people want to take great pictures and capture life’s precious moments.

However, it’s a common misunderstanding that all you have to do to take great pictures is to buy a professional camera and lenses. After spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a professional camera equipment, some don’t have the passion to learn how to use it. As a result, the equipment sits around collecting dust. What an expensive paper weight!

Instead they keep focusing on buying  the next lens or accessory, because in their mind, if they get the best equipment, it will help them take better pictures. One day, they’ll figure out how to use it. When in reality, in order to take great photos it takes skill, lots of practice, and devotion to keep learning.

Don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars before you realize that you are not truly passionate about a hobby. Take a class or try out the hobby with a friend who owns the equipment. See if you have the passion, then buy the needed equipment.

For me, my dream was to sew my own clothes on a sewing machine. I had this dream since I was a kid. So in college, I took a sewing class and used the school’s sewing machine and my grandma’s machine at home.

It was fun to learn how to use a sewing machine but it was really frustrating to make a piece of clothing. It’s such an exact science with all the measurements and planning. After taking the class, I realized that I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. I realized that I was more happy buying ready made clothes than making them. And it was cheaper!

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