Everyone wants to save money, but it can be challenging. If you can stand up to the challenge and make the effort to save money, the last thing you want to do is end up costing yourself more money in the process. How does that happen? Below are 10 mistakes that give you all the pain without any of the gain (and may even cost you more). Identify these common problem areas in your own life and find out if you can improve your finances.
1. Avoiding Regular Dental Checkups
Don’t skimp on annual dental checkups to save a few pounds. Regular dentist visits can actually help prevent major issues that would end up costing a lot more down the line. You’re better off paying a small amount now than having to pay for a major oral surgery in the future.
2. Agreeing to Store Credit Card Offers
Saving 20% on your purchase may sound like a good idea, but that’s only if you pay it off in full right away (which many people don’t do). So don’t risk wrecking your credit score to save a few quid, especially when you might just end up paying it back through APR.
3. Doing Your Own Taxes
Unless you’re well aware that your taxes are going to be very basic, you’re better off hiring a professional. While online services can be somewhat helpful, they’re not always 100% accurate — which means you may be missing possible deductions and not getting the full tax refund you deserve. Working with an actual accountant might cost you up front, but it could wind up saving you much more in the end.
4. Not Saving Up for Your Pension
By not contributing to a retirement fund, you can really wind up hurting yourself down the line, especially if you work for a company that will match your contributions — it’s free money!
5. Buying Low-Quality Essential Items
Inexpensive products may be your best choice for certain purchases (store-brand groceries, discount children’s clothing, etc.), but if you’re looking to purchase a more expensive item that you use regularly, you may want to reassess. You’ll save the pounds up front, but then will pay later on with repairs. Look into warranties on appliances and online reviews to find the best quality choice for your budget.
6. Not Putting Money in the Parking Meter
No matter how quickly you think you’ll be on your errand, is bypassing the parking meter really worth risking a parking ticket of up to £120? The risk is not worth the potential (and unlikely) reward of saving a few quid.
7. BOGO Deals
Don’t write off all “buy one, get one (free)” deals, but pick and choose wisely. When you’re grocery shopping and see your favourite non-perishable product (canned goods, cereal, etc.) that you know you’ll end up purchasing again in a week or two, it’s worth the deal! However, if trainers are BOGO, you may want to reconsider. Use BOGO deals for essential items you need, not things you want.
8. Driving Metres Out of the Way for Cheap Petrol
By burning petrol to save more on petrol, you’re entering into a cycle where there is little to gain. Not only is there a good chance you’ll be wasting more money than you save, there’s an even greater chance that you’ll waste your time.
9. Avoiding Car Maintenance
Similar to regular doctor’s check-ups, your car needs regular maintenance check-ups. Car repairs can cost a hefty amount, especially when they go neglected. Take your car in regularly to make sure everything is running smoothly. Preventative maintenance can help you save loads on later on.
10. Buying Food in Bulk
The average UK household of four could save an average of £60 per month on groceries they end up throwing away — the equivalent of 11 meals.1 Don’t get caught up in the cheaper per-unit cost. Be realistic about the amount of food your family can consume and avoid purchasing too many perishable goods.
1Smithers, R. (29 January 2016). UK families blow twice as much money on food waste as they think, research shows. Retrieved 15 June 2017 from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/29/uk-families-blow-twice-as-much-money-on-food-waste-as-they-think-research-shows