Published On: Thu, Mar 16th, 2017

Stop Throwing Your Money Down The Drain!

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It’s a pretty direct title isn’t it?  A bold assumption you may say.  However the chances are, unless you are a rigid stickler for detail, you are letting hundreds of pounds trickle away from you every year, without even noticing.

One of the greatest things about modern technology is the simplicity of paying bills via standing order, direct debit or instant transfer.  We can know search out the best deal, sign up with our provider and then sit back and relax as our payments are made every month.  We also have lovely rolling contracts which save us from filling out loads of paperwork every month, just to get the same service we were receiving the previous year.

However this also means many of us are taking our eye of the ball when it comes to the pennies.

One of the biggest ways we waste our money is signing up to something and then not using it.  We bumble through our weeks thinking “Oh, I’ll need that next week” when in reality we are just throwing money at the wind.  A great example of this is the gym membership. Come january there are a whole host of incentives for signing up to a gym membership.  If you pay monthly you can save money on using the gym on a pay as you go basis.  The trouble is, it only works if you actually go and currently 67% of memberships aren’t used! There was great discussion about this on mumsnet a few months ago, where one woman announced she had just saved herself $500 per year.  Other members asked how this was possible and she admitted to cancelling a gym membership she hadn’t used for 3 years.  That’s like withdrawing $1500 from your account, walking past a hungry homeless person on the street and throwing it in the sea.  

It isn’t just gym memberships though.  We are often led to believe we need certain services when the reality is we truly don’t.  However marketing campaigns are now thrown at us everywhere we look.  Our computers are full of emails from companies selling us the latest must have item, there are even shopping channels on the TV convincing us we should by certain diet formulas or fitness equipment because it will make us shed pounds.  How many homes do you think have a lateral thigh trainer stuffed in the corner of their garage? More than you could bear to think about.

Car insurance is one of the few areas where drivers are rewarded for loyalty these days.  There are loads of great sites designed for comparing car insurance deals and once you have signed up to the one that suits you you start to improve your next quote by building on your no claims discount.  Essentially if you use their cover and don’t claim, you will have a reduced premium the following year.  You can even protect your NCD with most companies so you don’t lose it if you get stuck in a 50/50 insurance battle.  

Life insurance is a pretty poor area when it comes to value for money for it’s loyal customers.  It appears that so many of these organisations are focussed on bringing in new consumers that they have thrown all the budget at that.  It can even feel like you are shouldering the losses on any incentive deals they have for new clients.  Don’t just sit on a product that fits you one year.  Sit down when your renewal is coming up and arm yourself with quotes from the other providers.  You need to ensure you are getting the same level of cover so it could be useful to have a financial advisor take a look at your options.  You may find that as a new customer you get a good discount from your first year on the policy.  Switching service provider shouldn’t cost you anything providing you aren’t in a long contract.  If you like who you are with now, you could show them the quotes you have received elsewhere and give them the chance to crunch the numbers a little.

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Talking of contracts, it is likely you are sitting in a mobile phone contract.  These range from 1 to 2 years and normally include a mobile phone within the package.  This does mean that to get out of the contract you have to pay off the remainder of your term, however if you signed to a good deal initially, it probably isn’t going to hurt sticking it out.  Just remember, before you take the offer of that shiny new upgrade, you might be better off switching supplier.  You will still have the option to take the latest mobile device, you just might save yourself a few dollars every month too.  

The supermarket is another place we throw money away.  Whilst there are often great deals to be found, these are placed in areas to help encourage you to impulse buy.  You may save a dollar buying 14 boxes of washing powder, but do you really need to have your precious money sitting in laundry detergent.  Could it serve you better somewhere else.

Every year households throw so much wasted product away.  From vegetables that are going rotten to items past their sell by date.  This is because consumers are lead to believe buying discounted stock is a really great idea.  It is, in moderation.  However you need to stick to products which your family will consume.  Instead of throwing away a bunch of brown bananas.  Get creative and make a delicious banana loaf.  This tastes better when the banana is overripe and is a delicious way to ensure you aren’t wasting perfectly good food.

Value for money is the most important lesson to learn in life.  Keep an eye on your finances, understand what offers are out there and be honest with yourself about the products you really need.  

Check your bank statements regularly and get to grips with every payment that comes out.  You will be amazed how much money you can save over a year.