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Do you find yourself often struggling for cash? Do you get near the end of the month and worry that there’s just not enough money left to see it through?
I’m going to share with you the ten things you shouldn’t be spending your money on if you want to have more cash in your pocket at the end of the month. Ten things you won’t really miss but can have a big impact on your finances if you cut them out.
1. Brand name medicines
Did you know that brand name medicines and generic medicines contain the same active ingredient?
The brand name is created by the pharmaceutical company that owns the medicine. If a company has a patent on a particular drug then they are the only ones that can market it under that name. However, once the patent expires, other companies can market the same drug under a different name. So, when you’re paying extra for a brand drug, you are literally just paying more for the name.
2. Lottery tickets
I used to spend at least £20 per month on lottery tickets. I did this for years and years. And I can tell you that I never won anything. Not ever. Not even a tenner. When I think of all of that wasted money – thousands upon thousands of pounds – that could have been invested instead or used to make mortgage overpayments, I start to feel a bit sick.
The fact that I never won a penny isn’t just down to my bad luck. Statisticians have worked out that you are actually more likely to be hit by lightning than you are to win the lottery!
So, don’t waste your money on buying lottery tickets. Use that money to work towards your financial goals instead.
3. A new mobile phone
The vast majority of people upgrade their mobile phones each year despite the fact that there is absolutley nothing wrong with their current phone. For some people, this is done purely out of habit but for others, it’s more of a social status thing. And, of course, there will be those who just love a new gadget.
But if you actually stop and think about how much that new phone is costing you, there’s a good chance you might have second thoughts about upgrading.
I used to be a sucker for a new phone but since starting our debt-free journey, I stopped doing it. I decided to keep my phone and get a SIM-only contract and this saw my bill fall from £30 per month to just £8 per month. Even better, I now actually get more data than I was getting on my more expensive plan. The money I save by doing this goes straight to mortgage overpayments.
4. Unnecessary groceries
If you shop without a shopping list you are so much more likely to spend more money and buy food that won’t be used, resulting in lots of food being wasted.
It’s such a good idea to plan out your meals for the week or month ahead. Write them out on a meal planner and then base your shopping list on this meal plan. You will save yourself so much money and will feel less stressed too.
Take a look at how I save money on my shopping bill in this article.
5. Credit card interest
Credit card interest can be insanely high. You can end up paying back more in interest than the actual amount you borrowed.
The best thing is not to use credit cards in the first place but I know that’s often easier said than done (I’m speaking from experience here). If you do have debt on credit cards, make sure that you switch to a zero-interest or low-interest credit card. By doing this, more of your money will be going towards the debt rather than interest.
When I was hugely in debt, I made sure that all of my credit cards were zero-interest and this definitely helped me to pay off the debt more quickly. Don’t be afraid to switch. Martin Lewis has a wealth of information on his website regarding this.
6. Sat navs
At around £80, sat navs certainly aren’t cheap. Save your money and use your phone instead.
The majority of adults have a smart phone and these usually come with maps and sat navs included. I’m talking Google Maps here. Just open the app, plug in your destination and press ‘go’! It’s that simple.
There are other apps you can download if you don’t like the Google Maps interface. Waze is a good one and has been recommended to me many times.
7. Mainstream cable packages
I got so fed up with my broadband provider constantly upping the price of my TV package that I just cancelled it in the end. It was topping £80 at one point.
I subscribed with Netflix instead, costing me £7.99 per month. As well as Netflix, there is Now TV, Amazon Prime, Apple TV etc. All are much cheaper than the mainstream providers, such as Sky and Virgin internet but you need to be careful that you don’t take on too many packages otherwise you’ll end up paying as much as you were.
8. Pre-chopped food
Ok, I get it. I hate chopping, slicing and grating too. I went through a phase of buying vegetables and cheeses pre-prepared so that all I had to do was open the packet. But I was wasting so much money by doing this and I stopped.
Yes, now it takes me a few extra minutes to prepare but I just pop on my favourite music to make it seem more enjoyable. For just a few extra minutes, you can save yourself a decent amount of money on your shopping bill each month.
9. Food from convenience supermarkets
Did you know that it’s much more expensive to buy groceries from a convenience supermarket than it is from the main supermarket?
For example, there is a Tesco Express on the road that I pass when collecting the kids from school. It is super convenient to pop in there to grab a few bits. However, most items are 10p or 20p more expensive than the same item in the main Tesco supermarket.
Try to get all of your shopping from the large supermarket and avoid the convenient ones. Even better, try to shop at Aldi or Lidl, which are even cheaper!
10. Bottled water
Bottled water is around 1000 times more expensive than tap water. A family of four could easily spend £80 per month supplying themselves with bottled water.
Save your money and use tap water instead. You can add a filter to your tap if you wish and it would still work out much cheaper than buying bottled water.
As well as being better for your wallet, it’s so much better for the environment as you won’t be contributing to the millions of tonnes of plastic being added to landfill.
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