It’s human nature to buy dumb stuff. (Socrates said that, right?) But if you’re perennially broke, maybe you’re buying too much dumb stuff. Here are some downright silly expenditures you need to drop, pronto.
1. Designer Baby Clothes
Couture is just fine for the Kimyes of the world, but babies are cute without sporting the latest line from Burberry or Marc Jacobs. Target shows off those chubby knees just fine and you won’t feel like a chump when that onesie is a one and done.
2. Luxury SUVs
An SUV is supposed to get dirty, be sporty, be rugged. Or, at least, haul around all that stuff you bought at Costco. The car of the everyman should not cost upwards of $70K with features crafted by “artisans.” If you must, get a regular SUV, preferably one with good gas mileage.
3. Lotto Tickets
Next time you’re tempted to buy these, wait by the counter at your local convenience store. Watch as Lotto regulars stop in to pick up their scratchers and weekly pick cards. Then ask those regulars how often they’ve won big. See what I’m getting at?
4. Bulk Purchases on Perishables
Unless you’ll use 3 tubs of sour cream before the expiration date (and maybe you’re going big on Taco Tuesday this week; it’s cool), you’d be best off buying just one.
5. Gym Memberships
It’s one thing if you use it. If you don’t, why not? Would you be better off working out in a park, in your backyard or to a $10 workout DVD? Throwing money at a never-visited gym means the only thing getting a workout is your credit card. (And the sense of hidden shame.)
6. Storage Units
Storage units say something about a person: That you have too much stuff. Really, what’s in your storage unit? Unless you’re temporarily living in a smaller place, you probably don’t need whatever you’ll find in your storage unit.
7. Seductive New Hobbies
Ever scrapbook? Is there a box of pricey paper, scissors with wacky blades, and stickers still at the bottom of your closet? Or maybe you caught cooking bug from a Chopped marathon. That doesn’t mean you immediately need a pantry stocked with exotic foodstuff and a thousand dollar set of knives. Invest slowly and make sure your new hobby sticks.
8. Fast Fashion
Sometimes, that Forever 21 buy is worth it–like if you’re testing out the season’s crop-top trend. (Good on you: I like to eat my sandwiches without fear.) But if you want a staple that’ll last a lifetime–your go-to black blazer, best-seated work pants, anything you want to deem a “classic,” really–spend a little extra money on quality that’ll last a few years. Otherwise, you’ll end up buying the same item when the cheapo gives way.
9. Cable TV
This is a tough one. On one hand, not seeing the finale of Breaking Bad when it’s on might feel like a death in the family. On the other, if you’re already backlogged on your DVR, why are you paying for what’s essentially another item on your to-do list? A streaming service like Netflix can save you hundreds. Plus: Isn’t binge-watching more fun?
Do the math whenever you’re tempted by a “deal.” Think Groupon… Sure, the half-off deal from that cool boutique hotel in your town is sounds awesome (and you could really use a vacation), but if you’re actively trying to save money, do you really need to spend the weekend in an expensive hotel in the same county you live in? Then you factor in dinners, drinks, tips, maybe a massage–you get the idea. That deal will trigger crazy spending, just because it was masked with the old “half-off” sticker.
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