The truth is, every day there are a lot of things you’re paying too much for. You know, when you’re buying some designer shoes or luxury trips, that’s going to set you back big bucks. But the truth is, there’s a lot every day you’re unintentionally paying too much for. Here’s how to get whatever you need and to keep more cash in your wallet.
Brand name foods
The patents on many brand name food products have expired decades ago, and generic brands will copy their ingredients very closely. “Why pay $4.99 for a box of Cheerios when you can buy the store brand of $1.99?” says Richard Best, a writer for dontpayfull.com. “You can find similar savings on just about any food product, including dairy products, lunch meats, snacks, condiments, coffee, and bread.”
A new car
If you buy a brand-new car, it drops in value thousands of dollars the minute you drive it off the lot. “By buying a low mileage, late-model used car, you pocket that savings and wind up with a car with just as long of a road life—assuming it was well-maintained,” says Best. Most pre-owned models are sold as “certified,” offering the same manufacturer’s warranty as new models.
Managed mutual funds
“Retail investors pay through the nose for managed mutual funds, up to 2.5 percent, and don’t get anything close to that much value in return. These fees compound over the years and put a massive damper on your portfolio’s return,” says Anjali Pradhan, a chartered financial analyst with Dahlia, a company that helps women build wealth. Index Funds that invest in all stocks in the index, i.e. the Standard & Poor’s Index, with their low fees, are a better choice.
Car rental insurance
It’s all too easy to get ripped off when you rent a car — starting with extra insurance, for starters. “We are often pressured to buy double insurance when we book,” says Pradhan. If you pay with your credit card, the rental car insurance can be provided automatically, usually for free. Before you book, check with your credit card provider.
Most consumers pay more than they should for their coverage. Why? In certain cases, this is due to insurance agents who add needless riders to the policy. A good example of this would be the “waiver of premium rider,” a rider that pays your policy’s premium in case you become disabled. On the surface, this isn’t a negative thing, but it can add more than 40% to your monthly payment.
“What consumers fail to realize is that many times, they’re double insuring themselves as many people have disability benefits through their employer that provides income to pay for insurance premiums,” says Sam Price, owner of Assurance Financial Solutions.
Stop purchasing supplements from health stores or grocery stores where you’re likely to pay a markup, and instead choose to purchase your favorite products for less online from retailers like The Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, and Healthy Directions. Before you click “checkout” search for product and website promotional offers, as you can almost always score vitamin deals, says Jill Caponera, a money-saving expert for Promocodes.com.
Rather than paying a premium to buy contact lenses from the eye doctor, try browsing and purchasing online retailers such as ContactsDirect and LensDirect. Groupon ‘s Discount Site most often includes contact lens offers.
Financial advisor fees
Pradhan claims there are “secret fees” that come in the form of kickbacks and commissions for the selling of expensive financial products. “Some mutual funds charge fees when you invest and when you withdraw.” Be careful to read the fine print on any investment you make to prevent costly surprises.
Forget about the trendy, pricey brews from the luxury coffee shops. “Make your own in a good old-fashioned drip pot or invest in an espresso machine,” says Kelly Lewis, a financial advisor with John G. Ullman & Associates.
Besides the fact that those plastic bottles are a waste of money, they’re bad for the environment too. “Buy a filter for your faucet or your refrigerator,” says Lewis.
Cell phone plans
WiFi is so popular nowadays, your data usage may be way down. Check in with your cell phone carrier on a regular basis to see if you’re charged for data you ‘re not using, says Lewis.
Credit card interest
Most people may not pay attention to how their average percentage rate (APR) fluctuates over time. “Paying your balance in full by the due date will ensure you stay interest-free,” says Jennifer McDermott, a personal finance expert for Finder.com. Can’t do that? “It also pays to shop around for credit cards regularly to ensure you’re getting the best deal,” she says.
CardRatings.com is a perfect first stop to find the best credit card rates. Also, if you move your balance to a lower-rate card, it will potentially lower your monthly costs and save you money on finance charges.
Although some of the advantages of food delivery that outweigh the savings of home-made food, delivery fees and tips increase the price significantly, particularly if you only buy for yourself. “If you must order in, pick restaurants close to home and either walk or drive the short distance instead,” says McDermott.
Buying a greeting card at the store can cost you more than $5, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you have a lot of friends and a big family, it adds up quickly. There are plenty of cost-effective ways to stop overpaying for cards.
“The easiest and most heartfelt way is to make the card yourself. Not only will it save you money, but it will also show that you put more effort into creating the card for the individual,” says Jacob Dayan, CEO and co-founder of CommunityTax.com. He also recommends sending free e-cards.