Do you know how much you spend in a month? Do you know exactly where your money goes to? If you have a clear answer to these questions then you’re in the minority of people who are not trapped in the vicious cycle of overspending; of living paycheck to paycheck. Did you know that over 52% of Americans live above their means; they spend more than they earn – and 21% of this number tend to spend far above their income. It’s not just in the US, overspending is a global problem especially due to the influence of social media. People tend to buy things that they don’t really need to either please others or in the hopes that it will make them feel better. Sadly, this only leads to them racking up more debt.
Are you struggling with keeping up with your monthly expenses? Do you find yourself often borrowing money before the end of the month to put food on the table? Probably because you don’t track your expenses and you tend to spend on certain things that you don’t really need. You need to stop wasting money on certain things. We shall outline 10 common things people often waste money on to get you started. You may be shocked by some of them but you need to accept the reality to get rid of this habit.
1. Alcohol and Beverages
This is arguably the most dangerous money waster. It is often consumed in the form of beer, wine, whisky, just to name a few. It’s a terrible thing to be addicted to. In the evening, you find all bars full of people consuming alcohol in diverse forms. There are so many colloquial expressions related to alcohol in Cameroon. “Gie me one man”, “A need for charge massa”, and what have you. There are people who literally spend their days at the bar. The sad reality about this is that no matter how much the prices of beers go up, you still find people consuming them even more. There’s actually this funny soundtrack by Cameroonian artist, Maahlox, where he sings about people drinking beer no matter how much the prices go up. It’s not just limited to beer, even soft drinks are consumed in excess. Let’s not even talk about the health issue of overconsuming beverages. Not only are you wasting money, you’re also wasting your health so to speak. If only people knew how much money they actually spend on beer alone. The point here is not the stop consuming beverages completely. It’s alright to have a drink occasionally, but excess consumption is another story. This is definitely one of those items you need to cut down on.
2. Expensive dinners
How many times have you chosen to eat at a restaurant even when you have food at home? Are you too lazy to cook? Eating home cooked meals is more sustainable than eating outside. It’s healthier and cheaper.
You can’t just trust food that comes from any place. It has to be a clean restaurant and those don’t come cheap. We generally like to indulge in delicacies such as: barbecue, roasted fish, shawarma, pork, and several others. Yes, it’s alright to enjoy a plate of roasted chicken with plantains or fries once in a while. It shouldn’t be your go to meal every single day. Unless you have unlimited disposable income. You need to sacrifice the shawarma for fufu and okra, at least until you can afford to eat shawarma whenever you want. It’s all about delayed gratification; eat fufu and okra today, so that you can eat shawarma and chicken tomorrow.
3. Fast food
In a similar manner to dinners, fast foods are really not worth your money. While it’s convenient to grab them on the go, the impact on your body isn’t as short as the time it takes to get them. Fast foods shouldn’t be your regular meals as you could develop an addiction for them. According to the CDC, 84.8 million Americans consume fast foods on any given day. The health consequences are devastating. Fast foods are often high in sugar, fats, salts, calories, which when consumed in excess often lead to obesity, type 2-diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other risks – and it’s a risk to your money! Even if you can afford them, you should be concerned about your health. Invest in home cooked meals and take good care of your body.
This is particularly common with ladies. How many of your clothes do you often use? How many times have you bought clothes just for the sake of fashion; clothes that you don’t really need. That’s money down the drain. Do you know how much clothing is being wasted? According to Roadrunner, about 84% of clothes often end up in incinerators or landfills. 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills in 2018 alone according to the Environmental Protection Energy. Overspending on clothes is literally killing the environment given that textiles take north of 200 years to decompose. Not only do you need to be careful with your money, but it’s also our responsibility to protect the environment. No! You don’t need that new top, you also have so many tops that you aren’t even using. You don’t need that dress either. You must not buy a new outfit for every occasion. People tend to use shopping as a therapy for their trauma but the happiness you get from that is fleeting. You’ll only end up wondering why you bought that pair of jeans that’s occupying space in your home.
Another issue with too many clothes is that it becomes too difficult to choose what to wear. It’s typical for people to waste time just to pick an outfit for the day. So now you’re wasting money and your time which cannot be replaced. Do you really want that? There’s a reason why Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt daily. Even the late Steve Jobs usually wore the same outfit. It’s saves them a lot of time. You don’t have to stick to a single outfit but you also don’t need a lot of them. Save your time and save your money.
If people waste money on clothes, then they must do the same with shoes right! What’s an outfit without appropriate footwear? The sad part is when people misuse footwear just because of overexcitement to show others that they're following the latest trends. You see people wearing heels at home. Really!? One thing you should know is that cheap often becomes expensive. Instead of buying several low quality shoes, you can invest in a few high quality shoes that will last much longer. How many of your shoes do you use weekly? How long do they last you? How many do you end up throwing away? Like clothes, shoes are significantly wasted. Did you know that 300 million pairs of shoes get thrown away per year in the US alone? Given that it takes 30 – 40 years on average for a pair to decompose, we’re doing the environment a huge disservice.
You don’t need a new pair of shoes for your Masters’ graduation, you already got one for your Bachelors’ graduation which you’ve barely used. Girl, you really don’t need those new heels for the party, you probably have 10 pairs already at home! The footwear you should replace are those that you use daily and only when they’ve been almost worn out. Your money will be better spent elsewhere.
Okay! Before you throw stones at me, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t style your hair. You should, it’s necessary. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune on that. You also don’t also need to do your hair every so often. Not only is it time consuming but it’s costly. The main challenge with hairstyles is that they get old. Some get old faster than others. This means that you should choose styles that will last longer. Hairstyles such as box braids can last 4 – 6 weeks. I don’t know about you but that’s a good investment. Crochet hairstyles can last 2 – 4 weeks which is also reasonable. A good practice is to try to limit going to the saloon to just once a month. You could even get your hair done for free from a friend or at least at a cheaper cost – and if you’re also skilled in hairstyling, it’s possible to do each other’s hair for free. You do my hair and I do yours; it’s a win-win.
“OOOHHHH, it’s getting tensious now, it’s getting really really tensious…” You probably wish you could give me a slap at this moment right! Please hear me out here… Make up is good, but too much make-up is not so good. The beauty industry has really exploded and there are all sorts of facial beauty products that are so enticing. Foundation, cream, concealers, lip gloss, eye lashes, and much more. As usual, the enemy here is the desire to show off – comparing yourself with others. Since Cindy’s putting on the new eye lashes, I need to put them on too - even if you don’t look good with them. You buy foundation that doesn’t even match your skin tone. This may surprise you, but did you know that men are actually more attracted to naturally beauty? Too much makeup makes you look artificial and not so attractive. Your makeup should be minimal, just enough to make your face pop out. You don’t need to have 5 different foundations! There are 17 essentials that you need which you can invest in little by little.
8. Jewelries and Watches
Oh, don’t even get me started on this one! Chains, earrings, watches, bracelets, you name it. It’s always about measuring up to societal standards. We’ve been influenced by all these celebrities and their bling and we try to imitate them. What are you trying to prove to the world? You can’t win at the game of keeping up with the Jones. Don’t get into debt just because you want to wear a fancy chain. Some of these jewelries are even fake; gold or diamond plated. Was it worth the money if it will get rusted very soon?
People with lower incomes tend to spend more on jewelry. On average, each household in the US spends $647 on jewelry and watches according to edhangolan.com. Don’t get me wrong, a decent amount of jewelry is nice to spice up your outfits. You don’t need to have 5 different watches to match 5 different outfits! That’s just wasteful. Invest in a single high-quality watch that blends nicely with all your outfits.
9. Gym Memberships
You must be wondering why this is listed here. This is because people tend to pay for gym memberships without actually going to the gym for the most part. According to exercise.com, about 67% of gym memberships never get used. Businesses in the fitness sector actually take advantage of this fact to grow their businesses. Can you imagine that? That’s because most people lack the discipline to commit to a workout routine. The truth is that you don’t necessarily need a gym membership to stay healthy. It’s possible to exercise at home; there are good home workouts that you can do daily including pushups, squats, pullups, planks, burpees, lunges amongst others. You can even go running. Invest in a gym membership only if you’ll take full advantage of it. If not then don’t waste your money.
“Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health”… Despite this warning present on all packs, it’s really mind-blowing to know that there are 1.3 billion tobacco users in the world according to Action on Smoking and Health. Did you know that every 4.5 seconds, someone dies from a tobacco related illness? Or that over 20% of deaths in the US are due to tobacco? What is even worse is that consumption keeps increasing over time. In fact, in 2014 the whole tobacco industry grossed about $740 billion in revenue. This is unbelievable. Why would someone keep buying something that is literally killing them? It is sad to see teenagers become smokers. What a waste of money. It’s really not worth it.
That wraps up our list of the 10 items you should stop wasting money on. There’s a high chance that you’re a victim of at least one of them. How many of these have you been wasting money on? What do you think about this list? Are there other money wasters that we haven’t mentioned? Please share in the comments. We hope you were enriched by this. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our blog. Thank you for reading and until next time, BESTech remains your BEST bet.