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10 Stupid Ways Most People Waste Money

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I consider myself to be one of the cheapest people on the planet.

I wear socks until they are threadbare and undies until the elastic is completely shot. Wasting money physically hurts me. But even the cheapest people on the planet have moments of stark stupidity. And sometimes that stupidity costs so much money. 😉  

Here are the ten ways most Americans and I waste so much money.

10 Stupid Ways I Waste So Much Money

1. Not Measuring Laundry Detergent

I do a lot of laundry. Like, a whollllee lot.

All too often, I go downstairs to find the laundry pile leaning like the Tower of Pisa. I also don’t have a lot of time. So because I’m lazy, and to save time, I end up just dumping laundry detergent into the washer willy nilly — no measuring. For some reason, I’ve told myself that I’m the one really special person on the planet that can accurately eyeball the amount of laundry detergent that needs to go into each load.

But sadly, I’m not. That’s just my inflated ego talking, trying to justify being super duper lazy.

I don’t know how much laundry detergent I’ve wasted over the years by “eyeballing,” but I’m sure it’s probably a lot. And laundry detergent is expensive, ya’ll. #iwastesomuchmoney

Especially if you buy the fancy stuff like Tide, I don’t buy Tide (because I’d like to retire someday), but even the “cheap” laundry detergent is expensive.

Don’t be like me — measure your detergent, folks.

Need more convincing?

The Big “Detergent” complex wants to you waste detergent. According to Bloomberg, energy and water-efficient washers have to lead to declining detergent sales. Have you noticed that the laundry detergent cap is sooo much large than what is required? Or that the fill line is sooo impossibly hard to read?

According to Consumer Affairs, detergent “big brother,” trying to get you to use too much detergent. Depending on how dirty your clothes are, you may only need half of the recommended amount to clean your clothes thoroughly. 

According to Procter & Gamble Co., the average American family washes about 300 – 390 loads of laundry per year, or about 6-7.5 loads per week.

At our local Walmart, a bottle of Tide that’s good for 96 loads costs $17.94 or 18.6 cents a load. Assuming we do 390 loads (and probably more) of laundry a year, we’re spending $72.54 a year assuming we are not over pouring. Cutting back our usage 50% could free up 36 dollars a year, it won’t make you rich, but it beats literally “pouring money” down the drain. 

2. Throwing Away Bottles/Tubes Without Getting the Last Bit of Product Out

You know what I’m talking about, right? Those squeeze tubes of lotion that no amount of squeezing will get that last little bit out of. Or those bottles of cleaning spray that never have an internal sprayer tube long enough to get the last few drops out of the bottom of the container.

Doesn’t that just fry your egg? There has to be a better design to allow you to use 100% of a product that you paid good money for. I think these manufacturers do it on purpose because they know suckers like me exist in the world.

Yep, suckers like me who will throw the bottle of shampoo in the trash rather than try to squeeze that slippery little bastard to death in the middle of my shower. That’s the old me, though. Nowadays, I cut, rip, squeeze, unscrew, and shake as much as I need to get every last drop out of those bottles. Sucker no more.

3. Throwing Away Leftover Food

My husband and I tend to forget leftovers are in the refrigerator. I also like to make lots of different meals during the week because I get sick of eating the same food every day. Combined, these two things make for a high risk of food waste because I either don’t feel like eating it, or I forget it even exists.

This is something that I’m still trying to improve upon. We throw away way too much food. I’m definitely a food lover (Food Network is my jam), so it’s hard for me just to view food as a fuel source and eat whatever is in the fridge if I don’t actually want to eat it. Our grocery bill is way outrageous right now, so I’m going to have to work harder on this. It’s just food, right?

Need more convincing? 

According to, Save The Food, an average family of four tosses out over 1500 dollars of food a year. Wow! 

4. Using Too Many Paper Towels

This is more of a convenience thing. Also a laziness thing, which seems to be a recurring theme in this list.

Lately, I have started grabbing an actual towel in the morning and using it to clean up messes throughout the day. This is the alternative to using a new paper towel each time one of my kids spills milk, water, or whatever else he may be eating/drinking at the time. It all seems to end up on the floor eventually.

Using a towel has worked out well for me because it cleans and absorbs a lot better than some flimsy piece of a dead tree. I’m not sure why doing this didn’t occur to me sooner. Habit, I guess? (Saves money and the environment)

Need more convincing? 

In a report by the Atlantic, the U.S dominates the globe in paper towel consumption, with the U.S spending nearly 6 billion on paper towels in 2017. The average family uses two rolls of paper towels a week. A 24 pack of Bounty at Walmart is $19.88 or 82.8 cents a roll. Ditching paper towels all could save nearly $100 a year.  Not to mention, have a positive impact on the environment. 

5. Forgetting to Return Items That Don’t Fit/Work

Here’s a perfect example of this. I bought a pair of shorts at Old Navy a while back that I took home, tried on, and didn’t like it. They had these weird netted undies in them that were just NOT going to work. I don’t need a net all up in my business while I’m trying to lift weights or jog or whathaveyou. No thanks!

Instead of returning them to Old Navy immediately, as I should have, I plopped them in the back seat of my car. It may as well be a Poorly Constructed Shorts graveyard back there because I promptly forgot about them. Months later, when I found them again and tried to return them, they would only refund me for the last known price of the item (I didn’t have the receipt), which was something like 99 cents.

Um, ‘scuse me? 99 cents? It cost me more in gas money to GET HERE than you are going to refund me for these shorts.

So anyway, I ended up selling them on eBay for a lot less than I paid for them. Waste of money. Completely my fault.

According to an NPR/Marist poll, 91 percent of American online shoppers said they “only rarely” or “never” return things they buy online. Who knows how much unwanted-merchandise is sitting in the backseats of cars across American? 😉

6. Failing to Compare Prices

This mostly happens at the grocery store, because I don’t shop a lot otherwise. Sometimes, when I am at the store, I just grab the first thing I see off the shelf, which is usually the generic brand. However, there’s been times where I’ve gone back to look, and the name brand is actually CHEAPER than the generic due to a sale. I really wonder how many times I have done this and not noticed. Probably a lot.

Especially at a grocery store where everything is grouped in one spot, price comparison takes seconds literally. Why wasn’t I doing it? Who knows. Who knows why I do anything sometimes? Not me.

Need More Convincing?

More than one in three Americans haven’t compared costs or checked the price of their [auto] policy in at least three years, according to NerdWallet

By not comparison shopping for insurance, Americans are overpaying nearly 400 dollars a year. Ouch! Auto insurance is a pretty big expense too, imagine how much you might be wasting not comparison shopping other services and products. 

7. Buying Things, I’ll Never Use

I have really high hopes for myself sometimes. I really do. Especially when it comes to my health and all the fantastic things I’m going to do to improve it.

One of the amazing things that I like to do is hit up the grocery store to buy all these “superfoods” (read: super expensive foods) like quinoa, spinach, flax seeds, and organic protein powder. Then I come up with all these recipes on the way home from the store like flax protein smoothies and quinoa and spinach stir-fry.

After that, I get back to my house, carry all my groceries inside, put them in their designated cabinet spots, marvel at how healthy I’m going to be…and never, ever look at them again.

Until they are expired, that is. That’s when I watch them pile up in the garbage can as I curse myself for doing this to myself and my bank account for the bajillionth time. You’d think I’d learn. You’d really think I’d learn.

8. Buying Expensive Body Wash/Lotions/Soaps

Now, if I were a person who had allergies or skin that dries up like the Sahara without the use of certain products, I could justify a high expenditure in this category of the household budget. Fortunately for me, I am not.

So it’s really kind of silly of me when I’m buying a $15 bottle of body wash just because it “smells pretty” or “makes nice bubbles.” All I actually need to get clean is a good ol’ bar of Dial soap, which is a fraction of the cost of those fancy washes. It may not smell as nice, but it gets the job done.

I do still buy these things from time to time, but only when I have a gift card and the things I want are on sale. I find that it makes using these products all the more luxurious and I really feel like I’m getting pampered — when all I’m doing is showering.

9. Gym Memberships/Personal Training

I’m not knocking a gym membership. I loved going to the gym back when I belonged to one, and I know I worked out a lot harder there than I do at home. However, when you have no furniture in your apartment, no microwave, and barely enough money to eat — you shouldn’t have a gym membership. Or a personal training package. But I did.

When I was in college, and for a few years after, I was  B-R-O-K-E. But I also wanted to get in shape. I thought that the extreme sacrifice to pay for the gym and training package, along with motivation from an outside source (the trainer) would finally get me into the best shape of my life.

As it turns out, motivation comes from within (who knew?), and all I ended up with was a fat ass and a fine for canceling the training package early. I started jogging outside for free instead and lost more weight than I ever did working out with the trainer. Go figure. (learn how to stick with your resolutions)

A study by Finder.com found that Americans spend nearly 1.8 billion dollars a year on unused gym memberships. Over 6% of the people polled never used their memberships and over 5% surveyed used their membership less than once a month. 

10. Trying to Keep Up With Others

“Keeping up with the Joneses,” as they say. Except the Joneses were actually a group of spoiled rich kids that I met at a bar in college and befriended for a very short period before I realized that there was no way I was ever going to be able to hang with these people.

I spent a few months going out to bars with expensive cover charges to buy drinks that I couldn’t afford because that’s what this particular set of Joneses was doing. I bought shots, drank beers, ate expensive sushi, and just generally lived outside of my means–all for the sake of fitting in. It got so bad that one night I actually had to walk home from the bars in the middle of the night (about a 1-2 mile walk) in high heels and a dress because I couldn’t afford the taxi ride home.

My only excuse for this whole debacle is that I was living in a big city 3 hours from my hometown and had virtually no friends. I was desperate to find people to hang out with, and I was desperate for those people not to find out that I was barely paying my bills. They were either older and/or more well off than I was, and I simply could not keep up with their lifestyle. (See, what I learned from being broke)

Eventually, I had a falling out with one of the group members, and the stress of keeping up the ruse became too much for me. I slowly phased myself out of the group. At the time, I was pretty bummed about it because I had to go back to having barely any friends. But looking back, I was certainly better off. I’m not sure why I wanted to hang out with a bunch of 35-year-olds who were still spending all their time in college bars, anyway.

Conclusion

Clearly, I’ve done a lot of dumb things that have cost me money. I am absolutely sure that this list doesn’t even cover half of the way I so waste a lot of money, but it’s a good start for now.

The good thing is, once you realize you are doing dumb things, you can stop doing them. A little self-awareness goes a long way with your checkbook.

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The post 10 Stupid Ways Most People Waste Money appeared first on Your Money Geek.



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How to Spend Your Coronavirus Relief Check: 4 Smart Options

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If you make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if you’re married), coronavirus relief money is coming your way. President Trump signed the CARES Act into law on March 27, which includes stimulus checks for millions of Americans.

The maximum amount you can receive is $1,200 per adult (or $2,400 for married couples) plus $500 per child under age 17. Individuals making over $75,000 or couples making over $150,000 will see their check phased out by 5 cents for every dollar they earn over those amounts.

It could be several weeks — possibly over a month — before you receive your stimulus money, but now’s a good time to start planning how you’ll use that cash so you make the best of it.

Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, but here are four key things to consider when deciding how to spend your coronavirus relief check.

Cover Your Needs First

If there were ever a time to prioritize needs over wants, this is it. This is especially important if you’ve lost income due to layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours or slow business. Your stimulus money should go toward making sure you have a roof over your head and food on the table.

Create a bare-bones budget and total up the cost of your absolute essential expenses. Then look at how much money you have in your checking and savings accounts — in addition to your pending stimulus check — to get a good picture of how long your money will stretch.

However, don’t wait until you’re in dire financial straits to seek assistance with your basic needs.

“Reach out now if you can foresee problems [paying bills],” said Chris Preston, vice president of corporate relations at United Way Worldwide.

Increase Your Savings

Let’s say you’re still working and bringing in enough money to cover your essential needs. Look to using your stimulus check to bolster your emergency fund.

No one can predict how long this pandemic will last. Less than a month of shelter-at-home advisories has forced industries to change how they do business, and many have all but shut down. The job you have today may not be guaranteed if this crisis continues.

While the typical advice is to have at least three months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, you might want to bump that to at least six months. Your emergency fund should help you feel financially secure.

Separate your emergency savings from your spending money. A high-yield savings account will earn interest while your money’s sitting in the bank.

Think About Your Future

If your needs are being covered and you have a robust emergency fund, consider spending the money you’ll get from the stimulus bill to set yourself up for a better financial future. 

Taking a certification course could position you for a promotion or new job. Alternatively, you could use the money as seed capital to pursue an entrepreneurial path.

Making a dent in your debt or paying a large bill upfront rather than over time could help you save money in the long run.

You also might want to think about using your stimulus money to cover upfront expenses that’ll help you save money over time. That could mean buying gardening supplies so you can grow your own produce and cut costs on groceries. Or maybe you want to buy reusable products like cloth diapers or a bidet attachment so you can stop buying throw-away goods. 

Help Others

If you’re in a financially stable situation with a healthy emergency fund, another good use of your stimulus money could be to help others.

Use the extra cash to help a family member or friend in need or donate to a reputable charity. Or you could spend your money at local businesses and restaurants — whether that’s through online orders or purchasing gift cards for future in-person visits.

You don’t have to have a financial surplus, however, to find ways to help others. Donating blood, going grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor or troubleshooting teleworking tech for a friend are all ways you can be of service without spending money.

Feeling overwhelmed? Create a budget that works for you with our budgeting bootcamp!

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.



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Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Forgivable SBA Loans For 2.5x Monthly Payroll

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If you are a small business impacted by COVID-19, including self-employed and independent contractors, you have hopefully been following the developments of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL) being rolled out by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Treasury. Details are still being ironed out, but PPP could cover up to 2.5 months of your payroll costs. Here are some general highlights from the Treasury PPP overview PDF along with some details from the Bank of America PPP application:

Loan Amount = 2.5 times Average Monthly Payroll. “The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.” In the Bank of America PPP application, two possible options given were to use 2019 payroll or 2019 1099-MISC totals, and then multiple the average monthly payroll by 2.5. So if you averaged $6,000 per month, you can ask for a loan for $15,000. Income over $100,000 annually per employee isn’t covered. Here are some details:

For purposes of calculating “Average Monthly Payroll”, most Applicants will use the average monthly payroll for 2019, excluding costs over $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. For seasonal businesses, the Applicant may elect to instead use average monthly payroll for the time period between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019, excluding costs over $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. For new businesses, average monthly payroll may be calculated using the time period from January 1, 2020 to February 29, 2020, excluding costs over $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.

Fully Forgiven. “Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.”

In my Bank of America, the details are given that it is a 2-year loan at fixed 1% interest. As noted, payments are deferred for the first 6 months. If you use the money in an eligible manner (see below), it is fully forgiven and not treated as taxable income.

Must Keep Employees on the Payroll—or Rehire Quickly. “Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.” In other words, this is supposed to encourage companies to keep employees and is separate from unemployment insurance.

All Small Businesses Eligible. “Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.”

Businesses are limited to one PPP loan. Each loan will be registered under a Taxpayer Identification Number at the Small Business Administration (SBA) to prevent multiple loans to the same entity. Owners with more than one business may apply for a separate loan for each entity.

Application Dates and Details. “Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap. […] You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.”

While technically you can apply at any SBA 7(a) lender, as of 4/5 many of them don’t even have any formal application process at all! Bank of America started accepting applications early, but first required both an existing BofA business checking relationship AND a BofA loan relationship as of 2/15/20. They later relaxed the rules to require at least an existing BofA business checking relationship as of 2/15/20. Most banks are limiting the applications to existing clients:

In addition, the US Treasury now has a paper application that you can submit to any eligible lender. I have no idea what will be the best. Small local bank? Mega bank? I would assume that if you have an existing relationship with a bank, they would be able to just deposit the money into your primary business account. But I’ve learned to stop making assumptions in 2020!

The funds are supposed to go out first come, first served, although they may expand the amount available. I’m sure that is not helping the chaos. No documentation was required upfront for BofA, but I would get your payroll documentation ready to submit as soon as they ask for it.



“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Forgivable SBA Loans For 2.5x Monthly Payroll from My Money Blog.


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HDFC All Miles Credit Card Review

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HDFC All Miles Credit Card Rating
Reward Points                      ★★★              
Travel Benefits                     ★★
Annual Fee                           ★★
Offers & Discounts              ★★
 Additional Benefits            ★★★
Paisabazaar’s Rating           ★★★

HDFC All Miles Credit Card lets you earn reward points on every purchase you make. The accumulated points can then be converted to air miles, which can then be used to book flight tickets in the future. This card accelerates reward earning rate thereby facilitating redemption of rewards for air miles. If you are a frequent traveller, this card can be the right choice for you. Hence to make the decision a lot easier for you, we have given a detailed review of the card that will help to decide if this card suits your needs or not.

Key Highlights of HDFC All Miles Credit Card

  • Get 3 reward points for every Rs.150 spend
  • Earn 2X reward points on hotel bookings, mobile recharge and shopping
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver on all fuel transactions
  • Avail up to 50 days interest-free period
  • Get revolving credit at a nominal interest rate
  • Avail zero liability on lost card
  • Get you annual fee waived off by spending Rs.15,000 within the first 90 days
  • Accidental death insurance cover of up to Rs.50 lakh

 

Earn Reward Points on every transaction

Save as you travel, shop, dine and more with the HDFC All Miles Credit Card. Here’s what you get with this card-

●3 reward points for every Rs.150 you spend
●2X reward points on hotel bookings, mobile recharge, shopping etc
●Double reward points on transactions made via All Miles website

All the eligible retail transactions let you earn reward points on every purchase made. In this way, you can surely earn rewards at a faster pace. All the accumulated points can then be redeemed and further converted to air miles for future bookings. It can be said that the card is indeed offering decent reward points when compared to other similar cards.

Read more about HDFC Bank Credit Card Reward Points

Fuel Benefits

With this card you can get 1% fuel surcharge waived off on all fuel transactions. For this-

  • Minimum transaction of Rs.400 is required
  • You can get a maximum cashback of Rs.500 per statement cycle

A majority of cards nowadays offer benefits of fuel surcharge waiver. However if you are exclusively looking for fuel benefits, you should look for other cards that prioritise fuel discounts.

Get your Annual Fee waived off

Just by spending Rs.15,000 within the first 90 days of your card opening, you can get your 1st year’s annual fee waived off. You have the option to renew your membership for free just by spending Rs.1 lakh in a year. This is one of the great benefits that this card provides you with.

Enjoy 50 days of interest-free credit

 With this card you can enjoy 50 days of interest-free credit period. However interest rate of 3.49% will be charged on any outstanding amount carried beyond the bill due date.

Avail zero lost card liability facility

If your card is missing or has been stolen, you need to immediately contact your bank’s customer care for card blocking. Once you report the issue, you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized or fraudulent transactions made using your card.

Is Rs.1000 Annual Fee Justified? 

Well it is true to say that if you compare the benefits that the card offers to other similar cards having the same annual fee, this card surely lacks behind. The reward points offered are good but fails to justify the Rs.1000 annual fee. However, for your reference we have listed below the other fees and charges related to this card.

Primary Features Fees / Charges
Annual Fee Rs.1000
Interest Rate 3.49% per month (41.88% p.a.)
Rewards redemption fee Rs.99 per request
Cash advance fee Rs.2.5% of the amount withdrawn subject to a minimum of Rs.500
Late Payment Charges Less than Rs.100: Nil

Rs.100 to Rs.500: 100

Rs.501 to Rs.5,000: Rs.500

Rs.5,001 to Rs.10,000: Rs.600

Rs.10,001 to Rs.25,000: Rs.800

Greater than Rs.25,000: Rs.950

Minimum repayment amount 5% of the outstanding balance or Rs.200, whichever is higher
Reissue of Credit Card Rs.100

Should you go for this card?

The first question that will come to your mind will be whether you should or should not opt for this card. Hence for your convenience, we have laid down certain points that might help you decide whether this card is the best choice for you. The card is best for you if-

  • You frequently book air tickets online
  • You are more inclined towards earning reward points than availing cashback
  • You are not looking for any category specific discount
  • You are not interested in putting major expenses on your card
  • You are not looking for any welcome bonuses

If the above listed points match your requirements, undoubtedly this card is best for you. If the card fails to match your needs, you can look for other similar rewards credit cards with more benefits and comparatively lower annual fee like American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Rewards Domestic and Standard Chartered Landmark Rewards

Limitations of HDFC All Miles Credit Card 

Although the card provides certain benefits to you in the form of reward points and air miles, there are certain drawbacks attached to it. Some of the limitations of this card are-

  1. The reward points are not that great as compared to other HDFC Credit Cards.
  2. The annual fee is not justified in terms of what all benefits the card provides.
  3. There are no discounts on entertainment, shopping or movies.
  4. If you are a shopaholic, this card is definitely not the one for you.
  5. The card does not offer any milestone reward.
  6. No lounge access is provided by the card.
  7. It does not provide any exclusive discount on air ticket bookings.

 

Bottom Line

Overall, this card is surely not amongst the best credit cards in the market. Although the card offers decent reward points, it still fails to justify the Rs.1000 annual fee. The card does fall behind to provide any category specific discount to you, however the air miles facility is an added advantage. You can surely go for this card if you are a frequent flyer however there are many cards that comparatively provide more benefits that too at the same annual fee.

The post HDFC All Miles Credit Card Review appeared first on Compare & Apply Loans & Credit Cards in India- Paisabazaar.com.



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