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3 Surprising Ways You Are Wasting Time and Money

This week’s article is about preventing senseless waste in your finances. Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about fixing your utility bills as I’ve been speaking about for months. We all know we need to track our budgets, turn down the thermostat and buy energy-efficient devices. But what about the little things? Things that might slip your mind but add up over time?

For example, when you go on holiday, you have to have everything in 100 millilitre containers in order to take them as hand carry on the plane. When I was traveling recently, I wanted to bring away some toothpaste and I didn’t check quite how much a regular tube of toothpaste was. I simply went and bought two of those tiny toothpaste tubes for travel. So, I spent a pound on this tiny toothpaste when actually a regular tube of my toothpaste was 100 millilitres and it only cost one pound. I realised I had paid a pound for a tiny one I didn’t even need!

So, where are you being sucked into buying stuff you don’t need? In what ways are you thinking that you need to buy the tiny versions to go on the plane, or that you need to try this new product or a very classic one? In looking at buy one get one free offer; do you need that much? Will you use that much or will the free one end up in the bin, in which case it’s complete waste. When you look at the offers that are off at the end of aisles where they’re saying, “Special Offer!” are they really less expensive, more valuable or special than what’s down the middle of the aisle?

Look at where you are wasting money and ask yourself “who’s in control now? Is it me or is it marketers and retailers?” If you are looking at offers and you’re making the decision that “actually, yes, that is something I want, I do want four tins of soup, and it’s worth buying four tins of soup at the same time,” you’ve made that conscious decision, you’ve done the maths, you’re aware that you’ll use it, then that’s absolutely fine. It’s when you get suckered into stuff that you need to be aware of it. That is the very clever trick of marketing. A good marketeer will make you buy something without you even realizing you’ve spent your money or your time in that purchase.

And that brings us into another example of wasting money where you could find these cost savings: comparing prices. This is one way you can spend ages comparing prices and actually waste time; remember, your time is more valuable. I’m not saying go to Tesco’s, look at the price of ketchup, then go to another store, look at the price of ketchup, and then give up on Heinz altogether and start comparing each and every brand. I’m not suggesting things that will take your time, but I’m talking about larger purchases that will have a lasting impact.

My husband Bob will spend days comparing prices and thoroughly research the entire market, and I say to him all the time, “but that’s your time factored into that.

Have you factored how much time it’s taking for you to just save 10 pounds?” So, you’ve got to look at this as a balance. Don’t let other people (or companies!) steal your time or resources. Don’t waste your money because you are being careless or flippant or unaware of the value of all of this. But at the same time, don’t get so hung up on pinching pennies that while saving one thing you are losing in another area. It’s about a balance; it’s about weighing up the pros and cons and looking at the consequences.

One last idea I want to pick up here is about wasting an opportunity. We’re experiencing a recession here in 2023. Interest rates are still high and while the government, on the one hand is stimulating the property market, actually the rise in interest rates will be putting pressure on buyers and therefore the property market will be depressed, though we don’t know how much. How these two movements or forces are going to play out against one another will be really interesting.

And this is where the saying that “in recessions and depressions, millionaires and billionaires are born,” comes into play. There’s always a shift of wealth because those with money are in a position where they have the liquid assets they can invest. They also have the knowledge, and they have the confidence to ride through what, on the surface looks like a hurdle, but is actually not.

So be very aware of this and, and if you don’t have the skills for this, you can speak to mentors, and you can have a conversation with me to check out your ideas. I have offered you on many occasions to book a half-hour for a free call with me, and that offer still stands. I am an expert in building a successful property portfolio and I got my start during our last great recession.

So, this week I wanted to encourage you to look at where waste may be creeping in, including with your time as your most valued asset. There are offers and gimmicks and conventions that look good and sound sensible, but when we calculate the numbers and consider alternatives, we often find there are better ways to carry out daily decisions.

If you are interested in learning more about creating a wealth plan, make sure you listen to my podcast A Wealthy Life, and look at the free resources I offer like the Readiness to Retire Wealthy Audit. It’s your life, It’s your choice, it’s your plan. For more impactful wealthy life tips, please visit my website, listen to my podcast here and here, or schedule a free call with me.