7 Ways You're Losing Money_Picture of wallet on ground with man walking away

7 Ways You’re Losing Money (and Don’t Know It!)

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Losing money hurts. Even worse, every dollar wasted is one less buck for your travel budget. But how do you stop bleeding money if you don’t know where the leaks are?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

When you know where to look, the fixes are quick and easy. To get you started, we’ve listed 7 common expenses that could be squashing your savings and trouncing your travel budget. Learn where to find them, then use the action items to start saving for your next trip right away!

So, what do you say? Let’s get to it!

7 Ways to Save Thousands Today

Retirement Fees

High fees on your retirement accounts could be costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. You read that correctly. Huge management fees could be eating up over half the growth on your money! Heck, even your employer-sponsored 401(k) could be crushing your savings. We’re talking about huge money here – money that could have helped you work less and retire sooner. That’s not acceptable. You need a plan.

The Fix: Before making changes, you need to know where you stand. This free investment fee checker from Personal Capital can help. Learn what you’re losing in fees, then search for cheaper alternatives like index funds. (Personally, we use Vanguard index funds, but there are others around.) If you need additional help, talk to a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in your home town. Seriously, don’t lose half the growth on your money. It’s your retirement. Be vigilant and take action. Are your investments healthy? Get a free investment fee checkup here.

Student Loans

This is another huge one! If you went to college, you probably used a few student loans to pay for it (I know I did.) But, those loans could be stuck in a relatively high interest rate, costing you big time. Depending on the type of loans you have, you might be paying thousands more in interest than you should be.

The Fix: If you have private loans, consider refinancing them to a lower rate. SoFi specializes in refinancing student loans and other personal loans (including credit card refinancing). There, you can find fixed rates for as little as 2.99% APR and variable rates starting at 2.25% APR*. They also offer flexible 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year repayment terms. With no origination or prepayment fees, SoFi is definitely worth checking out.

Cable TV

If you’re paying $150 a month (or more) for cable, you’re losing big time. That’s $1,800 a year for cable alone! Wouldn’t you rather use that money for a nice trip, retirement, or college savings instead? This bank drain is a simple fix and less painful than you may think. Just cut the cord to cable, pay for an internet connection, and say hello to streaming TV. We’ve be cable free for over 3 years and couldn’t be happier!

The Fix: The knock against cutting cable used to be that you couldn’t watch sports. Sling TV has fixed that. Now, you can get all the ESPN and live sports you want starting at just $20/month. (HGTV, CNN, The History Channel, and more are also available.) Plus, you get to try it FREE for seven days! Just try it before you buy it. What do you have to lose? Live ESPN. No Cable. Try Sling TV FREE for 7 Days Here.

Groceries

We used to spend a fortune each month on food. Between eating out and not shopping sales, we were spending well over $1,000 a month…for just 2 adults! I know we aren’t alone. You’re probably overspending on your food costs right now, too. But what would you rather do? Go out to eat every night or save that money for a family vacation? I’m sure I know the answer to that.

The Fix: The obvious solution is to eat at home more, cut coupons, and shop sales. By stacking coupons with sale items, your grocery savings add up quickly. Planning ahead is another great trick for saving time and money. To help you out, my friend Lauren created 4 different gourmet meal plans packed with 20 recipes each. The best part, you can make all 20 meals in each plan for less than a total of $160! Just prepare it, freeze it, and dump it in the slow cooker each morning. That’s real money you can put in your pocket or toward your travel budget! Get 20 cheap slow cooker meal plans here.

Mortgage Interest

It’s the dirty little secret you probably forgot: You might be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest on your mortgage. A $150,000 loan at just 6% could cost you over $140,000 in interest alone. Luckily, there’s a way out that can save you thousands.

The Fix: Refinancing your mortgage can save you tens of thousands over time. That’s real money that can be used for travel, retirement, or even college! If your current rate is over 4%, you’d probably benefit from checking out a site like LendingTree.com. It’s quick, easy, and you can compare the best rates from up to 5 different companies all at once. Rates are still low but have been creeping up, so don’t waste time. Get up to 5 offers at LendingTree.com here.

Health Insurance

If you’re stuck searching the open market for health insurance, you’ve probably noticed a huge spike in costs. We feel your pain because ours skyrocketed too. With premiums doubling and deductibles into the 5 figures, what’s a family to do? We decided to go a different route.

The Fix: Although big changes are coming for Obamacare, the fallout could last for years. Instead of purchasing an overpriced Obamacare plan, we chose Liberty HealthShare – a healthcare sharing ministry – instead. These companies work similarly to health insurance with different restrictions and options. We save thousands on premiums alone, plus our annual “unshared amount” (similar to a deductible) is just $1,500! While it isn’t exactly the same as health insurance, the savings is more than worth it to us. Read our complete review of Liberty HealthShare here.

Cell Phone Service

Here’s another biggie – cell phones. Until the last 15 years, this wasn’t even an issue! These days, we can’t live without being glued to our smartphones. Worse, we don’t blink an eye at paying $1,000 a year for the “privilege.” That’s nuts, especially when there are other options around.

The Fix: Here’s the good news: You don’t have to spend $1,000 a year (that’s a house payment, BTW) or sign a 24-month contract to get decent cell service anymore. Save that money and book a trip to Mexico instead! There are several discount services available where talk, text, and data plans cost less than $25 a month! Plus, many of them don’t require a contract. (Bonus!) My favorite provider is Ting. I’ve used them for a few years and have saved thousands. They’re on the T-Mobile network, so coverage is very good in most areas. Save 40 – 60% on your mobile phone by switching to Ting. Learn more.

Bonus Tip: Earn Money While Watching TV

Saving is great, but it’s also nice to earn some extra cash. Of course, your time is precious so you don’t necessarily want to start a whole side hustle. Here’s a way you can earn extra money while you watch TV.

The Fix: Did you realize you can get paid for taking surveys? Heck, some companies pay you just for surfing the internet. My favorite survey sites are Survey Junkie and InboxDollars because they pay straight cash. It’s easy money, so why not get started now?

Stop Losing Money

There you have it! Break free from your comfortable habits, and look for ways to start saving more money today. The coolest part is, when you find new ways to save, it’s like you just gave yourself a gigantic raise. Use that money wisely, and always remember to save on the things that don’t matter so you can spend on the things that do!

Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch you next time!

Next→ Get Your Personalized Travel Rewards Plan Here!

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35 Comments

  1. Word! Very helpful post. Looking back now, l realize just how nuts it was spending so much money on cell service and cable!!!! The savings really do add up..Now, we travel with it!! 🙂

    1. Absolutely! We do the same thing. You hear all the time that it is tough to get ahead today. Well, we’ve added thousands of dollars a year in typical expenses than what we had just 10-20 years ago. Of course that isn’t all there is to it, but it’s a big part of the equation.

  2. I haven’t had cable for years and that has been a huge monetary savings and a huge time savings. I am much more productive and get a lot more done without the distraction!

    1. Right? When we cut cable, we instantly became more productive. That’s how we found the time to start this blog 🙂

    2. If you HAVE to HAVE ESPN, you can get also get Sling TV (like Netflix) but it has ESPN, Disney, ABC Family, History, CNN, HGTV for $20-$21 a month? No contract, pay as you go. Sometimes the streaming gets goofy but overall I like it.

  3. Very helpful post Greg. It’s crazy how much you’re losing when you sit down and look at all your spending. We FINALLY cut our attachment to DirecTV two weeks ago – that’s $90/month extra we can do much better things with!

    1. Right on John! You just saved yourself over $1,000 a year. BOOM! I can think of 50 things right now that I’d rather do with that money than watch TV.

  4. Taking the time to evaluate your spending is really powerful. Then it becomes clear what can be cut away. In fact, I think it’s really smart to just question everything. Every year, I shop around for insurance. Every year, I hate it. But it’s so worth it!

    1. Yep, I agree. About once a year, we shop around to see if we can lower our bills any further. Most of the time, we’ve already got the best deal. But, we usually find one or two things that we can negotiate down. It is totally worth it.

  5. We cut cable over a year ago, and so far we haven’t missed it one bit! And we are saving over $100 per month without it, which is pretty sweet. My only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner!

    1. I know, right? I thought I’d miss cable so much. After a week, I didn’t miss it at all. Not only does it help to save money, it also saves a ton of time. Now, when we do watch a show, we actually have to want to watch it. Since we have to choose a show, it is much more intentional instead of just mindless channel surfing.

  6. Ugh, we used to be guilty of SO many of these: mainly the food one. Once we stopped that leak, it was easy to make sacrifices in the other areas.

    1. Yeah, we have been guilty of almost all of these as well. Food was the biggest one for us too, but cable TV was another major cut. Once we got those two things under control, it was like we experienced a cash windfall!

  7. Oh dang I thought SoFi had raised their rates closer to 5% for fixed rate refinances but looks like they are still at 3.5% – awesome! I am looking into ditching cable when our renter moves out. Right now we share the cost but I’m anxious to try something like Sling TV.

    1. Nope, they are still at 3.50% for student loan refis. However, personal loans are at about 5.50%.

      I haven’t tried Sling yet, but we’re very happy with just Netflix and Hulu Plus.

  8. Great tips Greg! We fall into the “spending a fortune on food” camp. With six in the house and always being on the go it’s really tough. The best thing we’ve done is learn to plan meals and eat at home as much as possible. Bringing that prepared list to the grocery store helps too – especially for people like me who love spur of the moment purchases. 🙂

    1. Yeah, I’m a spur of the moment grocery shopper too. That’s why I really need to bring a list…and go on a full stomach. Otherwise, I’m doomed to a grocery store fail.

      Having six in the house is a challenge. My brother-in-law has six kids, and that is a lot of mouths to feed. I’m guessing a meal planning system would work really well for you guys.

  9. We switched phone service this month (Verizon to Cricket), and I’m pushing for cable next (hubby’s less sure). We’re addressing food (it’s a struggle), quit the Y membership we weren’t using, and I’ve been moving out of high fee mutual funds to Vanguard funds bit by bit. So it’s been a good year for progress, but we have some moves yet to make.

  10. I can’t believe how long I was paying for cable. Such a waste of money!

    1. 100% agreed…and I was really worried about making the switch. Getting rid of cable was not only one of our best money moves, it was one of the best life moves we ever made.

  11. We buy most of our food in bulk from various buying clubs & companies that deliver in our area. For meats, you can look at Zaycon Fresh. We get our boneless chicken butterfly breasts in bulk from them for about half the cost of similar Amish-quality (no hormones, antibiotics, or steroids) than in the local supermarket. They deliver a couple times a year throughout the U.S.

  12. I need to stop losing money to Amazon with all the presents we are getting this year. Switching to republic wireless was big for us. Doesn’t make much sense these days paying more than $20/month for a cell phone to me.

    1. It really doesn’t make any sense not to make the cell phone switch. The other companies do it just as well at less than half the cost.

  13. We cut cable a long time ago and have never looked back. It was a really smart decision for us. We now use Netflix and stream shows online. Anything that we can`t get, oh well! It`s all habit, so once you`re out of the routine, you’re totally fine.
    One area where we need to get researching is our cell phone bills. I keep hearing great things about Republic but I don`t believe they are available here in Canada. But, I have to admit, I am being lazy. There is definitely a better deal than what we are paying, I just have to make some effort! Thanks for the reminder and the much-needed push!

    1. Yep, TV is totally habit. I found the same thing when we made the switch.

      I’m not sure who your discount cell carriers are in Canada. A simple Google.ca search should do the trick 😉

  14. I see SO many clients lose thousands of dollars a year overpaying for cell phones and cable. Literally every single client that I told to call and ask for a lower bill, got a lower bill. It’s just crazy to overpay for something when you can pay less with just a simple phone call.

    1. That’s a great tip. Even if you don’t want to part with what you have, just call and threaten to leave. You still won’t get the best deal, but it will be better than what you have now.

  15. I have had no TV cable for 4 years and I am glad about this. Imagine how much money I have saved since I did it. And, I can live and get by without TV cable. It’s really a “want”.

  16. What is a reasonable price to pay for Internet that is fast enough for streaming?

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