8 Life Hacks That Will Save You Thousands of Dollars!

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Fast Food

We are not going to take the moral high ground that many food snobs be love to take and bash fast food for its bad nutrition and or artificial ingredients. News flash we all know that fast food is bad for us and will more than likely make us fat. This does not seem to matter to most people. The essential point is that fast food taste great and sometimes you just want a Whopper or Big Mac.

However, there are a lot of people in America especially that think that eating cheap fast food is their only option due to economic factors. The perceived low cost of each meal can seem like a bargain compared to most meals that can be purchased outside of the home. Its is easy to think sending $6.90 on a value meal can seem a lot cheater than buying a burger from sit down restaurant for $18 or more.

The average cost for a family of four eating dinner at Mc Donalds for instance is about $20. What most people don’t realize is how much food $20 can buy at a supermarket. With careful shopping and planning the same $20 can easily buy you almost 24 hours of food for that same family of four.

Fast food can cost you as much as an extra $5200 per year if you eat it most days of the year.

Speeding Tickets

They seem so easy to get! You are running late and have an important thing like work to get to so you apply a little more pressure to the accelerator to make up some time.  It seems like such a great trade off you gain some much-needed minutes and really you are unlikely to get caught pressing the limits of speed.

The problem is that when you do get caught it is going to cost you in more ways than you ever thought. First you will have to cost of the ticket which can easily be over $300. Them of course there is the lost time from work if you have to go to court or traffic school.

However, the most costly part of this situation will be the ongoing cost that you will pay for years after. According to carinsurance.com a driver with a clean driving record is paying $1,310 a year for car insurance. One speeding ticket could remove that discount and increase your rate by 10 percent. That is a $611 increase a year, or $1,833 over three years; companies usually surcharge for three to five years.

If you get his with the surcharge you will pay over $3000 in 5 years making that a very expensive few minutes you were trying to make up on the way to work.

Gym Memberships

Every year in January millions of people decide this will be the year they get fit. They are going to look like and actor / model / porn star and build the best body they can barring plastic surgery. The go to there local mega gym and sign up for a membership and they feel good about it. They go religiously for maybe 2 months and post a few selfies on face book showing off the 4 pounds they lost.

Then at some point around March people usually begin to go less and less and bad habits come back and people usually stop going. This would be awesome if people just cancelled their memberships and decided to try again next January. But they don’t!

Most people keep their membership after they have stopped coming because they intend to go back to the gym next week / month etc. This seems to make sense as many gyms charge you fees for signing up again or make you pay an extra month when you cancel. It seems stupid to cancel and pay more when you will surely be able to go next week right?

The average cost of a gym membership in the united states is about $34 a month. That means if you keep your membership for the 9 months a year you are not using it you will have paid an extra $306 that year. If you do this for 10 years throughout your life time or about 1/8th of your life you will have wasted over $3000 dollars!

Cable TV

Would you go to a movie theatre and buy a ticket for a movie you are never going to watch? Probably not but you basically do this every day when you subscribe to cable. A large amount of the monthly fee you pay goes to pay media companies the fees they demand from cable companies for having a channel on their line up. The problem is that you pay this fee even if you never watch that channel. Let’s say that a well know sports network had many channels and some people watch it all the time. The cable company is almost required to have the channel to get subscribers, however they also pay a fee for the privilege. Let’s just day its 4 dollars per subscriber. But if you don’t watch sports you are paying this fee even though you never turn to that channel. This can quickly explain how the average candle bill for a new subscriber  in the U.S. is about $150.

Most people who subscribe to cable watch about 10 channels and a lot of local tv. This results in paying for many services that you never use. A better alternative would be to subscribe to Netflix for movies, and Hulu for tv shows. For local programming a digital antenna will give you HD programming that can sometime rival what your cable box can deliver.  Even if you add premium services to these such as Showtime to Hulu you will cut your entertainment budget to $50 a month. This will save you $100 a month!

Keeping cable for a year will cost you about $1200 more than subscription services that is $3600 in three years!

Don’t Buy Designer Clothing

Once upon a time designer clothing was made better than other clothing. It usually was make in some exotic place by crafts people who cared about quality. It usually also had better fabrics and lasted longer than inexpensive alternatives. This is no longer the case.

A lot of designer clothing is now made in Chinese sweat shops where the same workers may use the same material and same methods to make clothing for many fashions lines of all price points. Your designer shirt for $150 is just as likely to be made in the same way, in the same place, and by the same workers, that are producing the $25 version sold at Target.

If you buy just 10 items a year that are designer alternatives you will have an extra $1250 in your wallet!

No Bottled Water

Bottled water was once a status symbol and even then, people knew they were being ripped off. Water is water and it is a proven fact that almost all available water in any most American cities is better quality than bottled water and it is practically free. Pulse if you must seem trendy you can invest is in overpriced water container to carry it around these days! It will make you seem “in the know” and environmentally aware. The $20 you spend on this container will be money well spent if it keeps you from buying bottled water.

If you buy 2 bottles of water daily you will pend at minimum around $3. Over the course of a year you will have spent $1095. Subtracting the cost of your new super trendy water bottle you will have $1075 spend more wisely.

No Brand Names

We spend a lot of our money on groceries. For many people it can be as much as 20% of their family income. If you are a family of 4 with two earners making about $40,000 a year each in income you may be spending as much as $16000 a year on groceries. A lot of people make buying decisions based on factors other than price at the grocery store. Often people make decisions at the supermarket based on things like emotional connections to brand names, or perceived quality conveyed by product packaging. Shopping without regard to price can also be seem as a sign of economic security or status as not having to use generic or off brand items can be seem as a hallmark of middle or upper class status. This however is just foolish!

These days store brands are made to be as good or better than the national brands. Contrary to what most people believe the reason these are products are less expensive is not because they are inferior, but because the store is the manufacturer.

Let’s say your are a package of brand name cookies. You cost $0.25 to make. You are then sold to the grocery store for $1. Netting your maker $0.75 in profit. The store sells them to you for $2 making them $1 in profit.  Next let’s say you are a package of store brand cookies. You still cost $0.25 to make but now the store sells you directly to the customer for $1.75. They make $1.50 profit and you save $0.25. This is how generic products work.

On average you will save about 20 percent buying generic products so our family of four would save about $3200 a year!

Daily Coffee

Here at Screwy Monkey we would not be able to survive without amply amounts of coffee being available always! We would never suggest that anyone go without this vital energy giving beverage! However, there are some ways that are that are smarter than others to get your caffeine fix.

Let’s say you go to your local Starbucks every day and order your Venti Latte in the morning. The charge seems fair for the vital boost you are going to get from this cup of life. Let’s say it cost you $4.50 for this every morning. You will spend $31.50 a week, or $126 a month. That is $1512 a year! That is a lot of money to spend on coffee and that does not consider the days you go more than once, or any other money you may spend on those trips.

As an alternative you could buy a good quality espresso maker. You can get a good one for as low as $250. A months worth of quality coffee beans will cost you about $20 and milk will cost you about $5 a month. This means your first years cost to replace your daily latte will be $550. That is a savings of $962 the first year. Over the 5 years you are likely to own the espresso machine you will save $5810.

That is a whole latte money!

Follow these life hacks and you will have put thousands or tens of thousands into your wallet. It can be like have a whole other jobs worth of income if you are just smarter about how you spend the money and pocket the difference!

Shawn J. Shoulders

Shawn J. Shoulders is an Actor, Comedian, and Lifestyle Expert who has spent many years learning about his fellow humans for the sake of his art. He has spent years in the pursuit of truth about the human condition and comprised a vast database of information neatly stored in his brain. The majority of this information is uniquely suited for trivia competitions and drunken bar conversations. Shawn J. Shoulders is a regular contributor to Screwy Monkey.

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