People enjoy the thrill of putting a little extra money into their pockets, and the internet overflows with suggestions for cashing in on smart savings. Unfortunately, many of these approaches aren’t as simple as they seem. If you’re not careful, you might spend more than you save. Check out the following four money-saving tips that aren’t worth it.
Image via Flickr by theogeo
Savvy sale shoppers can cash in on dramatic savings when they’re smart about what they buy. Unfortunately, you’ll find many cases when carefully stacking coupons or combing through clearance racks isn’t worth the money savings. Taking advantage of a discounted price saves you money only when you’re purchasing something that was already on your shopping list. If you didn’t plan to buy new clothes but you spend $20 on clearance items, then you’ve spent $20 more than you would have had you overlooked that rack.
The same is true of coupon savings. If you wouldn’t have purchased the item without the coupon, then you’re not really saving money when you use the coupon to add an item to your list. Rather, you’re adding items to your shopping cart that you would have never placed there otherwise.
Credit card rewards are tricky. Although a careful shopper can cash in on the rewards safely, doing so takes much time and attention. Depending on the value of your time and the amount of the reward, the effort might not be worth the trouble.
In particular, be careful of the temptation to use credit rewards without immediately paying off your credit balance. Any time you use the credit rewards on top of a credit balance, you’re paying interest fees, which will probably amount to more than the reward.
You should change the filter in your HVAC system every one to three months. In doing so, you’ll need to invest in the minor cost of a new filter several times a year. You might think you can cut this cost by switching to washable air filters, but the change isn’t simple.
The up-front cost of a washable air filter is two or three times greater than that of a disposable filter. Although you can reuse a washable air filter, you’ll also have to invest time and effort into this task every month.
Many people simply assume that the DIY approach is a cheaper alternative to store-bought items. However, the cost of craft supplies alone can make a quilt or afghan more expensive than when you’re making it from scratch. Add in the cost of your time, and crafting items is almost always pricier. But even if crafting isn’t a money-saving endeavor for you, this approach is fine as long as the hobby brings you enjoyment and satisfaction.
While keeping an eye out for a good deal is smart, keep in mind that many tactics intended to save money might cost you more money in time, effort, and supplies. Research your tactics carefully before you commit to a plan.