Ways You May Be Letting Money Slip Away

It’s easy to be lulled into regular expenditures that add little to your life. If you’re looking for ways to cut spending, turn first to monthly bills and look for ways to trim or eliminate them.

Smart On Money calls out common budget-busters that may be troubling your finances.

Your cell phone bill is an excellent place to start when cutting back. It’s become commonplace to pay close to $100 a month to feed your smartphone. Switching to a lower-tech phone with a cheaper plan can free up a bunch of money. Living without the technology for a while will help you decide whether or not it’s worth it to you to start paying for it again.

If you’re expecting a tax refund, that may mean your paycheck withholding amounts are too high. Rather than giving the government an interest-fee loan, you can change things up and get more money each paycheck.

You can also look for ways to cut your car maintenance costs. Read your manual to make sure you’re not changing your oil too often, and check the competition and coupons to see if you can get routine maintenance done at cheaper rates.

9 Common Ways You Could Be Wasting Your Money [Smart On Money]


Edit Your Comment

  1. dakeypoo says:

    Don’t buy cigarettes. Don’t eat out. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Too many people claim to not have money for bills, but will be seen buying unnecessary items or out partying.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      Gee, I’m betting you’re just the life of the party, ain’t ya?

      • msbask says:

        I hope I’m never the life of the party at $8 for a shot, $5 for a beer or upwards of $10 for a mixed drink.

        I’m constantly amazed at the amount of money people will spend in bars. If you must drink, wouldn’t it make more financial sense to buy the liquor and have a party at your own house?

        • sponica says:

          when I lived in a city, I tried to go the party route….but my apartment just wasn’t big enough. and I’d need to do it on a weekend my roommates were gone. (in NYC it’s common to have roommates where the relationship is only financial). it’s just easier to meet at a bar somewhere between where you and all your friends live.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’m glad we don’t have those kind of bar tabs around here.

          We don’t go out much but we usually pick up a $6 pitcher of Yuengling at the bowling alley or VFW. I don’t really drink much more than that anymore.

        • zerogspacecow says:

          That’s a bar, not necessarily a party. A house party can be cheap as hell.

          Also, not all bars at that expensive. College towns usually have cheap drinks (Athens, GA for example).

        • DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

          Or do as the college kids do – pregame it. Buy something high-proof and get buzzed before leaving for the bar; once you’re there, buy a cheap beer or mixed drink and nurse that to keep it going.

          Only disadvantage is having to find transportation to the bar, but if you’re within walking distance it can cut the cost of a night out in half.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          Have you ever seen what a bar looks like at the end of the night? Do you really want that in your home? No thank you!

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      But my life won’t be complete unless my kid has Jason Wu clothes!

    • dolemite says:

      Reminds me of my wife. She’s got a pile of bills sitting on the counter… mostly $20, $30, etc. I tell her she needs to pay them, and she says there is no money left over in her paychecks. But every week, she’s going out to eat for lunch, getting her nails or hair done, buying new shoes. But…no money to take care of actual responsibilities apparently.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        My husband is like this – apparently it’s not gender specific!

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        My wife and I used to fall into that trap too. One of the very low tech solutions we came up with was keeping a white board calendar in our kitchen and simply recording all of our purchases each day on it. We started doing it a couple years ago and it really made a difference for us.

      • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

        Not to flame you, but maybe you should sit down with your wife and help her instead of lecturing her. I can almost guarantee she is way over her head in debt and she sees the bills and wants nothing do with them cause it stresses her out…so they keep coming. Help her out with a budget and take some of your paycheck to bail her out. Come on dude…she’s your freaking wife!

    • DariusC says:

      Totally agree, had a friend that complained he was broke all the time yet he would eat out every day rather than going to the grocery store (which probably has the cheapest groceries in America with 99 cent milk specials) and getting some items to make a meal. He would also blow his money on stupid things or pay too much for other things.

    • Clutchcargo says:

      What no money for whores, whiskey, and cigarettes, why live life at all?

    • jenesaisrien says:

      yep ..Not that difficult and perhaps hard to believe for some people that it’s possible to relax/have fun/be attractive– w/o alcohol though requires creativity and willingness to ignore the crowd.., saves embarrassment ,regrets, money in legal fees+health care. But it’s their choice– as long as don’t get near a driver’s seat.

  2. Buckus says:

    Hookers and blow are also quite expensive. If possible, try to only do one at a time.

  3. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    We’ve cut every expense we can. I have a smart phone for my work, but I have the cheapest plan otherwise. We’ve combined cell plans with my wife’s parents and split the bill, we’ve canceled all television and Land Line and replaced them with Netflix/Hulu+, and a separate Cell # for the house respectively. With my stock grants from work and taxes we’re seeing if we can pay off the remainder of our car loan rather than using them on big expenses. It’s all about reducing the monthly “footprint” of our bills.

  4. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Definitely don’t blow a hooker. If this is happening, ur doin it wrong.

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      Intended for buckus’s comment above. Failed to hit reply button. I have shame.

  5. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    Ah, my phone.
    Never once in my life paid for my own phone until I lost my job in March 2010.
    I thought about killing my data plan but then figured I need it for my job search.
    Paying that extra $120 a month was a killer, but it came in handy to respond to the job I ultimately got. I know the anxiety of e-mail sitting in my inbox while I had no way to access it would have been bad. Now I am back to not paying for my own phone and all is right with the world again…. at least my little world.
    I was thinking about cancelling Netflix and lowering my cable though. I wish there was a cable plan where you could just pick the few channels you want without paying a huge bill.
    I would never change my taxes. I claim single 0 although I am married 1. I am not the best at saving and really like getting that huge refund to go towards debt that’s been accumulating. It’s like Christmas in my pants… my pockets.

  6. bee8boo8bop8 says:

    I actually just adjusted my W-4 to increase my withholdings to the point where my raise “vanishes.” Yes, I’m giving the government a free loan, but when I get a tax refund, I immediately use it to fund retirement or pay off debt. But I’m certain that I will not manage without fail every two weeks to do the same with my pay raise, were it in my paycheck. This is an easy forced savings mechanism for me.

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

      This – I have an ESPP through my work as well as getting a tax return every year. These things have always been for paying off medical debt and in recent years we’ve been able to start a “rainy day” fund. Soon we might be able to start putting it towards retirement as well.

      • mischlep says:

        “This – I have an ESPP through my work as well as getting a tax return every year. “

        No, you _file_ a tax return every year. You _get_ a tax refund.

        • nicless says:

          Yes, if only that refund was your funds being returned to you… oh wait. You were just being pedantic.

          • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

            Thank you sir. I now have a word to describe things like that. Pedantic – the more you know. :)

    • SerenityDan says:

      How is that better than taking the extra pay and putting it in a saving account where it will gain a little interest as the year goes on instead of letting the government hold it?

      • Cat says:

        Because, there is absolutely no way you can get to that saved money before tax time.

        And savings rates are abysmal these days.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        It’s not. But missing doing that by overspending on a single paycheck or touching those savings once for something frivolous will wipe out all the interest you would earn. If you were to put that money into savings every week without fail and not touch it, you’ll come out ahead. But I don’t count on myself being infallible. I’ll trade off a minuscule amount if interest to know the money will be saved.

        • Costner says:

          I agree with your plan. It is a mental win and at the end of the fiscal year you end up with a guaranteed return. I know people argue you are allowing the goverment to use your money, but with savings rates being what they are… that is a small price to pay since it will likely end up no more than a few bucks.

    • dolemite says:

      Why not increase your 401k deductions, or have the money automatically put into an IRA. You still won’t be able to touch it (without a lot of trouble and/or penalties), and you’ll be earning dividends and lower your tax rate too.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        Because my first priority is to max out our Roth IRAs, and we aren’t quite managing that yet. We don’t get employer matches on their IRA or 401k, so they are a lower priority.

  7. Don't Bother says:

    You can also look for ways to cut your car maintenance costs.

    I would like to add; learn how to do the small maintenance yourself. Oil changes are not hard, and you can save a ton of money doing them yourself. There all sorts of little things that you can do if you just look it up, and it will save you big bucks in the long run.

    • sponica says:

      yes oil changes are probably easy….but I’m NOT just paying for an oil change. I’m paying for my mechanic to inspect my struts, tires, brakes, serpentine belt, etc when I get an oil change.

      I pay a little more than if I went to super fast oil change place, but the super fast guy isn’t inspecting my car like my mechanic does….

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Those are all things you can check yourself.

        • sponica says:

          it’s one of those time vs money things….also, as a condo dweller I’m not permitted to do an oil change on site.

          I’ll gladly spend the time it takes to make cookies from scratch though….if ONLY my mechanic would let me pay him in cookies.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            When I worked at an auto shop (small, independent, corner garage), there were a few clients who routinely brought in brownies or cookies. We used to get very excited when we saw them come in.

            • sponica says:

              I’m sure he’d accept the cookies….but cookies don’t pay his mortgage.

              he’s a guy who knows my car inside and out….and usually doesn’t charge me full price for the little things because he knows he’ll be doing the bigger jobs (like when my entire exhaust system needed to be replaced to pass inspection)

              • catgirl4276 says:

                I was blessed with a mechanic who happens to be a can’t-cook bachelor. One six-pack of the home-brewed beer and a pan of the brownies I make anyway every month and the V6’s oil change is on the house. (The straight-four engine cars I can do myself, and if you buy a year’s worth of filters at once and get your oil by the case, it’s extremely reasonable.) When our exhaust got a rust hole and needed welding, I made a black forest cake with locally-grown cherries. The coolant pump sprung a leak and I brewed five gallons of chocolate stout, then paid for my own parts. The last time a head gasket went, I found a cheap fridge for $50 on Craigslist, put a little money into fittings and a CO2 tank, gave my mechanic buddy his own kegerator and filled it with two ponies of Irish red and cerveza respectively, plus two cheesecakes, an apple pie with Gruyere on the crust and four batches of triple-chocolate double-thick brownies.

                But all of the body, electrical and paint work I do myself, because a girl’s got to have some standards when it comes to core competency. That, and pony kegs are getting pricier lately.

    • akronharry says:

      I can change my oil, but I get coupons weekly for an oil change, filter, inspection and rotation for under 20 bucks.
      By the time I buy the items to do it myself, it’s over that price.

  8. weave says:

    The bit about not giving the government an interest-free loan is very outdated. If you’re lucky these days, you might get a 1% return on savings — which you have to pay taxes on — at your top rate. So if you get a $1,000 refund, you’re giving up about $5 in interest (since the entire grand isn’t sitting in the account all year) and then you pay taxes on that $5 so you may net $3.00 by not over-withholding. Yawn.

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      But that $3 could buy you a crappy hamburger!

    • leprofie says:

      Well, yes the $3 a year is a yawn, BUT the learned discipline is fantastic. Instead of looking at a windfall to solve financial problems, one practices discipline, planning, and good money management. That is worth a whole lot more than $3 a year.

    • HSVhockey says:

      That is assuming you are putting the money in some abysmal savings account. That is what I initially do, but after it builds up over a couple of months I put it into some higher return vehicle, currently I am silent partner in a few small businesses that people I know and trust are starting up. I see much higher than 1% return. I currently have my withholding set to where I tend to owe the gov about 0.75-1% of my gross earnings at the end of the year.

    • hansolo247 says:

      I buy stocks with low PE ratios and high dividend yields.

      It returns 3% in dividends, and if you pick stocks with low PEs, they very often increase in value, and don’t really decrease much…unless it’s a Kodak or Sears.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      DIVIDENDS FTW!!!!! Qualified are taxed at a lower rate than interest and pay way more than interest bearing accounts. (More risk but there are great dividend paying ETFs out there that minimize risk.) Also look at oil & gas companies.

    • Costner says:

      This is a very good point, and we need to remember the extra funds held by the government are secure. Some others have mentioned high dividend stocks, but there is always a risk with any fund or stock… always. I own quite a bit of GE and it pays great dividends, but all stocks fluctuate and there is no such thing is a sure bet, so to get a 3.5% dividend payment, it requires one to accept the risk that their initial investment could shrink.

      In most cases we aren’t talking about vast sums of money here. Most people get a tax refund in the few hundred to the few thousand dollar range. If you are getting a refund of $10k then yes I would say it is foolish to let that money sit there not working for you all year, but for someone who gets $1600 a year, allowing the government to hold it won’t be a bad thing.

      Also depending upon your tax situation, there is a risk to not paying enough. My father recently found out he owed $4,500 at the end of the year. That is a pretty big slice of coin to fork over if you weren’t expecting it, and to make matters worse because of the size he owed he had to pay a penalty or fee of around $35. In this case it would make more sense to have them keep more, because even if you invested the $4,500 for a year you would be luck to make $30 in interest in a savings account (less than the penalty), and if it was held in a stock there is a risk of loss.

      I for one am ok with getting a refund each and every year, and if my refund is less than $1000 I feel like I need to take more out of my checks. I never want to pay in, and having that money come back to me in a lump sum allows me to funnel it into retirement accounts, college savings, or spend it on a big ticket item without the need for credit.

  9. chizu says:

    I’m okay with giving the government the “free loan”, I guess especially this year when I’m running into the problem with my employment. When the cheque comes, it’s going to be used as emergency money that I could fall back onto. I know it’s a bad habit to expect that money around this time of the year and have it as your spending money, but it seems like I always run into financial trouble around this time of the year or something would happen that make me wish I have “something”. During the rest of the year, I live within my means, so if I end up not having to use this money when I get my tax return, it goes into savings.

    Next thing I’m going to do is to look into a no-contract T-Mobile phone plan. I might be able to cut back $10-$20 each month depending on which plan I go with… Anyone uses the no-contract plan with T-Mobile?

    • jeb says:

      Not T-Mobile, but I use Straight Talk. $45 for unlimited everything, now with bring your own device. Not bad.

      Also, they have a $30 1000 min/1000 text plan, but you have to use one of their phones.

  10. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Since we dumped our terrible plan through work, we’ve been saving about $800/month in health insurance premiums. The downside is, our taxable income went up considerably since our new premiums are no longer tax free, as did our overall tax liability but we’re still making out significantly better than we did back in 2011.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I didn’t think health insurance premiums couldn’t be tax free! Do you know why yours are not?

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        You can only deduct health insurance premiums for non-group insurance when it’s more than ~8.5% of AGI.

        • sponica says:

          and even then your itemized deductions have to be more than the standard….so while I def spent enough on medical expenses to meet the threshold, the itemized deductions were much less than the standard deduction…

      • acknight says:

        Payroll deduction health care premiums are pre-tax. If you go elsewhere, you’re likely paying with post-tax dollars… even if it’s eventually deductible on a tax form.

  11. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I don’t know how people do it. I am within the top 15-20% of households and the smart phone, satellite TV, marina rent, car insurance, electric bill, and other expenses bleed me dry. I have no debt other than my mortgage (with a DTI of around 17%). I should be banking the money left and right (ok, I did max my 401k contribution last year, but my non retirement savings took a hit).

    Let me be a warning to others. It’s too easy to spend all your money so cut the expendables, or better yet don’t get them to begin with (It’s hard to migrate kids from having satellite TV even if we don’t let them watch more than an hour a day…)

    • bee8boo8bop8 says:

      Lifestyle inflation is a really easy trap to fall into, if you aren’t paying attention. I try to remind myself of that every time I take the bus because it’s my husband’s turn with the car.

    • dolemite says:

      When you say “I don’t know how other people are doing it.” – I’ve come to the conclusion the only people actually saving and investing are the upper crust. I honestly believe most middle class or poor are simply making ends meet and barely able to save anything. I know there will be a few exceptions.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        We have the median income. (I just did our taxes and we are dead center of the income distribution.) We manage to save a lot, but there are a lot of things going for us. We married young, and have enjoyed two incomes our entire (admittedly short) adult lives. Our clothes are fairly old and our wardrobes are tiny. I coupon. We have one used car. I have minimal student debt and my husband has none. We don’t eat out. We don’t do much aside from work or stuff at home. We have low medical expenses.

        I’m trying to sock away money because I just know everything will be harder once we have kids.

        • dolemite says:

          That’s the only reason we have money to save too. Just a married couple, no kids. Anyone I know with kids is struggling. Our society has shifted from 1 parent providing for a family on 40 hours a week, retiring early with a pension to 2 parents working 50 hours a week, barely making ends meet, with no savings.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I think our country is slowly approaching a point where only the very rich and very poor can afford to have children. We have two kids and are only now recovering from the health insurance and hospital bills from 2010 & 2011.

            If you look at the percentage of births paid for via Medicaid, it’s very clear that there are many states where this is has already happened —


            • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

              It’s not just having children, I’m afraid it’s trending toward everything else, from housing to heating your home, to getting groceries, etc. According to guidelines, I am upper lower class – not middle class – and my wages have been stagnant for several years. As we all know, everything from property taxes to gasoline to groceries have gone up. My disposable income is shrinking to the point where I’m going to have to cut cable, home phone, and the newspaper delivery. That’s really all that’s left. What used to be a relatively comfortable life is fast becoming more and more cramped and uncomfortable.

              • HogwartsProfessor says:

                THIS. The price of everything has risen and wages have not, to the point where even though I was making more than I’d ever done before, I still ended up taking a second job to make ends meet. My standard of living should have been going up even though I wasn’t adding things like smartphone, expensive toys, etc.

                Then I got laid off. Now I have nothing and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I am higher than entry level, but not manager level so any jobs I get will start at entry pay (which around here isn’t much more than minimum wage of $7.50 an hour) and I won’t be able to do ANYTHING. Including visit my long-distance bf. :'(

              • dolemite says:

                I feel yah. We are “lower middle class” ourselves. I admit, I make more now than I did 10 years ago at the same job, but raises average out to 2%, and they don’t occur every year. Meanwhile, gas is about 50% more expensive, Cable is about 50% more expensive, Healthcare is probably 50-200% more expensive (depending on your job/situation), electricity is about 25% more expensive. It’s like the only way to get ahead is to cut little luxuries or finally pay off a debt (like student loans).

    • hansolo247 says:

      I hear ya. I’m in the top 10% of households (though I’m single, so probably top 5-7% in that group). I have a 10 year-old car, paid off. Insurance is cheap.

      I could cut the $100/mo for cell, $140 for TV/Internet, and maybe $300/mo if I moved somewhere cheaper/smaller. That’s not much, really. I live in a high-cost area, so taxes and rent really bleed me dry. Housing is still too expensive here (renting is cheaper). So, I could “find” $500/mo, but have no phone and nothing to watch.

      I lived far better when I lived in FL at a 40% lower salary.

    • Bunnies Attack! says:

      Yea, its all those extra toys that require constant expense. Like the boat is a one time cost thats affordable but suddenly you’ve got marina fees in perpetuity.

      Migrating off of satellite isn’t hard, (you just reminded me I was going to do that today, thanks). As long as you don’t watch football you can get a LOT of programming through Hulu+ and Netflix or Amazon prime. For really little kids, Amazon prime has like 10+ seasons of sesame street on demand for example.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        The cheapest thing about owning a boat is the boat. Gas is killer. I have a 23ft CC (not that big but enough to go 65 miles off shore) and pay:

        $525 for gas
        $~125 for ice
        $50 for bait (sometimes I buy, sometimes I catch depending on what we are going for)
        $75 other misc provisions

        Then you have maintenance, insurance, Rods & Reels, safety equipment and the list goes on. Most times I have 3-4 other people that help split cost so it isn’t bad. Well worth being surrounded completely by water. Tranquility at it’s best.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          A very good friend of mine has a pontoon that he keeps at a local marina. He loans it out to all of his friends and pretty much always goes out with someone. Even with the marina fees, maintenance, gas, and personal property taxes, he pretty much breaks even on it from people throwing in when they go out. If his friends don’t just hand over a $20, we usually pay for beer or food while out.

        • AustinTXProgrammer says:

          Mine is a 34′ sailboat. I use about a half gallon of diesel every trip. Not bad.

  12. DRFS Rich says:

    I dropped a 10+ year Sprint contract that I was paying them $110 a month for when I needed to buy a new phone and they insisted on charging me $10/month more (for unlimited service).

    Spent $200 on an Android phone on Boost Mobile (using Sprint’s network) and started paying them $55/mo for the same unlimited service. Every 6 on-time payments knocks $5 off your bill down to $40/mo. After 18 mos. There’s really no reason to be on contract again, unless you *have* to have an iPhone.

  13. crispyduck13 says:

    Every 6 months or so I make it a point to call any utility/monthly billers and ask if there is any cheaper plan or option available. Definitely helps with the cell phone and DirecTV bills.

    Some things require investment to reduce monthly expenditure, like grass cutting. We were paying $100 a pop for someone to mow our 1.5 acres right after we moved (our old mower broke). As soon as we could we plunked down $700 for a large riding mower. In 4 months we’ve saved the cost of the mower, but that strategy is not possible for all people.

    Whenever I have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses over $50 I bargain for the 10% off. If you call in to the billing department and pay over the phone with a credit (or debit) card to pay in full they will typically give you this discount if you ask. May not be much at a time, but if you have a $1000 deductible like me it really adds up.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      THIS. I’m getting 3 Kbs DSL for $14 a month with no data cap, and I DL about 50 GB/month. Dropped cable altogether. No land line. Three phones with unlimited everything for about $160 after taxes.

  14. wrbwrx says:

    I have multiple coworkers who complain that they cannot put gas in their cars every week, so that they can get that huge tax refund. They don’t realize that it could help them every week instead of once a year.

    The other stupid thing is Buying Vacation days from work with intention that they will not use them so the company will pay them back at the same rate at the end of the year.

  15. kobresia says:

    The thing with smartphones though, is that you don’t always need to be on data if there’s a WAP in range.

    I do just fine on the cheapest data plan because in those events where I absolutely need to be getting email when I’m on the road, I enable it, but the rest of the time, I usually just keep the mobile data disabled and use free WiFi. I probably haven’t used much more than 20MB of mobile data in the past year, and the bulk of that was app downloads. The added bonus is that there are not constant distractions while driving.

  16. thomwithanh says:

    No contract cell phones?

    • Brontide says:

      +1 I pay around $10/month for my iPhone 4 with data. The information is out there to use any AT&T iPhone with GoPhone and you don’t even need to jailbreak to get it working. It’s not supported and the store staff will even tell you it doesn’t work, but it does.

      • youbastid says:

        But how much did you pay up front for the iPhone? Subtract the subsidized price and amortize that over 12 months (if you’re wise enough to finagle an iPhone on to GoPhone you can figure out how to upgrade after 12 months). Still probably cheaper than paying on contract, but certainly more than $10/month.

    • Darkneuro says:

      I use VirginMobile, have for years. I don’t use a data package, though, only calling/texting and that costs me about $15-20 every month. My phone is a very old candybar that can’t do anything else. I’ve never had a call drop, never had an issue with reception. Take it for what it’s worth.

  17. cyko79 says:

    I wish I could give the government and interest-fee loan, instead they get my interest-free loan.

  18. Daggertrout says:

    I hardly ever talk on my phone, but somehow I don’t think AT&T would let me drop my voice plan. Maybe I can trick them into thinking I’m really 65 so I can qualify for the 250 minute plan…

  19. chucklebuck says:

    We just switched away from iPhone & 4G Android (total per month: $166) to a Virgin Mobile Android & a feature phone with Ting (total per month: $59). That’s going to be huge for us.

  20. Kyle says:

    What’s the difference whether The Man gets my money for a year at zero interest, or The Bank holds it for me at 2/10%, which is as close to zero as to make no difference?

    But, yeah, it is better to lower your tax payment and instead put that money towards lowering your debt‚Äîthe mortgage, the car loan, the credit card(s)‚Äîthan it is to get that big refund check in April‚Ķwhich is SO tempting to blow on stupid stuff we don’t really need.

  21. britswim04 says:

    If I could drop my minutes plan entirely and just pay for data and texts, I’d be in heaven. I don’t need 450 minutes. I need maybe 100 for the whole month, if I’m travelling.

  22. Gregory says:

    Eating out, even espresso drinks costs dearly… I could spend $6/day on coffee drinks. That could add up to $120 a month! In two days I would have spent as much as a pound of coffee for my home machine, which would last me a month.

    Another great investment is a home soda water maker. $15/month for CO2 creates more than 1 liter of soda water per day. I don’t even want to know what I spent on fizzy drinks before this.

  23. Hungry Dog says:

    Start your own tax exempt religion. This will save you money and quite possibly bring in money too. I for one am all for the Church of Carlin, the Conductor George Carlin is wise with his teachings of life.

  24. Brontide says:

    AT&T smart phones, including the iPhone, can be used on GoPhone for a fraction of the contract pricing assuming you are a light user. Data service costs ~$8/month ( $100/12 is the cheapest you can go ), add in $.10/minute calls, and $.25/sms ( I use GV ) for quote the bargain. Don’t expect support from AT&T, but the information is out there to do this and it does not require jailbreaking or unlocking the phone.

  25. BrownLeopard says:

    I save money on my cig habit by rolling my own; save money on my cell bill by using Boost Mobile with shrinkage (Android phone, unlimited data with no cap, unlimited talk/text and it starts at $55 a month and will go down to $35). Doing this will save me money over time compared to a contract cell plan and buying packs of smokes (last pack I bought was the other day when I ran out of tubes while I was out….cost me $4.61).

  26. Outrun1986 says:

    Eating out does cost dearly, that morning coffee that you buy at $2 a pop also is costing you a lot more than you think it does. I don’t know how people buy $6 Latte’s or whatever every day. I am very thankful that I don’t have a coffee addiction. Some people also like to get delivery constantly at work, which over here is more than $10 per day for a simple meal, this can add up like crazy and become a significant expense. However unless you are eating fast food and bringing a bottle of tap water from home, eating fast food can be cheaper than cooking if you don’t care about what is going into your stomach. Probably not a good idea though as your health will suffer if you eat too much fast food, and eventually you will have health problems that will cost you quite a lot of money in the long run.

  27. Chester Copperpot says:

    I had an Iphone for years and loved it.
    I just recently switched to a virgin mobile prepay phone. a $35 per month smartphone.
    Its no where near as good as the iphone, but it does the job. I like saving money though.

  28. Invader Zim says:

    If you have a smart phone odds are your not to interested in a plain phone. Anywoo these are very common sense suggestions. Where is the article that tells me how to walk.

  29. diagoro says:

    Anyone with a high priced smartphone plan will more than likely also have a very high ETF.

    I considered this, would love to drop my phone bill in half. The only thing I can do though is cut my service as much as possible. Try calling retention, they have access to lower level calling plans/options than the regular reps do. I only use about 5 minutes of talk time, so moved to a 50 minute plan for $19 (I mostly text).

  30. Sean says:

    On the giving the government a free loan. You could put that money into a saving account and earn a whole 1% interest (if you are lucky).

    For a while I was claiming married and 3 (we have one daughter). I raised it up to like married and 5 or 6 and I am still getting a good sized refund.