Don’t agree? Feel free to comment below to try and tell me why I’m wrong.
If you bought your furniture from some name brand furniture store with a fancy showroom and the ability to finance, you made a mistake. I guarantee you paid way too much. The prices of furniture vary dramatically, while for the most part quality is pretty standard.
Where can you get cheap furniture instead then? How about craigslist? ksl? Or whatever the used market classified equivalent is. Even if you are not willing to clean up a used couch or mattress, you have to be willing to at least find a dining room table this way right? If you want new there are a number of stores that had quality stuff at good deals. In our area we have Ikea, Big Lots, Costco, and even a flea market selling new furniture as options. Do your homework and don’t overpay! My living room (that people really do say they like) features Craig’s list couches, Costco rug, and Ikea table and shelves. Everything under $600.
There is a lot of advice out there about automobiles, but getting this one right is pretty easy; you should buy a used car and always pay cash.
New cars often lose 15% of their value the day you drive them off the lot, require more expensive full coverage insurance, cost more to register, and will compel you to be whiny and anal about taking care of it. If you can afford the down payment on a new car, you likely can find a used car in price range of that down payment.
A cheap used car may not last you as long, but with all the money you are saving each month you can soon have enough to buy a nice used car cash.
3. Eating Out
Don’t eat out unless you have a really good reason to, and lunch is not a good reason to. If you are going out with a group of friends and meeting up at a restaurant, that’s fine, but does everyone really want to go a fancy sit down restaurant, or would the group be just as content meeting at someone’s house?
As a general rule you should bring your lunches from home rather than going out by yourself. Not only will you save a ton of money, but you will often save time. Eating out adds up a whole lot quicker than you think.
How many of you shop around for months to save $10 on the flight, but arrive in the destination and immediately blow over $1,000 on booze, fancy hotel, and entertainment? By planning your attractions ahead of time you can save a ton of money.
Also, consider switching up the time you actually go on vacation. This weekend I’m headed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. With it being Vallarta’s slow season (September) we were able to book a 5-star all-inclusive resort room that is normally priced at $500 a night for $90 a night – and guess what else, the flights and rental car were a lot cheaper as well!
Don’t become house poor (by most definitions this is spending about 40% or more of your income on your living situation).
Everyone needs a place to live, but make sure your decision on where to live doesn’t make you house poor. If you are house poor today, then you should consider moving to a smaller place, getting a roommate, or even moving cities (yes I’m talking about you in the Bay Area).
6. Credit Card Debt
This one is obvious, but don’t have credit card debt. This is typically the most expensive type of debt so if you are choosing to pay something else off before you pay off your credit card, you are probably making a mistake. With credit card debt that you leave on the card for a year, that $10 Chipotle burrito can EASILY become a $250 money pit.
7. Student Loans/University
Do not take out more student loans than you need, and only take them out if you have a realistic career goal. Go to an affordable state university instead of a private one.
There is nothing wrong with taking out student loans to jump start your career, but if you are going to school to figure out what you want to do, or plan on majoring in Play Doh sculpting, don’t do it with student loans. My job has taken me to a lot of college campuses around the world and one thing that seems almost universal is that there are young people having fun on campus. Don’t think you need to go across the country and pay out of state tuition to find it.
Oh, and if you can get a scholarship by going somewhere, take it!
If you are an attractive girl this one is easy, but if you are like the rest of us and aren’t spontaneously getting offered free drinks, don’t waste your money on booze. If you want to get blackout drunk, don’t do it in the club, or at least don’t do all of it in the club where the drinks are $15. Pre-game it at home, or at least set firm limits. Limit yourself by only taking a set amount of cash instead of credit cards into the bar.
Oh and for the guys, if a girl is into you, she will be willing to talk to you whether you buy her a drink or not. Don’t be that creepo who thinks a girl owes him something because you bought her a drink.
9. Keeping too much stuff/ Not selling while it still has value
If you have too much stuff you are more likely to feel like you need a bigger place, which could tempt you to become house poor. It also could keep you from cashing in on selling your junk.
It is super easy to sell your old stuff. Consignment shops will buy nice used clothes, Amazon old textbooks, a ton electronics companies will buy your old cell phone, and shockingly there seems to be a buyer on eBay for just about anything else.
How long did you keep your DVDs and CDs? Do you really think you will ever use them again? If you had been on top of your game, you could have made good money on Amazon from each of those.
Do you have clothes with the tags still on them hanging in your closet? Have they been there for over a year? Need I say more?
Don’t impulse buy; be selective about where you shop and be willing to make returns if you aren’t going to wear it!
If you like buying clothes that is fine, but make sure you set a firm budget and stick to it. Sign up to your favorite store’s email lists (yes they are annoying, but lots of stores often have 50% sales). Order from places that have free shipping and free returns.
10. Not Negotiating
You would be shocked at how many prices are able to be haggled down. I know that the process can be annoying, but a simple request for a discount can often be enough.
Did you know that with a single quick request you can often get a discount on automobile tires, cell phone and cable bills, or even get a college scholarship increased?
By not asking for a discount, you are leaving money on the table.