5 Expenses You Shouldn’t Trim and What to Do Instead

Photo (cc) by Images_of_Money

Times are tough, and they don’t seem to be getting much better. Fourteen million Americans were still unemployed last month, and that hasn’t changed much since April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many people are understandably looking for ways to cut expenses and stretch their dollars. There are lots of ways to do that, but some seemingly logical ideas actually end up more expensive in the long run. And let’s face it: Things may still look this grim for many months to come.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers a few examples of being “penny wise, pound foolish,” along with a few suggestions for smarter savings. Check it out, and then read on for more.

1. Car maintenance

Bad idea: Skipping an oil change. You could save $30 now, but that’s little consolation when you see smoke under the hood because your engine seized up, leaving you with a $5,000 bill.

Better idea: If your car’s running well, cut back on tune-ups instead. Check with your mechanic, but many will say that if your car seems to be running fine, you may not need it.

2. Car insurance

Bad idea: Reducing your liability coverage. Whatever you might save, it’s not worth it in case of an accident. You need enough insurance to cover your net worth.

Better idea: If you’ve got a clunker that’s only worth a few hundred bucks, consider dropping collision and comprehensive. That’s one of several ways to save on car insurance. Another idea? Raise your deductibles.

3. Health

Bad idea: Skipping or splitting your prescription doses. Even if you’re feeling fine and can halve costs, it’s not worth it if you end up in the hospital.

Better idea: Consult with your doctor about all your medications and see if there’s anything you could stop or cheaper medications you could substitute. Ask about free samples and generic versions – many popular drugs are going generic in the next year. Our recent story Many Prescription Drugs Are Getting Cheaper Soon has details and other ideas.

4. Home

Bad idea: Cutting back on homeowner’s insurance. As Stacy pointed out, even if home values are dropping, replacement and repair costs aren’t.

Better idea: Raising your deductible. Going from $250 to $1,000 can save you 15 percent or more, and that’s less risky than lowering your overall coverage. Make sure you protect everything inside by having a home inventory too. There are also ways to save on renter’s insurance.

5. Credit

Bad idea: This may be the most obvious bite-you-in-the-butt decision, but don’t ever miss loan payments or pay the minimum. That’s no way to get ahead, even if it gives you more flexibility now.

Good idea: Use Unbury.me to take a look at how much extra interest you’ll owe by skipping or cutting payments, and learn the best way to pay off debt.

Bottom line? There are tons of ways to save money – just make sure you’re picking the smart ones. Check out 10 Painless Ways to Save $1,000 for more ideas.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000
26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000

These lucrative gigs let you work in your slippers.

Secret Ways to Save on Netflix
Secret Ways to Save on Netflix

These little-known savings tactics can help whittle down what you pay for your streaming video subscription — every month.

21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On
21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On

With some items, it makes sense to pay a little more rather than hopping on the lowest price.

10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve meals — and your budget.

15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales
15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales

You can save a ton of money — especially if you spot any of these items.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.