10 Silly and Ineffective Ways to Save Money

Man with empty piggybank
vchal / Shutterstock.com

While everyone knows it’s important to save money for the future, not all methods of accumulating cash are equally effective.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the nation’s savings rate for disposable income in December fell to a 12-year low of just 2.4 percent. It’s not that people don’t try to save. Very often, the problem lies in the methods they choose.

Here are 10 ways that people attempt to save that really do not work. Read on to find out if you need to change your savings strategy.

1. Making minimum payments on credit card bills

Woman with small coin purse
Phovoir / Shutterstock.com

It may seem like you’re saving money when you make a minimum credit card payment, but you have to consider the interest due on the unpaid balance. Paying off debts takes much longer when you’re paying the minimum while the interest charge is added to the balance each month. It’s better to pay your bills in full and on time.

2. Delaying home maintenance projects

Photodiem / Shutterstock.com

It’s easy to put off home maintenance projects, but such delays tend to catch up with you. Eventually you’ll have to pay for repairs. Leaky roofs don’t fix themselves and tend to get worse over time. If you have a termite program, the longer you want to fumigate, the more damage those pests will do.

If you decide to sell a home that’s in need of a repair, you’ll get less from the buyer, who will factor in the cost of correcting delayed maintenance. You’re better off taking care of your home as problems arise. In addition to having a more pleasant place to live in, your home will have a higher value when you sell it.

3. Going the do-it-yourself route

FernandoMadeira / Shutterstock.com

Some people decide to save money by doing repairs around the house themselves. That’s fine if you have the skills to pull it off, but if you get in over your head, you’ll need to call in a professional. Repairing faucets or leaky pipes is harder than it sounds. A botched repair job may cost more to fix in the long run. Be honest with yourself about your capabilities before you tackle a home repair project.

For more detail on this subject, check out “Are DIY Home Renovations a Good Idea?”

4. Letting your health insurance lapse

IAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock.com

When times are hard, it’s tempting to stop paying premiums and let your health insurance lapse, particularly if you’re young and healthy and can’t imagine ever getting sick. The problem with that is anyone can be injured or hit with a serious illness that requires medical treatment. According to the government website HealthCare.gov, an injury as simple as a broken leg can cost up to $7,500 in medical costs. A typical three-day stay in the hospital will cost you about $30,000. The cost of treating cancer can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. You’re better off playing it safe and buying health insurance, which will help cover those costs.

5. Skipping visits to the dentist

Dundanim / Shutterstock.com

Delaying routine dental checkups could allow problems with your teeth to go undetected. This could lead to bigger and more serious problems down the line, such as the need for root canals, said Mark Durrenberger, a financial planner and author of “The Modern Day Millionaire.” You’ll ultimately save money by taking good care your teeth.

Looking for ways to defray the cost of that care? Check out: “How to Have Healthy Teeth and Avoid Crazy Dental Fees.”

6. Buying perishable food in bulk

Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

You will pay less for food if you buy it in bulk, but there’s a danger that much of your savings will be lost when excess food items spoil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of America’s food supply is wasted. So unless you plan to keep a close eye on product expiration dates and eat all of your leftovers, don’t buy perishable items by the pallet. Instead, stock up on canned goods, things you can freeze and household products like toilet paper that you know you will use.

7. Shopping at multiple grocery stores

Shopping cart.
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

It may seem like you’re saving money when you comb through grocery store ads looking for the best deals at multiple stores, but there are hidden costs. According to financial adviser Tammy Johnston, people often fail to factor in the value of the extra time they spend shopping or the cost of driving to more than one location each time they need groceries. She holds that it’s more cost-effective to pick one store, become familiar with its prices and buy the items you need when they go on sale.

8. Buying discounted items without checking the price per unit

Man shopping at grocery store.
Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock.com

If the grocery store where you shop has unit price labels, which are required in some states, you should use them to determine which products are the least expensive. Consumers often buy sale items without first checking the per-unit cost. Some brands are so costly to begin with that they’re more expensive than competing brands (in per-unit terms), even after being marked down.

9. Buying sale items you don’t truly need

Frantic looking woman with shopping bags.
Billion photos / Shutterstock.com

Sometimes it’s hard to resist a bargain. When something is marked 30 or 40 percent off, it’s very tempting to buy it, even if you wouldn’t normally make the purchase. If you don’t truly need something, you can’t save money by buying it at a discount. An expensive coat that spends years hanging unused in a closet doesn’t benefit anyone. So get a grip on your shopping impulses. When you see a bargain, ask yourself if the product is something you really will use.

Check out: “18 Simple Ways to Slam the Brakes on Impulse Buys.”

10. Buying minimal car insurance

Upset driver in front of car accident
Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock.com

Some people try to save money by purchasing the minimum amount of car insurance required by state law. The problem is that the minimum level of coverage may not be enough to cover your costs if you are involved in an accident that causes injuries or property damage. If you are found to be legally responsible for a serious accident, you could be required to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars beyond the limits of your coverage. You’ll sleep better if you know that you have an adequate auto policy.

Have you stumbled on silly ways of saving or great tricks for piling up cash? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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

Read Next
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement

Medicare can be confusing. Beware these missteps — which can hike your costs.

7 Things That Prove Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
7 Things That Prove Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

These purchases can end up costing you more if you try to go the cheap route.

10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

16 Affordable Products That Could Save Your Life
16 Affordable Products That Could Save Your Life

You’ll want to order these sometimes surprising products from Amazon ASAP.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

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.

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

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

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.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

This Is America’s New Favorite Grocery Store
This Is America’s New Favorite Grocery Store

Consumers say a familiar name has become their go-to source of grocery items.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire
The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire

I’m a millionaire several times over. I got here the same way you can — by following these simple steps.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

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.