Learning to manage your money is an ongoing process. To help you on your journey, we pulled together a list of money mistakes you might not even realize you’re making. After all, even the most financially-savvy among us can make money mistakes from time to time.
Here are five money mistakes you don’t realize you’re making:
Paying for subscriptions or memberships you don’t use.
Are you signed up for a subscription box that you toss in the trash each month? How about that gym membership that’s gone unused for weeks? It just might be time to cut the cord. Sure, making these financial commitments might seem like a good idea (only $10 a month), but they’re actually a waste if you’re not putting them to use.
Don’t feel the need to cut everything off at once. Try cutting back on 1 or 2 to start and then go from there. Need some help? Free apps like Trim, TrueBill, and Bobby can help manage and cancel subscription services for you.
Not buying generic.
Thanks to fancy packaging and prominent advertising, many of us fall into the trap where “name brand” equates to “higher quality.” This is simply not true. Opting for generic products, rather than name brand items, offers up the opportunity to save big – especially at the grocery store. Next time you go food shopping, consider making the switch.
Buying things “because they’re on sale.”
We’ve all been there. You’re minding your own business when a 50% off sale pops into your inbox. Suddenly, you’re tempted to stock up on all sorts of items you haven’t even thought about prior to this notification. They’re on sale, so it’s okay….right?
Buying items you don’t need just because they’re discounted is an easy way to drive up unnecessary spending. Instead, think about whether you actually need these items before you fill up your cart. Is the sale on the moisturizer you use every day? Is it on a new coat you’ve had your eye on for weeks? Go ahead and take advantage of the savings. If it’s a polka-dotted tie you never knew you wanted, it might be a good time to pass.
Letting small purchases add up.
A latte one day, takeout the next, and a couple of snacks at the end of the week…these items add up. Small indulgences are okay here and there but pay attention to how much they cost you each week. You might be surprised by how much you’re shelling out for things that, on an individual basis, are fairly inexpensive.
There are a few different ways to start tracking your spending. One simple and straightforward method is simply to jot down everything you buy for one week. Another strategy would be to download an expense tracking app like Mint, which helps you track and categorize your spending.
Not having a rainy day fund.
You pay your bills on time and you even have some spending money left over each month. You’re all set, right?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where “things happen” and having an emergency fund can be a huge life-saver. Whether it’s an unexpected fender bender or an extra trip to the doctor, it’s important to have money stowed away in the event you need some extra cash. Each month, take some of your income and put it into a savings account – even if it’s just a little at a time. You’ll be thankful in the long run.
This article originally appeared on The College Juice, powered by Barnes & Noble College.