10 Unnecessary Expenses

Here’s another article from Yahoo! Finance that lists 10 Expenses You Don’t Need and my summary of their explanations:

1. Parking – The article suggests finding free parking in the street.

2. Banking Fees of All Sorts – Don’t pay overdraft fees, use your own bank’s ATM’s, use free coin counting machines, and pay your bills online to save postage.

3. Basic Investing Advice – You can do a lot of the basics on your own for free.

4. Help Applying for Financial Aid – Instead of paying someone else $79.99, apply at www.fafsa.ed.gov for free.

5. Pet Care – Exchange pet sitting with a responsible neighbor, friend, or family member.

6. Insurance on Rental Cars – Your own collision insurance covers you and your credit card may offer free coverage as well.

7. Credit Reports – Don’t pay, just use www.annualcreditreport.com.

8. Warranties – The author used an example of a $125 warranty on a $250 phone.

9. Shipping for Online Shopping – www.freeshipping.org may help you find codes for free or discounted shipping at hundreds of online retailers.

10. Water – You can save a lot by not purchasing bottled water all the time.

Here was my first take on this list:

1. Parking – It would be awesome to find a free parking space every time, but in downtown Houston, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning on the same day you win the lottery than you do of being able to find a free parking space every time.

2. Banking Fees of All Sorts – I actually agree. You can easily avoid almost all bank fees with a little planning. If you are banking with a company that has unavoidable fees, please take a look at finding a new bank unless the fees are buying you something that you can’t get elsewhere. I’m a huge fan of ING Direct as a main bank and local credit unions for brick and mortar needs like check deposits.

3. Basic Investing Advice – I also agree. Unless you glaze over when it comes to anything money-related (which sometimes happens), you can probably figure out most basics on your own.  You could start by reading a few posts like Dollar Cost Averaging.  ;-)

4. Help Applying for Financial Aid – Yes, FAFSA is awesome if you qualify. And yes, applying for other scholarships or grants can be done on your own. BUT, if you are not a go-getter, I see nothing wrong with paying an acceptable fee to someone else to apply for a ton of free money for you. I wish I had done this since I severely slacked off and only received about half the scholarships I could have if I had just had some follow through.

5. Pet Care – My in-laws are sweet enough to watch our two small dogs for us when we go on vacation and we have friends that have offered to be backup, but that isn’t always an option for everyone. Don’t feel bad if you have to pay for pet care…it’s better than leaving them to starve, right?

6. Insurance on Rental Cars – I don’t have collision on my crummy Aveo, but Discover More does offer collision coverage on rental cars. I just have to remember to use that card when paying…

7. Credit Reports – I agree. Annual Credit Report works great and you can space out your inquiries every 4 months from the 3 different agencies. You could also use www.creditkarma.com to check your Transunion credit score for free.

8. Warranties – This is tricky. I know people who have had to use warranty coverage enough that they come out ahead almost every time. I also know that I personally have never had anything break when it could have still been under a warranty, so I’ve come out way ahead by NOT buying them. It’s definitely a gamble either way. I’d rather just “self-insure” – I probably wouldn’t want the same product anyway if it couldn’t last longer than a warranty’s coverage period.

9. Shipping for Online Shopping – I hadn’t heard of www.freeshipping.org until this week, so I can’t vouch for it. I do shop online – a lot. My rule of thumb is to find the best overall deal – item price plus shipping. That means that sometimes I end up finding it on Amazon and can get the shipping for free with Amazon Prime (long story, but I don’t pay for it) or sometimes it’s cheaper even with shipping elsewhere. This system always works for a good deal and I rarely have to drive to actual stores, yay! :-)

10. Water – Bottled water seems weird to me. We like the bottles, so we do purchase a case or two twice a year and refill the bottles with tap water until they have become unwashable, but I couldn’t imagine living on bottled water alone. That would be really expensive and I can’t taste the difference. I have a really awful sense of taste (my pallet sucks), but that comes it handy more often than not, lol. ;-)

What do you think of their list?

10 Unnecessary Expenses

Sweating the Big Stuff

29 thoughts on “10 Unnecessary Expenses

  1. #1 Parking, brought a smile to my face. My dad, brought up in the depression was TOTALLLY OPPOSED to paying for parking!! He would park in an alley, in an obscure lot belonging to a business not open on the week end (with a big TOWING sign). He would never park in a lot of garage that charged. The upside was, he probably got more parking tickets due to this habit!! Even now I’m smiling. Sometimes trying to save ends up costing.

    1. @Barb Friedberg, your dad was a classic case of paying for the principle of the matter. My mom has paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the principle of the matter. She usually railed against bad customer service or stood in line for a LONG time to get 5 cent refunds due to mispriced stuff. Sadly (maybe thankfully) I’ve inherited her stubborness on the same issues, lol. :-)

  2. I hate paying for parking as well. As far as warranties go, I’ve often purchased them for big ticket items like TVs or exercise equipment. For the TVs, I find that SquareTrade is the way to go. Don’t buy it from the same place that sells you the TV as they always (ALWAYS) charge a lot more. You can usually find 20-30% off coupon codes for SquareTrade as well. I think for expensive TVs it is worth it, and since I usually find a Slickdeal on them as it is, even adding the warranty has kept the total price in check.

  3. We never bought bottled water growing up, just used a pitcher in the fridge. I don’t even understand buying a case of bottled water. I guess it helps that I have lived in small shared spaces, where having a giant case of this would just be a huge nuisance. When I’m at home I just drink out of a glass…

    1. @leslie, we just drank out of a glass until we moved to our house. The water here is super chlorinated and almost undrinkable unless it airs out a little. That’s what we use the bottles for, storage while it gets less chemically…we also are big fans of using our Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker regularly. The water tastes fine when it’s combined with tea and sugar. :-)

  4. Agree on everything but the parking and warranty’s

    Ditto for parking in Boston. Almost all of the free parking is for residents only. It’s not practical in big cities and when I go I build it into my budget. In smaller towns, usually parking is nominal..one garage I know of is $0.50/hr. The town wants you there shopping, so parking is cheap and I don’t mind it.

    Warranty’s – well, I’m starting to think that durable goods are designed to only last through the warranty period, not it’s expected life. I’m still on the fence about this one. A service call is about the price of the warranty. I’ll have to look at that square trade site.

    1. Warranties – many credit card companies offer a free warranty of one year beyond Manufacturer’s warranty. I lucked out with a paper shredder (piece of garbage from Office Max), which broke down after 15 months (1 year warranty) but AmEx gave me a full credit (which I used to buy a better model from Fellowes).

    2. @Sandy L, yeah, sometimes free parking just doesn’t exist at the time you need it. I’m also a toss up on warranties but ira (commenter below) must have a similar credit card as I do. Discover More gives us an extra year on electronics as well.

  5. I must be of the same generation of Barb’s dad and your Mom. When bottled water was first introduced, I commented to my wife, “That is the stupidest think I have ever heard of. Who will pay money for something they can get for free out of a water tap?” Of course I was wrong, but I still refuse, for matter of principle, to buy bottled water. My wife says I am hard headed. Hmmmm.

  6. I love bottled water for long car trips, but that is about it.

    Where I live, parking is generally free, so that is no big deal. But when we went to Washington DC – yikes! Or, what you pay at some hotels to park overnight can cost a fortune. Sometimes you have no choice I guess if you don’t know where you are real well.

    Warranties – well I bought one for my new laptop since my last laptop fried a few months after the regular warranty expired (cruddy HP). I generally do not buy them though. Especially not for a car.

  7. Great input Dan.

    Thanks for the reminder about insurance on car rentals. Taking a trip soon and I have liability but the wife has collision.

    Also take a look at my blog on Friday (Aug 13) I’m writing about why there will probably be more bank fees and higher fees very soon.

  8. Totally disagree with Pet Care, hello vet bills. That is like having a baby and not expecting to have to visit the doctors.

      1. @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Having a dog sitter is key. There is a neighborhood boy who wants a dog, but his parents won’t let him have one, but doesn’t mind him watching our dog if we need to go out of town. Great opportunity there. He gets some cash, learns responsibility, and get a dog for the weekend. We get a cheap sitter and our dog gets more attention than normal.

  9. Sorry I guess this was Crystal’s post not Dan’s.
    Hence all the replies from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. my bad.

  10. these are all in my mind ways to slowly but surely save on a few different areas that will potentially add up a nice chunk of money.

    i have personally avoided parking near my work and even took it the extra mile and have started to take the bus to work adding even more to my bottom line.

  11. I used to live in Boston and the parking was sooo terrible you were better off paying and using the time to sleep better and be more efficient at work lol. As far as the other stuff goes I’m on the same page as you – especially the bottled water. In a pinch I’ll spring for it but I’m a huge fan of still carrying like a Nalgene or those new anti-microbacterial green bottles. Sure you pay for the bottle but the refills are always free :) Great post and nice re-break down!

  12. I sure wish that I never had to pay for parking, but living in Toronto parking is a hot commodity. You cannot possibly find a spot on the road every time you go out, and the spots on the road are usually paid parking with meters. I take the subway to work to avoid having to pay for parking, and I am paying less for this than parking.

  13. Here in the UK parking can be ridiculously expensive but luckily I work for a large national company and having registered my numberplate as an employee I can now park in any of their hundreds of staff carparks anywhere in the country which has come in very handy indeed :-)

  14. Why do you even buy a case or two of bottled water each year? Just buy some sturdy reusable bottles, put a water filter on your sink faucet, and you’re good to go! My personal favorite water bottle is Camelbak. They’re a little pricey, but I got mine for free. Plus, you’re saving plastic, which is more environmentally friendly anyway. :)

  15. My absolute frustration in life, is paying ATM charges…
    In Canada, ATM machines that are NOT from your particular bank,
    charge you from $1.50-$3.00 to withdrawal the money, and then the
    BANK dings you with another $1.50. So in theory, the $40 you took
    out — would have just cost you $4.50, an 11% surcharge on simply
    accessing your own money. I’ve since become a lot better at this,
    and have ‘backup’ cash around my home for when I really need it, as
    well, I’ve become a lot more aquatinted with where my bank
    locations actually are.

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