Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to stop the daily coffees or to start bringing lunch to work every day.
But as someone with six weddings (so far) to attend next year and a holiday to pay for (first world problems), here’s what I’ve learnt to never spend money on. Kids and smokes aside, I’ve been guilty of all of these. So do yourself a favour and steer clear of these wallet emptiers.
1. Clothing Fads
As tempting as it is to open your wallet and walk away with a pair of meggings/Birkenstocks/denim cut-offs that don’t fit, think twice. Just because it looks good on a few celebrities and is in a few magazines doesn’t mean you need to be a slave to the latest craze.
This is hard. But then I remember the maxi dresses, gladiator sandals, and harem pants in my wardrobe that have never been worn.
Clothing fads rarely look good on most people, so do yourself a favour and stick to what looks good on you. If you don’t know, ask a mate. Not a General Pants salesgirl.
Think of clothes as a long-term investment, and use the cost per wear calculation to see just how much bang you get for your buck.
2. Gross Art
Whether it’s a “cool” print you’ve spotted, some sort of sculpture or an “alternative” painting, art’s probably not a great thing to spend your money on. Sure, art’s subjective, but good art usually comes with a huge price tag.
And if you’re buying from Bonham’s, then I’ll assume you’re not reading about living large for less, because you’re busy tending to an art collection and private jets and fancy cars. Unless of course, all of that is on credit, in which case read on.
Decorating a place you own or rent can be really fun. But it doesn’t mean you need to go overboard at IKEA. A blank wall is better than a $120 mass-produced print.
As if there aren’t enough digital channels anyway, Foxtel is just another way to grab your cash and leave you watching Geordie Shore marathons all weekend.
That $74 a month (for the sport or entertainment combo), plus installation ($75) and box fee ($75) is a sweet $1000 you could’ve saved in a year.
Plus, more time in front of the TV isn’t the most productive thing you could be doing, so cancel those thousand channels and get out there and live a little!
4. Bank Fees
Aussie banks are the most profitable in the world, with the big four making $27 billion in profit last year. So they don’t need any more of your money.
From ATM charges to late fees and huge interest payments on personal loans and credit cards, it’s a cost out of your pocket and straight into theirs.
So open a free transaction account, make sure to go to your bank’s ATMs to withdraw cash and pay those debts on time. Simple as that.
5. Fat Traps
Ab-blasters, weight-loss teas, fitspiration guides, cold-pressed juicers, unused Bikram yoga passes…the list goes on.
A magic pill or machine isn’t going to turn you into a hot rig, so no matter how convincing their advertising is, don’t buy into them.
I’m a sucker for a superfood as much as the next person, but they’re not the key to a six-pack in time for summer. The only way to get in shape is with a good diet and exercise, so throw out those crazy ideas and go for a run. It’s free.
6. Lotto Tickets
The odds of winning one game of six winning numbers is approximately 1: 8,145,060, which is pretty much zero. So rather than giving your money to another huge corporation, hold onto it yourself and buy something else instead. Shares or your savings account are better bets.
A pack of cigarettes (let’s say $16) every day for ten years is $58,000, and that doesn’t even account for the government hiking taxes on smokes every year. Now I’d rather a house deposit than lung cancer, so as a non-smoker, this is a pretty easy one to preach about.
And again, as a non-child owner, it’s easy not to spend money on kids when you don’t have them. Deal with this one when you’re older and wiser.
Image: Alina Sofia, via Flickr