5 Life Tweaks to Stop Wasting Money

Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 1.

If you're like most Americans, you may feel like your wallet is hemorrhaging money. And in most cases, this is indeed the truth. Unfortunately, most of us are practically wasting money every month by spending more than we should on everyday things.

By making these tweaks to your expenses, you can save as much as hundreds per month. It won't cost you a thing - just a few minutes of your time. And in return you'll basically be getting free money that you can use to save, invest, or even treat yourself!

Life Tweak 1: Dial Down on the Data

If you have a cellphone plan, chances are you're overspending on your data allowance. We all get caught up in the heat of the moment at the Verizon store when we get that shiny new Apple iPhone and tend to sign up for more data than we need. Some carriers even offer "unlimited" services at a hefty price (as much as $450 monthly). But that's ridiculous! With free WiFi just about everywhere, there are few reasons why anyone would need a large data allowance. Take a look at your next cellphone bill and see just how much data you're actually using. Then find a plan that suits your actual needs. You could save as much as $400 per month!

Life Tweak 2: Prescriptions for Less

Think you need to purchase a membership to Costco to use its pharmacy? Think again - many state governments forbid warehouse stores to require membership for customers wanting to fill their prescriptions. That means you can walk in and take advantage of Costco's low prices without ponying up for a year's membership. You'll save $55 per year on the membership, plus more depending on your prescriptions.

Life Tweak 3: Insure a Cheaper Workout

Are you sick of spending a small fortune every month on your gym membership? Your health insurance plan may include reimbursement or even discounts on gym memberships. For example, UnitedHealth has reportedly saved its subscribers as much as $240 per year through gym membership reimbursements. Simply call the member services phone number located on your health insurance card and ask. Or check with your employer's human resources insurance specialist. Be sure to inquire as to any limitations or eligibility requirements.

Life Tweak 4: Go Generic

It's no surprise that purchasing generic products at grocery or discount stores such as Target or Walmart can save you money. However, a recent study from Consumer Reports has revealed just how much money you can save. According to the report, a family of four can save an average of more than $1,100 per year simply by buying generic grocery items. The quality really isn't any different - in some cases, the exact same items are simply rebranded for the store. So there's no reason not to save a small fortune this way.

Life Tweak 5: A Little Negotiation Goes a Long Way

The next time you're in a pleasant mood (with little danger of falling out of it!) give a call to your cable or internet provider and negotiate your way to a better rate. Rule of thumb: Don't be irate! However, do hint that you are considering switching to another provider. If you do your research ahead of time and suggest that you could save money through a competitor, you'll be even more likely to be switched over to the customer retention department where you can work out an even better deal. You could save as much as $20 per month - or perhaps even more - just by making the call to Comcast, DirecTV, or any other provider.

By using life tweaks as these, you can save yourself a lot of money that you can put toward smart investments poised to turn that into even more cash!

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The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.

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