7 ex­penses you can live with­out

You don’t have to can­cel Ama­zon Prime or turn your va­ca­tion into a stay­ca­tion to save money. Here are some less painful things you can cut from your bud­get this year.

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - PHO­TOS VIA GETTY IM­AGES Court­ney Jes­persen

Duplicate cloth­ing

Make this the year you re­solve to stop buy­ing your fa­vorite piece of cloth­ing in ev­ery color of the rain­bow.

“Peo­ple wear the color they like best,” said Kit Yar­row, a con­sumer psy­chol­o­gist and author of “De­cod­ing the New Con­sumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy.”

“The ex­tra one in a differ­ent color is usu­ally for­got­ten and a waste of money.”

Be­fore you buy a blue sweat­shirt to hang along­side those iden­ti­cal yel­low and green ones that are al­ready in your closet, think twice.

Dis­pos­able prod­ucts

The cost of dis­pos­able prod­ucts such as pa­per plates, pa­per tow­els or floor sweeper pads adds up over time and is es­pe­cially no­tice­able if money is tight.

Wash­able prod­ucts are gen­er­ally cheaper than one-time-use prod­ucts, ac­cord­ing to An­nette Econo­mides, author of “Amer­ica’s Cheapest Fam­ily Gets You Right on the Money.”

To get started, opt for a hand towel in­stead of pa­per tow­els; in­stead of dis­pos­able sweeper pads, use a wash­able rag and a bucket of wa­ter.

Small daily ex­penses

Even small pur­chases can be­come ex­pen­sive over time, says Ross Stein­man, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at Wi­dener Uni­ver­sity who stud­ies con­sumer de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Take coffee, for ex­am­ple. “If you pur­chase two drinks from a Star­bucks-type cafe ev­ery day, that’s ap­prox­i­mately $8,” Stein­man says. “Over the course of the year, it’s well over $2,000.”

For coffee, the cost-effec­tive so­lu­tion is to brew your daily cups at home. But look for other small ex­penses – gum or lottery tick­ets, for ex­am­ple – that could also be cost­ing you.

Ex­cess util­i­ties

If you don’t keep a close eye on your heater and air con­di­tioner, money could be seep­ing out of your pocket.

To save money if you leave for the day, try us­ing a pro­gram­mable ther­mo­stat that lets you set the tem­per­a­ture re­motely. That way, you can wait to turn on the heat un­til shortly be­fore you get home, Stein­man sug­gests.

In-app pur­chases

Many of the apps you down­load on your phone, such as games or photo ed­i­tors, have paid ver­sions and op­tions for in-app pur­chases. But spend­ing even a few dol­lars here and there can add up.

Opt for the free ver­sion of the app, and limit in-app pur­chases. In most cases, the non­paid ver­sion works just fine, as long as you’re con­tent with sit­ting through a few ad­ver­tise­ments.

Coupon-in­duced spend­ing

Coupons are great, as long as they’re not en­cour­ag­ing un­nec­es­sary spend­ing.

If a coupon or sale an­nounce­ment spurs you to buy some­thing you wouldn’t have oth­er­wise, you’re not re­ally sav­ing money. A bet­ter ap­proach? Find a coupon to lower the cost of an item you were al­ready go­ing to buy any­way.

Al­co­hol and sweets

Dis­cre­tionary pur­chases such as al­co­hol and sweets are also costly, so con­sume with cau­tion.

Restau­rant bev­er­ages in par­tic­u­lar have a high markup, Yar­row says. She rec­om­mends skip­ping the coffee, iced tea or ex­tra cock­tail.

But not nec­es­sar­ily all of the above

If re­mov­ing all of these things from your bud­get sounds too painful, choose a few to see how much money you can add to your pocket each month in 2019. And pat your­self on the back if you weren’t spend­ing on some of these to be­gin with.

Re­gard­less of which ex­penses you trim, now is a good time to hit re­set on your bud­get.

“Jan. 1. The start of a New Year. They’re all psy­cho­log­i­cal mark­ers,” Stein­man says. “That idea of start­ing fresh and start­ing anew res­onates.”

Court­ney Jes­persen is a staff writer at NerdWal­let, a per­sonal finance web­site. Email: court­[email protected]­let.com. Twit­ter: @Court­neyNerd. NerdWal­let is a USA TO­DAY con­tent part­ner pro­vid­ing gen­eral news, com­men­tary and cov­er­age from around the web. Its con­tent is pro­duced in­de­pen­dently of USA TO­DAY.

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