Time is irreversible! Many of us would love to return in a period or few, and capture some of the cash, we have unnecessary used on products we didn’t’ need, items that broke, and services we never used. Money spent on things that didn’t bring real value or happiness to life could have been much more useful for effortless retirement a few years earlier or simply allowing us to enjoy life without constrains.
When you think about the amount of cash that flows through our hands over the years, it is truly bewildering. Nowadays, the average employee will make over AED3 million during their working career, and higher-income job holders literally have many millions that flow through their households. When you think about how much of that is wasted, it will take your breath away, or make you seriously depressed for what might have been.
Controlling the waste and seizing the savings is vital to your emotional and physical wellbeing. Consider evaluating where you waste your money and how to avoid that. Here are the most common ways to waste your hard-earned money:
High tech gadgets
Technology makes our lives easier. In fact, I use my iPad instead of a laptop, and I love it. It is so much easier to carry, and I can do everything I need to run my business when I am traveling as well as when I am simply commuting to and from the office. There are, however, hundreds of high tech gadgets that end up being expensive clutter in our houses and simply abandoned. Being an early adapter in technology is one thing, but sometimes technology is simply a waste of money. And if you are “empowering” your children by providing them with the latest gadgets, it is even wasting more money. Skipping most of the high techs yearly could turn into few thousands or even ten thousands savings.
If you are an average driver, the cash wasted over 20 years could easily total AED20,000 at the rate of an AED1,000 per annum. If that money could be invested, the amount will actually even grow.
Gym memberships, spa memberships, online gaming websites membership, special discount membership, exclusive dinning membership, business council memberships and more are very familiar terms to all. Few hundreds, few thousands and even few tens for a website that our children use add up to a rounded amount of tens thousands annually.
Cable and digital TV
When I was a child, we didn’t have to pay for TV, because advertisers paid for it and we had to watch the commercials. Now we pay for TV, and we still have to watch the commercials every 5 or 10 minutes. Granted, we didn’t have a selection of 1000 channels, but we did have two good ones. Today, the average household spends about AED250 per month on TV, and that does not include renting movies from du. We take it for granted that we should have Orbit or Show Time packages. If we didn’t and could save and invest the difference, our lack of TV watching would save us about AED 60,000 over 20 years, without interest. That is one expensive pastime we take for granted.
Bargain clothes shopping
People who pride themselves on being frugal often are “penny wise, pound foolish” in that they focus on the “bargain” aspect of a purchase rather than the “use” aspect of a purchase. An item is not a bargain, even if it is advertised at “50% off” if it is never used. Many people who “go shopping” just to shop end up with clothes that are rarely (if ever) worn and that money is completely wasted. A better way to shop for clothes is to analyze your wardrobe first, decide what you need and bargain shop for the staples such as khaki pants or dress shirts and splurge on special items that are either seasonal, but you will get a ton of use from or are tried and true classic items. The average UAE consumer spends over ten thousand on apparel yearly, as the shopping malls are the main outdoor venues. If half of that is wasted on useless bargains, it could be invested instead and grow.
Buying pet supplies at the pet store
Cat, dog, hamsters, turtles and so on – all of us have had a few in our own childhood or as adults. Imagine the pet shop, full of cute colorful little things that will make your lovely pet even cutter. Well, wise pet owners manage to spend within a limit of few hundreds a month, including the Christmas gifts.
The luxury 4×4
Nowadays, in the Middle East, it is considered mandatory for families with children. Originally, it is a sports utility vehicle and by definition it is for sports and utility. However, in Dubai, it is the family car destined to deliver the cildren to school in comfort and safety. A Lexus GX SUV is well over AED200,000, while a Ford Explorer XLT start at above AED130,000. Insurance and fuel consumption is higher with the luxury 4×4.
There is nothing we can do about what we wasted yesterday, but what we do today will have an impact on tomorrow.
What few things do you waste cash on that don’t bring real value to your life now, but could significantly impact your happiness later?