80ºF

5 things you overpay for

Save up to $500 a month by trying out these tips

Everyone loves a little extra money in their pockets, and chances are you could have a little more just by learning to stop overpaying for things.

Josh Elledge of SavingsAngel.com said it's easy to overspend on common purchases or services, but it's also easy to fix that problem.

"The average person is really overspending on so many different things and the thing is, they don't realize it," said Elledge. "Some of these things are pretty invisible, they're just a part of our lifestyle."

But he's got five tips for people to save some serious cash.

"They can save themselves as much as $400 to $500 a month," said Elledge.

So first up -- saving on gas. It's not about using an app to get the cheapest price. Elledge said instead, the key is how you drive. You're going to want to stop speeding -- and stop driving aggressively.

"Every 5 miles per hour you drive over 60 miles per hour, which is kind of the optimum speed for getting around, will actually cost you as much as 27 cents per gallon," said Elledge. "Everybody else is paying $2.30 a gallon at the fuel pump, but just because you're an aggressive driver who drives fast, you don't. You'll pay more than $3 a gallon just for that driving lifestyle. It really is that big a deal, $50 to $100 instant savings if you just slow down."

Second--Elledge said you're probably spending too much on online purchases, because you could actually be getting money back on most of what you buy.

"One plugin or extension that I recommend you install on all your browsers is from Swagbucks," said Elledge. "And then everywhere you shop, you will save anywhere (from) 10 to 15, even as much as 20 percent you'll get back in the form of SwagBucks. Then when you accumulate so much money, you just go and get a gift card. I am constantly getting $20 gift cards just because I always have that browser plugin installed and so if I'm doing shopping online, even Amazon, pretty much everywhere you shop online, you are always getting cash back. If you do a lot of shopping online, you could get back $50 to $100 a month."

When it comes to number three, Elledge said it's a huge myth that most people believe leaving their air conditioners running while they're not home will save them money later in cooling down the home when they get back. But actually, he said, you're paying more that way.

"The bigger the difference is between the air in your home and the temperature in your home and the temperature outside, the more your AC has to work in order to maintain that temperature differential," said Elledge. "Get a programmable thermostat and use it wisely. The best thing to do is wait maybe 15, 30 minutes before you get home, program your thermostat so if you know you always come home between 5:30 or 6 p.m.,make sure you set that AC to start cranking down about 30 minutes before you get home. This could result in $30, $40, $50 in savings."

Next, Elledge said, don't pay for upgrades. This goes for anything, like a hotel, airline, rental car -- instead, he said, just ask the customer service agents to see if they'll give you an upgrade for free.

"When you have a nice person and they ask for something and you have the ability to give it to them, absolutely you do that," said Elledge. "So this is the language that I actually use. When I check in, I say, 'Oh, I am so grateful to be here, thank you so much. Hey, let me ask, I don't know what your availability or occupancy is right now, but if you have any available upgrades, man, that would be so cool. I don't know if you have the power to do that.' I have actually paid for a $65 room and I have been upgraded to a $450 suite just because I asked. You may be able to save $50, $100, $200 or more monthly."

Lastly, we all have to buy groceries, but Elledge said most people go about it in the most expensive way possible: by buying what they need.

"Stop buying what you need. Only buy the best deals," said Elledge. "Stock up, so when you need something, you go to the freezer, you go to the pantry and you already have it on hand. You want to look through the flyers each week for the stores that you regularly shop at and you want to see if you can find the best deals. That's what you want to stock up on. I never want you paying full price for bread, anything that comes in a box, anything in the dairy aisle with the exception of maybe milk. Anything that you buy should be at 40, 50 percent off or better. For the average American, that means you're pocketing about $200-$300 or more a month just by employing this practice.


About the Author: