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Instant Riches: Stop Wasting Your Money on These Five Things

Wasting money. It's become almost a national pastime. It seems like people are actually inventing new ways to waste money every day. For example, some people refuse to eat leftovers, kick up the heat during the wintertime so they can walk around the house in a t-shirt and underwear, and leave leave the lights on in several rooms while they're at work.

With new technologies in online video, wasting money becomes even easier. Consider this: many of the movies you can rent for anywhere between a dollar and $4.00 can be watched for free on Netflix (assuming you have the service). How many times do you think people pay for movies that they can watch freely (and legally) online? But it doesn't end with movies.

The Lattes

You love getting that morning latte from Starbucks or your favourite coffee shop. What's so special about it? Maybe it's the ritual of drinking warm, frothy, milky, caffeine. Maybe it's the person who makes your coffee. Whatever it is that you like, you like it. So, why should you stop buying that morning cup? Because it's expensive, and it's probably a waste of money.

Did you know that Consumer Reports' blind taste test found that McDonald's coffee was actually better-tasting that Starbucks? The signature taste of the hip coffee joint (Starbucks) is actually burned beans. Why burned? You only burn a coffee bean to hide what it would taste like if you gave them a medium or dark roast.

That's not to say that Starbucks doesn't have its place, but it's probably not worth the spend every morning for what is arguably very average coffee. Thankfully, you can reproduce even mediocre coffee right in your own home and it doesn't take that long to make, either. Get a decent bean (i.e. Larry's Beans, Counter Culture), and you can turn your home into a cheap coffee house every morning. It's cheaper, and it'll taste better. Problem solved.

New CDs and DVDs

You love ripping the plastic off of a new CD or DVD, but stop and think about the costs of buying new. With technologies like Pandora, iTunes radio, and Spotify, you can listen to all the free music your ears can handle. If you just have to have something, check out the used bin in your favourite second-hand music store.

Eating Out

It's quick. It's easy. It's also expensive. Millions of people eat out every day. if you spend even $8 a day on lunch you're spending $40 a week, $160 a month, $1,920 per year. If you're avoiding companies like  Kanetix.ca because you can't afford a life insurance policy right now for your family, consider that a $250,000 term policy won't run most middle-aged people in decent health more than $1,000 a year. If you're younger, there's really no excuse for throwing away important expenses like this for a sandwich and soup deal at the local deli or a "value meal" at a fast-food joint. 

Lottery Tickets

You know the odds, so why play? It's a loser's bet. It might be fun but so are a lot of other things. Really, this one is something you can cut out of your life totally and there's a 99.99999999+ per cent chance you'll be better off for it.

Gasoline

The best way to save money on gasoline is to not drive. Of course, you probably can't avoid driving completely. Here's how to manage it while saving money: plan out your trips. That's it. So, when you know you'll have to do several things this week, try to lump them together into one day. Then plan out a route that lets you accomplish everything without doubling back on yourself.

When it's sunny outside, consider going for a walk. You'll get fresh air, save money, and that'll probably make you feel pretty good.

Robert Conway has a large family and is always looking for ways to cut costs. An avid writer, he likes to help others by sharing what he has learned by posting on various websites.