Sweating the Big Stuff

Looking back on 2018’s worst ways to save

December 13, 2018

As 2018 rolls along to its grand finale, it’s a good time to reflect on the year that was.

Today, however, we want to look at something a little different – let’s have a look at what not to do when it comes to saving, the worst ways to save of 2018.

At the Money & Career Cheatsheet blog, there are several “worst practices” for saving outlined.

First, the blog notes, don’t always buy everything in bulk. “You’ll just end up spending more money in the long run,” the blog advises. “Let’s be realistic. Are you really going to use these bulk items in a reasonable amount of time? And where are you going to store all of this stuff?” Better, the blog advises to “cherry pick” and buy items when they are on sale at a regular grocery store.

Other tips from the folks at Cheatsheet: avoid store credit cards, which are easier to get but often have the highest interest rates, and don’t skip on retirement savings. “Don’t make excuses for why you can’t save for retirement. You’ll be sorry you didn’t start earlier. Start contributing to your retirement fund as early as possible,” the blog advises.

At the Smartasset blog, the biggest savings mistake identified is not paying off “bad” debt. “Debts such as credit card and personal loans stick with you and tend to have higher interest rates than secured debt,” the blog post explains. “Thus, the longer it takes you to pay these debts off, the more you end up paying in the long run.”

The Sweating the Big Stuff blog says eating at fast food restaurants may feel cheaper than dining at a restaurant, but the less-healthy food will cost you your health. As well, the blog says BOGO-type deals are rarely a great thing. “When you `get one free when you buy four,’” it means you’re buying four when you only wanted one; it means you’re wasting money, not saving it! Think really hard before you get that `great’ deal that’s making you think you’re such a genius,” the blog advises.

The Slice blog echoes some of these points, but adds a few more – paying only the minimum on your credit cards, and cheaping out on insurance – going for the lowest rate rather than focusing on what you want covered.

Save With SPP can think of a few more. It’s always better to save up for a vacation than to get it on credit. You’ll leave the beach and will head home to an inbox full of bills. Using credit card points must be done right. The points are great, but greater if you aren’t running a balance on your cards. Pay the card off each month or as quick as you can. Another one that jumps to mind is paying debt with debt; it seems to fix your short-term problem but creates a much bigger long-term problem.

As we get ready to enjoy the end of 2018, let’s all think about ditching any bad savings habits we have in 2019. We can, instead, make a resolution to do what Cheatsheet advises, and direct some real savings to retirement. The Saskatchewan Pension Plan offers a very flexible way to do just that.

Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. After a 35-year career as a reporter, editor and pension communicator, Martin is enjoying life as a freelance writer. He’s a mediocre golfer, hopeful darts player and beginner line dancer who enjoys classic rock and sports, especially football. He and his wife Laura live with their Sheltie, Duncan, and their cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22