Today's post comes from Dan Burke. The opinions contained in this post are the author’s own and are not necessarily those of Brad's Deals.
Saving money is always a wise financial move - well, almost always. There are plenty of strategies for keeping more money in your wallet, but a few of them actually may not be worth your time. If your instinct is to conserve cash wherever and whenever you can, take a look at the following money-saving strategies you'd be better off avoiding.
If you see a great offer on a deal of the day website like Groupon or LivingSocial, don't automatically assume it's going to save you money. Sometimes you can actually get the product through other outlets at the same price - or possibly a lower one.
For service-based deals like spa treatments, always read the fine print. If you're required to purchase the "gold package" just to get the discount, you might be spending a lot more than what you would pay for a basic visit. Don't necessarily take the word of big box retailers either. Just because Best Buy or Staples says you're saving $100 by purchasing a certain tablet doesn't make it true. Do your homework.
See a coupon for a food product you don't normally buy? You may think you're saving money by using it, but you're actually over-spending. Use coupons, but only for foods your household currently consumes.
If you have to drive 30 minutes to save $5 on a particular purchase, your time could be better spent elsewhere. Seriously evaluate the deal itself, and investigate the time and fuel needed to secure it, too. You may find it's not worth the effort.
Buying in bulk is great, but only if you truly need to. If you purchase 10 boxes of cereal on sale but can't eat them all before they expire, you're only wasting money.
Let's say that after some research, you find a new smartphone at an excellent price. Before you pull the trigger, ask yourself one simple question - do you really need it? If your screen is cracked or your charging port is busted, that's one thing. However, if you're upgrading just to show off a flashier device, consider sticking with what you currently have.
Once you refine your money-saving strategies, here's what you should do with your new found surplus. Attack credit card debt first, then look to your retirement investments - use an online calculator to see where you stand if you don't already know. If neither of those are problem areas, firm up your emergency savings and devote some capital to a 529 college program for the kids. Saving cash the right way is important - but so is investing it effectively.
Do you know of any other money-saving strategies that don't work?
Photo: Flickr / Noodles and Beef