You May Be Paying Too Much for These 5 Expenses

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Are you overpaying for everyday expenses? Adjusting your spending habits could help you save money.

We sometimes make purchases without giving much thought to how much they cost. It's easy to get into the habit of paying a lot when it becomes the norm. But when was the last time you noted the cost of each item you regularly pay for? You may be overspending, and it may be possible to eliminate the expense or pay far less. Keep reading to learn more.

Cell phone plan

Owning a cell phone has become essential. It's easier to keep in touch with others, and you can quickly get help when you need it. Many households no longer use a landline phone, but cell phone plans can be costly. If you haven't taken a look at your plan and compared similar options or checked to see if your provider has lower prices, you may be overpaying for your service.

Switching providers may make sense if you want to save. When looking at alternate providers, consider whether you need unlimited data, whether you use additional services included in your plan, and whether you can use your current phone with a different provider.

Another option is to check with your current provider every year. Cell phone plans do change in pricing structure and options. You may be able to switch your plan and get a lower rate.

Over-the-counter medicines

With so many advertisements in our faces every day, it's normal to remember name brands. When you're shopping for over-the-counter medications, you may be overpaying -- if you're always reaching for the name brand, that is.

Generic versions of these products tend to have the same ingredients or very similar ingredients. The next time you buy over-the-counter medicine, take a look at the generic alternative and compare the ingredients to those of the name-brand version. It might surprise you. The savings add up when you buy generic alternatives every time you stock up on meds.

Car insurance policy

Car insurance is an essential expense to financially protect you and others on the road. But when was the last time that you looked at the cost of your car insurance policy? If you haven't shopped around and compared rates recently, you may be overpaying for your coverage. Many people keep the same policy and insurance provider for years without giving it much thought.

It's smart to shop around for car insurance every year. Not all insurers offer the same rates, and they can change over time. When looking at other insurers, make sure you're comparing the same coverage to accurately judge pricing. Here's a list of the top car insurance providers.

Brand new cars

Buying a brand new vehicle can be exciting. No one else has driven it, and it looks and smells clean. But you may be overpaying by buying a brand new car. Vehicles lose value quickly. According to Kelley Blue Book, the value of a new vehicle drops about 20% in the first year. Within five years, a car can lose around 60% of its original value. Your car's make and model, condition, and mileage also impact how much it depreciates.

Instead of buying brand new, consider a certified pre-owned vehicle. Many car companies have strict programs in place for these used cars. You can find vehicles like this with only a few thousand miles on them.

You can also buy a non-certified used car, which often costs even less. To ensure that you're getting a vehicle in great shape, have a trusted mechanic look at it. If you buy a used car, you may end up paying additional unexpected costs because of its condition or age, so research carefully before purchasing any used vehicle.

Home internet and cable

We've previously discussed the benefits of checking in with your cable or internet provider regularly. Your provider may offer a discounted rate, or may extend your current pricing. Many providers raise your prices significantly after a year or two of service. If you have multiple providers in your area, it's worth checking their pricing to see if it makes sense to switch. You may get a great rate when you switch providers, but that low rate may be temporary, so check in often.

You work hard for your money, so make sure you're not wasting it by overpaying for purchases. In making a few changes, you may be able to keep more money in your savings account. To learn more money management tips, take a look at our personal finance resources.

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