5 Ways You're Wasting Money Trying to Save Time
Turns out sometimes it pays not to multitask. Here, some of the most unexpectedly costly shortcuts.
You Shop On Your Phone
Thank goodness for your smartphone: You buy shampoo while you're waiting in line at the post office, shop for birthday gifts on the train ride home and stock up on socks to pass time at the airport. It seems like you're getting so much done, but shopping on your phone (or tablet—basically anything with a touch screen) could lead to spending more than you would if you were using a laptop or desktop computer. It's not simply that you switch to autopilot: New research from Boston College shows that consumers feel a deeper affinity for products they touch on a screen. The study's authors theorize
that this is because technology has made it easier for them to feel as if their iPads are an extension of themselves.
You Put Your Nonstick Pans in the Dishwasher
When you have a dishwasher, it's tempting to throw every last ladle, teacup and nonstick frying pan in there to cut down on the amount of time you spend cleaning up after dinner. And while dishwashers have come a long way in recent years—new models have jets specifically designed for champagne flutes and sports bottles
, and play classical piano music when you turn them on or off—they're still not suited for cleaning pans with nonstick surfaces. A $300 nonstick sauté pan could be ruined by the machine's high heat—or at least have its lifespan shortened. Plus, many manufacturers void warrantees (even lifetime ones)
if you put their products in the dishwasher.
You Still Buy Bottled Water
Let's say you don't
have one of those dishwashers with bottle-wash jets. You're not alone. Americans are buying more bottled water than ever before
—despite the fact we know we shouldn't
. The average amount each person in this country spends on bottled water is now $100 a year. If washing in between uses is part of your problem, check out this $9 option
that twists open in the middle so you can add ice or lemon wedges.
You Park On-Site At the Airport
You're running late for a flight, so you decide you'll park on-site; the rates are higher than off-airport lots, but you'll save time because you'll be closer to the terminal—right? If you're traveling during peak periods (holiday weekends, Monday mornings), that may not be the case, since on-site lots tend to fill up quickly. You may be relegated to the farthest-from-the-terminal on-site lot (with no shuttle bus in sight), but still wind up paying as much as you would for a spot that's right outside baggage claim. You'll most likely spend less at an off-airport lot—as much as $30 a day less, when we searched
—and benefit from perks such as valet service, which will often get you to the terminal faster than the shuttle bus from on-site parking.
You Buy Fresh, Cubed Fruit
You probably know it's cheaper to buy an entire mango, melon or pineapple and cut it up yourself than it is to pick up a handy plastic container of already-chopped fruit. But you may not realize the savings. For instance, you'll pay about $3.49 for an 8-ounce (1-cup) container of pineapple chunks, but if you buy a whole pineapple—which costs $3 or $4—you'll get approximately 5 cups of chunks. Some stores also carry cored pineapples, which, while pricier per ounce than whole pineapples, still wind up costing less than chunks.
Next: Beware these winter money traps