How to Curb Senseless Spending

At a time when consumers are spending on the holidays, many are senselessly wasting money unnecessarily.

Sarah Brooks contacted NBC Boston for help after being charged for months on a storage unit she was no longer using.

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” said Brooks. “I have a good job, but money isn’t growing on trees in the back yard.”

Brooks is currently negotiating with the owner of the facility to get some of her money back, but she may have been able to save even more money, skipping the rental altogether.

Self-storage rentals are on the list of Boston Consumers’ Checkbook’s 50 Things You Probably Shouldn’t Pay For.

“We put together Checkbook’s greatest hits, things we keep advising people to do,” said Kevin Brasler with Boston Consumers’ Checkbook. “It drives us crazy that people keep paying for these things.”

Boston Consumers’ Checkbook recommends downsizing before paying hundreds of dollars on storage units. Other wasteful buys include: duct cleaning, tire rotation, and bottled water when tap water will do. They also say to plan ahead and stop paying those ATM fees, or bank somewhere that doesn’t charge them.

Check your labels. If they say “dry clean” and not “dry clean only”, that’s only a recommendation by the manufacturer and you can hand wash the garments.

Amazon Prime also makes the list. If you take advantage of the video content and cloud services, it may be worth the cost. If you use it only to save on shipping, think before you buy.

“The thing is these days if your order is $25 or more you get free shipping. So if you’re in it for the free shipping, there is little reason to be a prime member these days,” Brasler said.

Unless you’re heading somewhere risky during the hurricane season, you probably don’t need travel insurance. Skip the rental insurance if you’re already an insured driver. Checkbook also doesn’t recommend identity theft insurance and they say those extended product warranties are a huge waste of money.

“You can’t buy a TV or a computer these days without almost getting chased out of the store without someone trying to sell you an extended warranty,” said Brasler. “These little insurance policies usually don’t cover that much.”

You don’t need to pay a junk hauler when there are plenty of places that will take your junk for free and don’t shell out for unnecessary baby gadgets.

“There’s a big difference between luxuries and splurging on things and just wasting money on things,” said Brasler. “These things usually sound like good buys, but in reality usually they’re not.”

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