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Everyday Cheapskate: Here are four ways to stop wasting money

Want to keep more of the money you earn? Stop wasting money on goods and services that you don't really care about. Start paying attention where your money goes and you just might see the equivalent of working a second job in your wallet -- not leaking out of your life undetected.

  1. Stop buying from TV ads. Infomercial products are overpriced and hardly ever turn out to be as wonderful as depicted. And those risk-free trial periods? Don't believe it. You'll have to pay the return shipping costs plus a restocking fee, if you ever get around to it. Whenever tempted by an infomercial product, take a second to look up the item on eBay. You'll be shocked to find dozens at a fraction of the price because that's where they unload all the "as seen on TV" products that get returned. Ask yourself, why so many returns? By then the infomercial should be over and you can get on with your day.

  2. Stop impulsive crafting. Remember the beading supplies and tools you bought because you were sure you'd love the activity, but are now sitting in your basement? Or how about the entire scrapbooking outfit that seemed so perfect when you attended a home party? Did the albums even make it out of the bag? It's way too easy for those of us who share the impulsive gene to make snap decisions. Instead of jumping in with both feet, sign up for a class to check out a new hobby. A few sessions will tell you how committed you are to the craft.

  3. Stop failing to return. It doesn't fit right or the color is wrong, but who has time to trek back to the store? You do. Failing to return your shopping mistakes is way at the top of the biggest money wasters. Think of all those clothes you've worn once -- or not at all -- that could have been converted back into cash had you acted the moment you realized they're just not right. If you still have receipts, try to get a refund for all the NWT's (new with tags) you're harboring. At least try for store credit. If that doesn't work, there's always re-gifting. In the future, always ask about the store's refund policy. Save your receipts and do not fail to make the return.

  4. Stop paying for storage. Don't get me going on this one. Look, if you've got so much stuff that you need to pay to store it, there's a serious likelihood that you've got too much stuff. Take the plunge and unload everything you don't use or need. Turn what you can into cash at websites like, or Give things that are still serviceable to charities like or Check out the chapter in your area. Your hard work will be well-rewarded with peace of mind and a fatter wallet, too.

Mary Hunt is founder of

You can email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

To find out more about Mary Hunt, visit


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