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Consumer Watch: Stop spending on these items

Minor changes to your regular habits could help you save money or pay down debt. (file)

Habits are hard to break, so instead of turning your life upside down, look to make small meaningful changes to save money. Food is the average American’s third largest expense, behind their housing and transportation. When you are trying to cut back on spending, food is a good place to look.

No-- you don't have to eat noodles and sandwiches all day-- unless you want to. What you should change is your waste. What keeps going bad at home? Maybe the bananas or certain veggies? Rethink the quantity you buy.

Another major waster is the daily coffee run. If you love the daily trip to a fancy coffee shop-- you could opt for a regular drip coffee. That will be cheaper than a latte, and you can keep up your daily habit. Want to save even more? Limit the days you go to once or twice a week, and start making your own.

The money waster to watch for right now? The expensive gym membership. Check back in with yourself. You might have had great intentions at the start of the year, but if you aren't showing up now-- what are the chances that will change? Consider letting go of the membership, and restarting your workout routine at home. You can always go back to that membership once you think you’ll make use of it.

The big question is-- what to do with that cash you save? You might be tempted to go on a nice vacation, but you'd be better off tracking that money, and using it to pay off debt faster, or building an emergency fund.

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