5 ‘Needs’ You Should Probably Stop Buying

needsIn your efforts to cut costs and increase your savings, you might be overlooking some things. It’s easy to identify the extras like overpriced lattes and avoidable fees, but what if you’ve been wasting money on things you think you need, but actually don’t? Those are harder to find and remove from your budget.

To help you identify them, we’ve collected five ‘needs’ you should stop buying right now. When you look at them closely, you’ll find that you may not need them after all. Ready to find out what they are? Read on:

  1. Any supplement that has the disclaimer ‘no approved therapeutic claims’. “No approved therapeutic claims” means that something does not qualify as drugs or other medications. “Drugs have the backing research data and trials for their approval,” Dr. Adrian Paul J. Rabe of the Philippine Society for General Internal Medicine told BusinessWorld, and supplements do not. So why are people buying them? Supplements only fill in small nutrient gaps — they are not a magic bullet for all your health issues, and they may not work at all. Dr. Rabe adds that supplements “divert the resources of patients from medications that work, to these substances that aren’t proven to work.” So instead of spending your money on unproven supplements, make sure your diet and lifestyle are healthy, and consult with a doctor instead of buying the latest craze in supplements if you have major concerns about your health.
  2. Bottled water. Buying a bottle of water from the convenience store every day is a big waste of money, since its price is all jacked up. Plus, you’re destroying the environment by the plastic waste you’re discarding. Instead of paying P20 for 500 mL of water, get a reusable water bottle, and fill it up with filtered water, which you can get 10 litres of for around P40. You’ll be saving the environment and your wallet.

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  1. Lottery tickets. You might think of this as a fun, harmless hobby (who wouldn’t want the chance at millions of pesos?), but if you do it regularly enough, it may as well be a need. But think about it — the chances of you winning the 6/42 game are 1 in 5,245,786. For the 6/55 Grand Lotto game, it’s even worse: 1 in 28,989,675. You’re more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 300,000) or draw a royal flush in in 5-card poker (1 in 649,740). If you spent P20 three times a week on tickets, you’d end up spending around P3,120 a year. That’s money that would be better invested in your emergency funds, or added to your savings.
  2. Feminine wash. Ladies, your unit is self-cleaning. It maintains a level of good bacteria which gives you the ability to fight off infections in that area. When you use feminine washes, it can upset that balance and make you more vulnerable to infections. A US study showed that groups of women who use more feminine deodorizers actually experience higher rates of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. And when you use scented varietals, you risk exposing yourself to phthalates, which can cause cancer and interfere with your hormones. So instead of wasting that money on potentially harmful products that don’t really help, use good old (unscented) soap and water.
  3. Premium gas. More expensive isn’t always better. Before you shell out for the high-octane premium gas, check your owner’s manual or ask your car dealer to see what kind of gas your car really needs. If your car absolutely requires the premium, high-octane stuff, then it’s OK to buy it. But if your manual says that your car will run on regular unleaded gas, there’s no added benefit if you spring for the premium stuff. With gas prices always rising, you gotta save where you can.

Are there other ‘needs’ in your spending that aren’t? Cut it out of your budget, and let us know in the comments!

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