Well-intentioned money-saving mistakes could be costly

Millions of Americans are always on the lookout for ways in which they can save a little bit of money. However, some of the steps they take to do so could end up actually costing them more in the long run.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they're trying to save money is, well, trying to save money, according to U.S. News and World Report. That is to say, when they make a purchase on a big-ticket item, they might tend to buy the more affordable option, but that doesn't always mean it's the best available; often, especially when dealing with things like electronics, going cheap may end up leading to more repair costs or even the need to replace something altogether. Sometimes, a $300 television may end up costing less than a $200 one in the long run.

Modern concerns
In addition, one issue that has arisen in recent years is that when people shop for things online, they will try to qualify for free shipping, the report said. This sounds like a good idea - free is free, after all - but they will often spend more than what shipping would have cost them to get to that threshold.

This is also true of people who spend a lot of time seeking out coupons, then buying whatever the thing they can save on may be, regardless of if they need it, the report said. So-called "extreme couponing" may end up with people buying $10 worth of mustard that they don't actually need, just because it was $1 per bottle.

Getting smarter about sales
Likewise, when items go on sale, people may be more likely to buy them, especially if it's a deep discount, the report said. But if they don't need a new pair of boots, and boots are on sale for 50 percent off, that might not be the best way to spend money when trying to actually save it.

The best thing people can do when they're trying to build up their savings is to simply put together a plan - "I can afford to save this much every month" - and stick with it. While that may not always be easy, and it will sometimes require a little flexibility in other areas, this kind of effort on an ongoing basis is key to lasting financial success.

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