There's a lot of truth to the saying "penny wise, pound foolish." So, here is a list of savings "traps" that can hurt your finances in the long run - and how to avoid them:

  • #1: Neglecting routine car maintenance. Ignoring the squealing noise in your car could mean the difference between dropping a hundred bucks on new brake pads and shelling out over $600 for a major repair. Or worse, getting in an accident. Experts say that hanging onto the $5 it costs to change your home's furnace filter could DOUBLE your heating and cooling costs.
  • Budget trap #2: Buying the cheapest food. Financial expert Christina Quinn she says that a bag of chips may be less expensive than a bag of apples. In the long run, every dollar you spend on junk food will cost you $10 more for weight loss products and healthcare costs.
  • Here's another so-called money-saver that can ruin your finances: Skipping your annual physical or cancelling your health insurance. A recent study found that insufficient insurance coverage contributes to two out of three bankruptcies. Dr. Dean Ornish runs the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California. He says that eating right, exercising and getting an annual physical will make you less likely to get sick, and cut at least 40% off the amount of money you end up paying hospitals and doctors.
  • Be careful with coupons. In a Washington University study, shoppers spent an extra $8 on impulse buys and luxury items for every dollar's worth of coupons they used.The researchers think this happens because we like to reward ourselves for being thrifty. It also means that saving two dollars with a double-coupon on laundry detergent might get you to splurge on $16 worth of candy and hand-cream. The fix? Shop from a list and only use coupons for items you were going to buy anyway.