"Signing a long-term commitment for a gym membership can be a bad move," Levison says. "You might save $5 or $10 a month by signing up for a year. Then you don't use it -- so it really wasn't a better deal. It might be a better idea to pay more monthly until you're sure you're going use it. At the end of three months if you decide you're going to quit going to the gym, you can just stop. You haven't committed yourself to a year's worth of payments."
5. Opting for too-cheap daycare
You may be tempted to save a couple of hundred dollars a month on daycare costs by signing up with the cheapest provider, but if the care is low quality and leaves you in the lurch, you may lose those savings and more, Levison says.
"You don't have to sign your child up for a prep school-style kindergarten," Levison says. "But lot of times there isn't a huge financial difference between quality care and bad care. "
There's a huge difference, however, in other ways, she says. "If your child care isn't reliable, you may have to take vacation days and miss important meetings," Levison says. "You may become an unreliable employee and as a result of that lose your job or be passed over for promotions."
6. Haggling excessively on a home sale
You have a willing buyer for your house -- with a catch. The buyer is demanding expensive repairs or other costly changes that you don't want to pay for. But are you really saving money if you skip a $500 repair but have to make three more $1,200 mortgage payments while you find another buyer?
"People get stuck on, 'I am absolutely not going to negotiate on this,'" Levison says. "They are seeing the immediate financial outlay rather than the long term cost. That means they end up making their mortgage payment another few months until they get a deal in place."
As a freelancer, Karen Haywood Queen writes about personal finance, business, home and home building, green building/living, health, medicine, dentistry, travel, technology, relationships, the new smart grid, and music.
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