20 Things You Are Wasting Money On
April 2, 2019 10:30 AM EST | 7 min read
Are you aware of how you’re wasting money?
Imagine being able to save money without impacting your lifestyle by getting control over the items that you’re wasting money on.
Before you start to slash your budget and cut out the fun, re-evaluate the ways that you spend without thinking.
Here are 20 ways you’re wasting money and how you can change this spending.
Discover how to stop throwing away your cash now.
Things you are probably wasting money on
Overdraft fees can be as high as $35 per transaction, so if you have 3 overdrafts per month, you end up spending $105 in fees.
What could you do with the extra money?
You can prevent this by maintaining a cushion in your checking account to reduce the risk of over drafting the account.
ATM fees are harsh because the bank servicing the ATM and your bank both charge you fees to access your money.
Planning will help to reduce ATM fees.
If you need cash, then plan to get cash from your bank.
Search the web to find ATMs owned by the bank where you have your checking account.
Use those ATMs only.
If you are in a situation with no bank-owned ATMs nearby, go to a place like CVS where you can get cashback.
Late fees add up quickly.
Just imagine paying a bill late every month, and each late payment included a fee of $15.
Over the year, you would have paid $180.
What could you have done with the extra money?
Reevaluate how you structure your bills to ensure that you have the adequate cash flow to pay your expenses on time.
Also, consider setting up automatic payments to minimize the likelihood of paying bills late.
Look at your bank statements to identify subscription services or automatic monthly expenses that you don’t use.
For example, if you have a gym membership that goes unused, then cancel it.
If you have multiple streaming services that you don’t use, then cancel them.
To avoid wasting money, don’t pay for things you don’t use or need.
Clothes that sit in the closet.
Shopping used to be one of my biggest budget busters.
I would go by clothes because they were on sale or because I thought I needed to have them in style.
Inevitably, those clothes went unworn and wasted space in my closet because I didn’t have a plan for when I would wear them and if I needed them.
Buying things because they on sale.
If you find an item on sale, evaluate whether you would buy it if it was full-price.
If the answer is no, then put it back.
Grocery shopping without a list or while hungry.
Have you ever grocery shopped while hungry?
If so, you probably end up with a ton of extra food in your cart, and you walk out of the store with way more stuff than you planned to buy, and it may even go to waste.
Before walking into the store, survey your cabinets and determine your weekly meals.
After you do this, then create the list and stick to it.
According to a study by the National Resource Defense Council, the average American family wastes about $2,200 food per year.
That’s throwing money away.
To reduce food waste, use a grocery list, buy less, keep track of when items expire and get creative about using all of the food before it goes to waste.
Buying items for convenience.
A bottle of water at the gas station can cost $1.50 versus about $.10 if you buy a bottle of water in bulk.
The cost of water can be even less if you fill up a refillable cup.
Try to minimize convenience purchases by planning.
Dining out daily.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they waste money on eating out.
You can dine out, but be aware of how often you dine out and how much you spend.
If you buy dinner 5 times a week and pay $15 each, you will spend $3,900 over a year.
Even if you scale back to 2 times per week, you will save $2,340/per year.
To reduce the cost of dining out, plan meals more, look for dining discounts, and try to take half of your meal home to cut the cost in half.
Not maintaining your health.
Medical costs are expensive, and according to a study by Harvard University, they are also the number 1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
Avoid high medical costs, focus on prevention by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and go to the doctor and dentist for regular checkups.
Wasting money on cable services that you don’t even use?
With all of the streaming service options, it makes a lot of sense to cancel your cable.
You still have to determine the internet, but if you cut the cable, you can reduce your monthly costs and only pay for your services.
PC Mag has a great story about your T.V. options if you cut the cord.
According to a National Resource Defense Council study, idle electricity costs are responsible for about 25% of your electricity bill.
Idle electricity costs are due to appliances and other plugged-in items that draw electricity, even when turned off.
To reduce idle electricity costs, plug items into a power strip and then turn the power strip off when the items aren’t in use.
Also, contact your utility company to see if they can do an energy audit to see where you can save money.
Forgetting that the small stuff matters.
Evaluate your bank statements to see where you spend less than $10.
If you use cash, keep the receipts for 30 days and evaluate how much you spent.
Becoming aware of how you spend will enable you to make better spending decisions going forward.
Interest fees because of bad credit.
The cost of major purchases that require financing varies dramatically based on your credit score.
For example, if you have good credit, you may qualify for a 0% or low-interest loan.
Impulse shopping is the urge to buy.
This can destroy your budget because you will spend money without planning and thinking.
This can result in overspending and not having enough money to pay bills.
To stay on track and avoid wasting money, wait 3 days before making an unplanned purchase to take the emotion and fear of loss out of the purchase.
Not renegotiating services.
You have more power than you think because it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain a new one.
Stay abreast of the deals offered to new customers and ask for your existing cable, internet, cell phone company, etc., to match those discounts.
Paying for things that you can do yourself.
This one used to be hard for me because it is easier to outsource than it is to do things myself.
However, I had to determine what made sense to outsource and what to do myself.
Before outsourcing, decide if you can do the task yourself and how much time it would take you to do it.
Also, evaluate whether or not your children can help out.
If it makes sense to do it yourself, watch a YouTube instructional video and get going!
Buying new and not used.
Buying used saves a lot of money.
If you have a child, buying used will save a lot of money.
As a mom, I buy as much as possible because children outgrow clothes very fast, and baby gear is expensive, and you need a ton of it.
I also buy my clothes used because I can usually get better stuff for less money.
The key is to avoid buying more because of the lower cost.
Not using online coupons.
Online coupons are easy to use.
Before you complete your checkout process, search the name of the company and “online coupon” to see what comes up.
Look for coupon codes through sites like Retail Me Not, or you can use ebates to get cash back on your purchase.
Which areas are you wasting money on?
Now that you know where you may be wasting money and how to fix it.
Look at these ideas, determine which area costs you the most, and then start there.
Once you fix that area, then move on to another.