Does anyone enjoy wasting their money when they don't have to? Of course not, but people do it all the time. Wasting money can have a huge negative effect on your finances and make it much more difficult to save and invest for your future. The first step to stop wasting money is to know the most common wasys money is wasted.
1. Avoidable Fees
People pay fees they don't always have to out of laziness and negligence. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but happens more often than you think. These fees include interest fees, overdraft fees, late fees, and finance charges. If your checking/credit/loan service is taking a lot of your money, try to find out the reasons why and try to stop paying them. These fees have a way of snowballing, which can take a bigger bite out of your income. Banks usually have overdraft fees, and negative balance fees that can work together to rob you if you're not careful.
2. Gourmet Coffee
Gourmet coffee drinks are a big waste of money. The coffee is good, but the price is not. People will make a big fuss over four dollar / gallon gas, but don't blink at the sight of a five dollar cup of gourmet coffee. Buying expensive gourmet coffee drinks has become more fashionable recently, but that doesn't mean it makes a good financial choice.
3. Unused Memberships And Services
Unused memberships and services are a complete waste of money. Sometimes memberships and services are unused but still paid for because of billing contracts. Whether it's your cell phone, TV, internet, or health club, you should always be careful before agreeing to a billing contract. There are companies that provide these services on a month to month basis too, which is something to consider.
4. Alcoholic Drinks
Some of the highest profit margins in the restaurant/club business is on alcoholic beverages. If you buy a beer at a restaurant or club, it is not uncommon to pay 5 to 10 times as much as the retail price. And that's just for beer. If you buy a mixed drink drink, the price can be even higher. A jag bomb typically calls for a half can of red bull and a shot of Jager Meister and can cost about 10 dollars. If you buy a can of red bull for 2$ and a liter of Jager Meister for $20, the retail cost of a jag bomb comes out to 2$.
5. Small Convenient Purchases
People know they can buy a 2 liter (67.62 oz) soft drink at a grocery store for a dollar, but won't hesitate to pay the same price for a 20 oz soft drink at a gas station or vending machine. Soft drink manufacturers have convinced us that paying a dollar for a 20 oz soft drink is a fair deal, but this isn't the case. Other small and conveniently packaged items like chips and candy are also typically overpriced. Keep snacks in the car to avoid buying these things at gas stations and convenience stores.
6. Brand Name Clothing
It's ok to buy brand name clothing to look and feel your best, but sometimes it doesn't make sense. People buy brand name clothing to associate themselves with particular brands and images. The problem is that most people aren't able to identify what brand clothing you wear and usually donít even care. This is especially true for pants, underwear, socks, and ties. So limit the amount of brand name clothing you have in your wardrobe so you're not paying brand name prices for everything. A nice top from a fashionable retailer and a cheap pair of pants from a big box store is a smart way to limit your brand name clothing.
Smoking is bad for your health and your finances. If you smoke, consider quitting for your financial and physical well being. Think about how many packs you smoke each day and calculate how much it costs over a month. You might be surprised how much those small cigarette purchases add up.
8. Gas / Fuel
Energy prices always seem to be going higher and higher. If you're driving a car that has poor gas mileage, you may want to consider buying something more fuel efficient. It will help save you money at the pump and help improve the environment.
9. Bottled Water
It's ok if you don't like the taste of tap water. In many cases, it doesn't taste pleasant and can even be unsafe to drink. So wanting higher quality water is definitely a valid desire, but bottled water is not the most financially savvy choice. Bottled water, even the generics, costs more than gas. This is a problem because you can get the same quality of many bottled waters in your own kitchen using a filtration system. Brita and Pur both sell different types of filters that will make your tap water taste as clean and pure as bottled water. Plus, it's fresh from your tap and doesn't stay on a grocery shelf for months.
10. Full Price Goods
Paying full price for anything is something that can easily be avoided. Every week, there are grocery sales. Every season, there are clothing sales. Every year, there are holiday sales. If you hold off purchases, or buy early, you can save yourself a lot of money and get more of the things you want. Look out for Sunday coupons for grocery stores, end of season sales at your favorite clothing retailers, and black Friday sales for anything.
Bonus: Eating Out Too Often
Learn More About Smart Spending »
It's perfectly normal to eat out every once in a while to celebrate a special occasion with friends and family. But if you find that you get most of your food from restaurants and delis, instead of grocery stores you're making a poor financial choice. If you eat out for lunch every day at work, consider the costs over a month. If the average lunch costs 7$, that comes out to 140$ a month. Most people cringe at the thought of paying 140$ for anything on a monthly basis, but you can easily spend that amount and more by just eating out. So try to find foods that will fill you up and satisfy you at home so you won't break the bank by eating out all the time. And if you really must go out, do your best to save money on each meal.