10 Small Ways You’re Throwing Away 1000’s of Dollars Every Year


Every time I order a latte at Starbucks I have a fleeting thought that I’m just contributing to the thousands of dollars I waste each and every year (and I do mean fleeting). If we’re being completely honest with one another, I don’t actually care. I don’t find the things that I enjoy wasteful or useless, since they provide me with enjoyment and happiness. We all have habits and loves and likes and interests that others find wasteful and useless that we could not imagine NOT spending money on to enjoy. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things in our lives on which we are wasting money. And by wasting money, we mean that some of us literally waste thousands of dollars each and every year buying things and paying for things so useless and pointless that we should be a bit embarrassed. So what are the things on which we waste thousands each year? Read on to find out if your habits and purchases make the list.


It’s such a wasteful and disgusting habit. We put this one first because the people who spend money on these things during the year usually spend thousands on them. They’re not only bad for everything you believe in (like life), they’re disgusting. They make you smell. They make your house smell. Your car smells, your hair smells, your teeth become stained and your overall health is compromised. You are just not doing yourself any favors by smoking, and you know it.

Extended Warranties

You don’t need them. Chances are good that the things you pay for extended warranties on are not even useful. For example, toys; you might spend so much money on extended warranties, but the things your kids actually break are far more unlikely to actually be covered by these warranties. And by the time you go get them fixed, your kids are over them.

Bottled Water

A water filter is so much less expensive. The bottled water we drink in our house runs about $7 a 12 pack, and we drink probably 8 bottles a day. Do you want to do that math and tell us how much money we waste? Want to know what we did? We bought Yeti cups (and adorable monograms) and we put our ice and water in there and it’s freezing, fresh and delicious all day long.


You might be wasting money purchasing brand new electronics every time a new one is introduced, but that’s not what we are talking about. What we are talking about is the act of leaving them plugged in. did you know you can save $23 a year just by unplugging your cable box when you are not watching television? No, it does not sound like much off the top of your head, but not imagine how much you’d save all year if you unplugged everything you don’t use all year long.

Checking Account Fees

How many of you are still paying fees to have a checking or savings account? If you are, you are wasting money like you would not even believe. Most accounts will allow you to keep your account free of charge if you keep a minimum amount in the account. And it’s really not that difficult to keep $500 in an account so that you don’t have to pay fees.

ATM Fees

My husband gets on me for this all the time. He’s my banker, and we were not required to pay foreign ATM fees for a very long time because his bank reimbursed employee accounts for this. It became a habit, but when his bank merged with another and the new bank changed this rule, my husband pointed out that I was paying way more than necessary on ATM fees. It costs me $4.75 each time I use an ATM not owned by my bank, and I was doing this 10-15 times a month just to get a $20 out here and there. It was a huge waste of money.

Credit Card Interest

If you’re carrying a balance, you need to stop. You are wasting more money than you would ever imagine on interest, even if you do not think that it sounds like much. It’s a lot. Pay off those balances and make sure that you are doing what you need to do to become debt free so that you can take control of your finances as soon as possible.

The Gym

If you use the gym regularly, you will not consider this a waste. But if you do not use the gym, you’re wasting your money. There is no reason you should pay the kind of fee that gyms charge just so you don’t go. Either go or cancel your membership, but stop wasting that money if you’re one of the people guilty of this type of monetary waste.

The Thermostat

Here’s the deal; you should keep your house comfortable, but you should not be extreme. What we mean is this, keep the heat low in the winter and the air high in the summer. Sure, 72 might feel better than 78 in the middle of summer, but that doesn’t mean your air needs to be turned down this low all the time. Keep it up as high as comfortable when you are home, and higher than that when you are not. The less it runs, the less you will spend on your utilities each month. The savings are far more impressive than many homeowners realize.

High Octane Gas

I used to be guilty of this. I’d pay more than $.50 additional per gallon of gas to fill my BMW because it was recommended. It was not required, but I bought it anyway. I drove that car for two years, filling up about 6 times a month at more than $4 per gallon for a 20-gallon tank. If we do the math, I wasted approximately $720 per year on my gas. Over the course of two years that’s almost $1500 on wasted gas. What a waste.

Photo Illustration by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images


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