20 Ways To Waste Money


You work hard for your money, which makes it precious to you. Money, as you already know, does not grow on trees. You have to earn it, work for it, and when it’s time to spend it, you want to make sure you’re spending it wisely. Wasting money is far easier than you think, but the real issue is that most people don’t even realize they’re wasting it. Read on to find out 20 ways you’re wasting your money whether you know it or not.

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Coffee Splurge

You already know spending $4 a day on a latte or fancy coffee at the local coffee shop is a waste of money. It’s especially wasteful when you can pop your favorite coffee shop’s K-Cups right into your Keurig and get the perfect cup of (insert the name of your favorite coffee shop here) coffee for nowhere near the price of a store-bought coffee or latte.

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Unused Items

Do you have a cell phone plan with a company like Verizon where you’re given unlimited to unlimited texts to other Verizon users? Do you pay an additional $20 per month for unlimited text messages so you can text your non-Verizon friends even though you consistently only send 200 texts each month to non-Verizon users because everyone you know is on Verizon? It’s time to cancel that extra text plan because you’re wasting your money.

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If you’re carrying a balance on your credit card, you’re wasting money. How? Because every month that balance rolls over is another finance charge you have to pay. It might not seem like much because you don’t see it, per say, but it’s a huge – HUGE – waste of money.  Pay yourself first and never, ever be in credit card debt.  It’s really that simple (yet hard to practice).

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Brand Names

Guess what? Spending $5 on a bottle of brand name syrup is a waste of money because the $2 generic syrup tastes exactly the same. It’s time to start buying generic and watch your savings add up and your money wasting dwindle.  Use online services like Amazon to locate generic names.  Also be sure to look at ingredients.  If they’re identical, then just buy the cheaper version.

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Not Filling Up

Gas is expensive, it’s true. But for some reason, if you don’t fill up your gas tank each time you pump, you’re wasting money. If you only put in $20 each time, you’re going to fill up more often than if you filled it up completely – I know, that’s obvious, right? However, you might stop for gas four times this week for a grand total of $80 only partially filling up. Instead, pay the full $60 your tank needs and you won’t have to fill up again until next week. Now you’ve saved $20.

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Late Fees

Stop paying late fees. So you forgot to mail that water bill the other week and now you have a late fee to pay. It’s only $5 so it doesn’t seem like much. However, if you do that regularly, you’re paying $60 per year in late fees. That’s a big waste of money.  Paying late is really a matter of being irresponsible.  Just don’t do it.  It’s not worth it.

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Online Fees

Want to pay your mortgage online without signing up for automatic payments each month? You’re going to pay a hefty fee. Typically, this fee is anywhere from $5 to $10 a month. Auto payments are free. If you elect to pay one time each month on your mortgage, your utilities and both car payments, you’re paying anywhere from $20 to $40 per month in additional – needless – fees.

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Life Insurance

Okay, so life insurance is necessary for most people. However, not all people. If you don’t have a family of your own, a million dollar life insurance policy is a huge waste of money. Try lowering your life insurance needs to allow your beneficiary to pay for your funeral and your outstanding debt when you pass on.

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Premium Gas

Many vehicles state that they need premium fuel, but they don’t actually require it. For example, some manufacturer’s simply recommend premium fuel even though your vehicle will run just fine on the cheap stuff. Ask the manufacturer if your car will suffer with cheap gas; chances are, it won’t.

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Oil Changes

Want to know a secret? Many businesses are required to program your vehicle to tell you it needs another oil change after 3000 miles (we’re looking at you Wal-Mart tire and lube center) even though your car might not require another oil change for 7500 miles. Check your owner’s manual to ensure you’re not overpaying for needless oil changes.

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Not only are you killing yourself slowly, you’re wasting a ton of money smoking. If you smoke a pack a day at the average price of $6.03 per pack, you’re spending $2,200 per year on cigarettes. If you smoke more than that, you can do the math. Additionally, the health related costs you’re paying for smoking can add up – higher insurance premiums, higher life insurance premiums….

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If you like to have a glass or two of wine each night, you might not see a problem with that. However, even if you buy a cheap $10 bottle of wine and go through three or four a week, you’re spending a significant amount of money each year on a habit that’s not good for your health, your weight or your wallet.

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Not Using Tax Breaks

Seriously, if you donate all the old furniture and clothing and toys you no longer want, you can deduct them on your income taxes. It might be easier to toss them in the trash, but it’s a huge waste of money.  You might as well put away all the free money you possibly can.  It saves in the long run.

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Not Taking Employer Retirement Benefits

Does your employer offer a 50 percent match on anything you contribute to your 401K each month? If so, you better contribute the max amount allowed each month or you’re just wasting money. You’re wasting your money and you’re wasting free money. It’s sad.  Please take advantage of this as too many Americans simply do not.

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Shopping Hungry

One of the biggest ways to waste money is to shop when you’re hungry. When you walk into the grocery store hungry, you’re going to spend up to $30 more than you needed to simply because your hunger is doing more dictating than you brain.  Eat a huge meal before you hit up the supermarket.  It makes a huge difference.  Also write a list.

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Shopping Without a List

Without a list, you’re more likely to forget items you need, requiring you to come back to the store again this week. That means you’ll end up spending up to $50 more than you planned each time, because it’s nearly impossible to walk out of the store without buying extras.  Like we said in the last slide, always write out a list so you get nothing more than you need.

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ATM Fees

Stop using ATMs that don’t belong to your financial institution. If you don’t have one nearby, you can go into the store and get cash back on your purchase, even if it’s just a dollar pack of gum (it’s still cheaper than ATM fees). Otherwise, use your own bank’s ATM.  This one’s pretty easy to stick to yet so many people don’t.

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Leaving the Plug In

If you leave the house with everything you own plugged in, you’re wasting money. Stop leaving things you’re not using plugged in and start unplugging them. This includes your hairdryer, your phone chargers and anything else that you’re not using regularly.  Come on guys!  Don’t do this.  Seriously.

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Not Reading

Don’t sign a contract for anything without first reading the fine print. You might think that a premium cable package for $50 per month is amazing but if you don’t read the fine print, you might not realize that your inexpensive monthly fee is only for the first three months of your contract before it triples for the next two years.

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Not Using Coupon Codes

The next time you order something online, do a quick internet search for the name of the retailer at which you are shopping and the phrase “coupon code” or “Promo code”. You might find that you can get free shipping or a percentage off your purchase. It’s a big saver.  There are just too many coupon sites these days for you to pass up using a coupon.  99% of the time there’s a coupon for whatever you look to buy.

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