Many people dream of saving more money but often end up spending more than they earn. According to a survey, over 8 in 10 Americans admit they waste money on unnecessary things.
These common money wasters may not seem like much, but they can certainly put a dent in your budget over the years if you aren’t careful.
There are many common money wasters that can sneak up on you and cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year without you realizing it.
In this article, we’ll show you some of the most common money wasters that so many fall victim to—and how you can avoid them yourself!
13 Of The Most Common Money Wasters
1. Buying things you don’t need.
Having a desire to look good is a natural human tendency. Most people want to feel confident and attractive, and that’s why they indulge themselves in the temptation to purchase expensive, trendy clothes, shoes, or accessories they certainly don’t need.
Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it should be encouraged! So you should resist the urge to blow money on things that won’t do much for your wardrobe or bank account.
2. ATM Fees
ATM fees are sneaky; they seem like such a small amount of money that it doesn’t feel like it would matter if we just used an ATM instead of our bank card at a store. But over time, those fees add up! Try switching to a bank with ATMs nearby so that you don’t have to pay extra for accessing your own money each time you need it.
3. Buying the Latest Electronic Device
The latest electronic device is often not worth the money. A new phone is exciting, but if you don’t need it, it might be best to wait and save up for something else. Sometimes we think that a product will make our lives easier or happier when it’s just an expensive distraction from what we want.
If you have your heart set on buying something new because of its novelty factor or your friends have one too, then go ahead—but do so with a clear understanding of your priorities and how much money you have available for this spending category.
4. Cable TV
Cable TV is expensive, and there are many ways to get your TV show fixed for free. As more people turn to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, cable providers feel the pinch. Your cable bill is more than $100/month.
If you’re still paying for cable or satellite TV, it’s time to consider other options. You can watch television online with a paid service like Sling TV or PlayStation Vue if you want something simple and streamlined. These services have packages starting at $25 per month (sometimes less).
5. Subscription Services
Subscription Services are one of the most common money wasters these days. Many people subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO, which they rarely use. So if you’re already paying for a subscription service, cancel it.
Cut back on subscriptions that are no longer necessary or haven’t been used in a long time.
6. Unplanned meals
Unplanned meals are one of the most common money wasters.
It’s easy to think you don’t have time to cook at home and decide to go out instead. And while there are certainly times when that is necessary, it doesn’t need to be every time.
When you eat out instead of cooking or preparing food at home, you will likely spend more money, eat less healthily, and have less time for yourself!
7. Holiday overspending
The holidays are a time of year that can be financially and emotionally taxing. While it is important to celebrate with family and friends, it is also important to make sure you are not spending more than you can afford. The temptation to overspend is strong during the holidays, but now is the time to take control of your finances before they get out of hand.
8. Not Tracking Your Spending
You can’t know where your money is going if you’re not tracking it. Most people toss their receipts and bank statements in a drawer or box, but that’s a mistake. Tracking your spending helps you identify how much money is spent on things that aren’t useful for reaching long-term goals, such as daily lattes or impulse buys at the grocery store. It also helps you stay within your budget by keeping tabs on how much money has been allocated for each category of expense: groceries, utilities, rent/mortgage payments, etc.
Finally—and this is the big one—tracked expenses help people get out of debt by showing them where they are overspending and where they could cut back on spending without affecting their lives too much.
9. Using Credit Cards Over Cash
You may be surprised to learn that most credit cards are actually a huge money waster. Credit cards might be convenient, but they can also make it hard to track how much money you’re spending. If you use your credit card instead of cash, there’s a good chance that the amount of money you spend will be higher than if you had paid with cash.
10. Unhealthy habits
Unhealthy habits are a great way to waste money. Whether you’re smoking, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs, eating fast food or overeating, or consuming too much caffeine, you’re putting a drain on your wallet. This can come as a surprise because unhealthy habits seem like they would cost less than healthy ones — but the opposite is true!
11. Lottery Tickets
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re not someone who buys lottery tickets. As with most other forms of gambling, the odds are stacked against you. The probability of winning the lottery is so slim that even if every single person in the US spent their entire life savings buying tickets on a whim, less than one in a million would actually win. In fact, the odds of getting struck by lightning are much better than those of winning big money from these state-sponsored lotteries: 4 million to 1 vs. 2 million to 1!
So why do people still buy them? Well, as with any addiction or substance abuse issue (and yes—gambling is an addiction), it comes down to dopamine release. When you buy a ticket and don’t win right away (or ever), you get frustrated and then feel like giving up—but then something happens—you win some small amount at first, then go back and do it all over again because now your brain is addicted!
The sad truth about these lotteries is that they prey on people who don’t understand basic math and statistics; they’re designed so that almost everyone loses while just enough winners come through each year that keeps us coming back again every month (or week).
12. Carrying a balance on credit cards
You’ve probably heard that credit cards can be a convenient way to pay for things. They let you buy now and pay later, which means you don’t have to carry around cash or write checks. But what many people don’t know about credit cards is that the interest rates are usually higher than other loans. And unlike mortgages and student loans, you can’t escape from them by declaring bankruptcy if things go south. Also, keep in mind that carrying a balance on your card will hurt your credit score, which could affect whether or not lenders offer you loans in the future!
13. Impulse buying
Impulse buying is a habit that can be hard to break. Most people don’t realize just how much money they’ve spent on spontaneous purchases until they look back at their bank account and see the truth staring right back at them. It’s easy to get carried away with impulse buying, especially if you’re trying to make a quick decision while out shopping or dealing with a stressful situation. If you want to save money, try planning your spending instead of letting your emotions take over when making financial decisions—you’ll probably find that you save more money by thinking things through beforehand than going with your gut instinct (or feeling).
How to avoid the most common money wasters :
Track your expenses.
Tracking your expenses can help you to avoid unnecessary spending. It’s easier than you think, and you’ll notice where the money is going before you even realize it. That way, when you’re ready to cut back on spending, you’ve got a clear picture of what’s important to you and what isn’t.
Cut down on impulse purchases.
Cutting down on impulse purchases is one of the best ways to avoid the common money wasters.
It’s so easy to just buy something you see that you like, but remember: you could be spending your money on something more important!
Make a budget and stick to it.
Make a budget and stick to it, even when things go wrong. If there’s an unexpected expense, don’t just throw your budget out the window—re-prioritize and find a way to get back on track as soon as possible.
Don’t buy things you don’t need.
Don’t buy things you don’t need. If you’re going shopping and think, “I’m not sure if I really need this,” then keep walking! It’s better to spend the extra time looking for something that will actually help improve your life rather than just having another thing take up space in your home or office.
Pay off your credit cards every month.
Make sure you pay off your credit cards every month, no matter what! If you put off paying down your debt, those interest charges can add up quickly, which will make it much harder for you to avoid unnecessary spending.
If you can reduce these money wasters, you’ll have more money in the bank.
If you can reduce these money wasters, you’ll have more money in the bank.
- The average American household spends $1,300 on alcohol each year. If you are spending that much money on alcohol, and if it is causing problems for you or your loved ones, then consider cutting back or quitting entirely.
- The average American household spends $3,600 on dining out each year. If this is too much for your budget, try cooking at home more often or taking advantage of coupons when eating out at restaurants (most places will let you use them!). You could also cook large batches of food ahead of time to save time—and money!
We’re all guilty of wasting money, but it’s important to take control of your finances and make sure you aren’t making any of these common money wasters. If you can reduce these money wasters, you’ll have more money in the bank. By being aware of these common money wasters and eliminating them from your life, you can start saving more of your hard-earned cash!