17 Things We Waste Money On That Can Easily Be Avoided
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Do you find that you leak money each month? It could be that you’re paying way too much for things you need or buying too many nonessential items altogether.
Whether you’re looking to be more disciplined with your budget or you want more money to go towards savings, here are 17 of the top things we waste money on. Tighten things up in these areas and leave yourself more money to achieve your long-term financial goals!
Today, subscriptions are all the rage. If you’re the type of person who likes to sign up for the latest subscription service, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re paying for.
As you rack up new subscriptions and stop using others, you may end up paying a fortune — perhaps a hundred dollars or more each month — for subscriptions that you don’t even use.
Needless to say, you should be cancelling those unwanted subscriptions; but if you don’t know where to start, just get Rocket Money. This powerful money management app will show you all of your subscriptions in one place and help you cancel them.
Beyond cancelling unwanted subscriptions, Rocket Money also allows you to create a budget and track your spending across all of your bank accounts. What’s more, they will help you negotiate your bills for you so that you don’t have to spend hours on the phone!
Sign up for Rocket Money today and let this app stop you from wasting money on subscriptions and more.
2. Credit Card Bills
It’s easy to think of your credit card bill as the exact dollar amount that you charged to your card, but that’s not always the case.
Credit cards typically come with high interest rates. This means that after interest fees, late fees, and other fees, you could be paying a ton of unnecessary money to your credit card company. Worse yet, it could make it difficult to get out of credit card debt.
One way to potentially avoid these expensive fees is to get a personal loan and use it to pay off all of your credit cards. A personal loan could give you a lower interest rate so that you pay significantly less money on your debt.
Plus, it’s easy to check your personal loan rates with Upgrade. Simply enter the amount you want up to $50,000 and specify the purpose of your loan. Then, Upgrade will show you your options in two minutes or less.
This check won’t affect your credit score, and Upgrade has no prepayment fees. As long as you have a minimum credit score of 630, you can check your personal loan rates with Upgrade today!
3. Home and Auto Insurance
It’s easy to waste money on insurance, as there are so many different insurance companies and rates are always changing.
If you haven’t checked your home and auto insurance rates in the last six months or so, you’re probably overdue. Chances are that you could find a better rate for the same (or comparable) coverage.
If you bundle and customize your home and auto insurance with Liberty Mutual, you could save $947 this year!
Liberty Mutual offers all types of discounts for purchasing your insurance online, paying in full, opting for a paperless policy, having a good driving record, and more.
Plus, you can check your home and auto insurance rates with Liberty Mutual in minutes. Make the switch today and stop paying more than you have to for insurance.
4. Bank Fees
Bank fees are a huge waste of money. Why should you have to pay fees to keep your money with a bank that is just going to use that money to profit?
The answer is, you shouldn’t. If banks are going to lend your money out to people at a higher interest rate, you shouldn’t be subjected to all kinds of fees.
And fortunately, you don’t have to. With a bank like Aspiration, you can get a free account with no hidden fees. Better yet, your account balance will actually earn interest to the tune of a 3% APR (5% if you upgrade to a Plus account).
Better yet, you’ll receive a debit card that allows you to earn up to 10% cashback on qualifying purchases.
Sign up for your free Aspiration bank account today and fund it with $100 or more to get started!
5. A Poor Credit Score
A bad credit score can have a trickle-down effect when it comes to wasting money. With a low credit score, you’re probably going to be stuck with bad credit cards, personal loans, and other financial products that have high interest rates and hidden fees.
A higher credit score, on the other hand, will allow you to get approved for better products with lower interest rates and better terms, so that you can stop blowing money unnecessarily.
If you currently have a poor credit score, not all is lost. Credit Sesame is a company that can help you monitor your credit score and take steps towards improving it. And it’s free to use!
In addition to free credit score monitoring, Credit Sesame will give you product recommendations, ID theft protection, and a free credit strategy.
Sign up with Credit Sesame today, check out your score for free, and start raising it so that you no longer blow money on bad financial products!
6. Student Loans
If you feel trapped in student loan debt, it’s probably because you’re paying extra money to your lender. After interest and fees, it can feel as if you’re treading water.
One way to waste less money on your student loans is to refinance them. Refinancing is the process of replacing your current loans with a new loan — one that, ideally, has a lower interest rate.
Credible is a company that allows you to check your student loan rates for free in two minutes. All you need to do is fill out a simple form and Credible will show you your rates without any impact to your credit score.
You’ll be able to compare all of your options in one place. Once you find a loan you like, simply provide some additional details about yourself and get your final offer in as soon as one business day.
And get this — when you refinance your student loans with Credible, they will even give you a $300 welcome bonus. Check your rates for free today!
7. Full-Price Items
Like most people, you probably pay full price for all types of purchases — groceries, subscriptions, household items, and more.
While the difference between a full-price item and discounted item might only seem like a few dollars at the time, this quickly can add up over time. By year’s end, you may waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars on full-price items.
VOICED Market helps you avoid paying full price by offering exclusives and deals up to 95% off. With categories ranging from entertainment and tech to fitness and everything in between, VOICED Market stops you from blowing money at every turn.
And get this — they deliver all of these exclusives, deals, coupons, and free items directly to your inbox so that you never miss out on a great deal.
All you need to do is subscribe to the VOICED Market newsletter. They will do the rest!
While coffee may be an essential part of your morning routine, you shouldn’t have to waste your money to have it.
According to PBFY Packaging, the average American millennial spends $2,008 on coffee each year. Rather than blowing money at Starbucks every AM, you could easily have your morning coffee at home for a fraction of the price.
What’s more, you won’t have to leave your home to get it!
9. Cable TV
Because cable TV has been a staple in homes for decades, you may be used to paying for it each month. But with the emergence of Netflix, HBO Max, and a host of other streaming services, cable TV has become redundant at best — and a huge waste of money at worst.
Rather than paying hundreds of dollars (or perhaps north of $1,000) each year for a cable or satellite TV service you hardly use, it might be time to finally cut the cord. There are all types of streaming services and cable alternatives that cost significantly less money.
10. Restaurant Meals, Takeout, and Fast Food
Let’s face it — sometimes it’s nice not to have to cook. While there’s nothing wrong with eating out or ordering takeout as an occasional treat, making a habit of it can put some real pressure on your wallet (not to mention, your health).
The average American eats out 5.9 times per week (according to Zagat’s dining trends survey) and wastes roughly $3,500 on restaurant food each year.
Home cooking is a much more affordable option, and meal prepping can help you minimize the amount of time you spend in the kitchen!
Most people assume that grocery shopping is cheaper than eating out, but the truth is that it’s easy to waste money on groceries as well. If you visit the grocery store without a plan, you may pay overs for name brand items and leave with items you don’t need.
You can avoid this by planning meals with fewer ingredients, creating a shopping list and sticking to it, incorporating on-sale items into your list, and opting for store brand items.
It’s easy to waste money on clothes, purely due to how quickly trends come and go. The reality is that even those with the most impressive wardrobes usually have a handful of go-to pieces and outfits.
Only buy clothes when you need them. Additionally, try to stay away from fleeting fads and trends, as these pieces will more than likely be collecting dust in your closet after a few months.
13. New Cars
There’s nothing quite like the euphoria of buying a new car and showing it off to your friends and family.
The moment you drive a new car off the lot, however, its value will immediately depreciate. Not to mention, financing can be a waste of money, as you will need to pay interest along with your monthly payments.
Rather than buying a shiny new car, opt for a used vehicle that is listed at a fair price and in good condition. It will depreciate at a much steadier rate, and buying it outright will allow you to avoid interest and fees!
14. Extended Warranties
If you’ve ever been pressured into buying an extended warranty for a system, machine, or device, it probably seemed like a frugal decision at the time. In most cases, however, it ends up being a waste of money — for multiple reasons.
For one, products don’t always break down, so there’s a good chance that you will never need to use your extended warranty. What’s more, the cost of an extended warranty will often equal or exceed the cost of replacing or repairing the item.
When it comes to spending money, housing might seem like a non-negotiable. What you pay is what you pay — end of story.
But you could very well be wasting money a home you own or an apartment you rent. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to spend no more than one-third of your income on housing.
Whether it’s a Manhattan apartment you can barely afford or a large property with more space than you know what to do with, consider whether you’re blowing money unnecessarily on your home.
16. Disposable Items
There are a wide range of disposable items you might use around the house — from Ziploc bags and plastic cutlery to toothbrushes and razors. While it may be convenient to toss these items when you’ve finished using them, consider the cost of constantly replenishing them.
The truth is that there are more permanent solutions for most of these items. Opting for things like reusable containers, metal cutlery, and electric hygiene and grooming products will help you avoid wasting a ton of money in the long run.
What’s more, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to preserve the environment.
17. Snacks and Beverages
It may be tempting to grab a few extra snacks and beverages while filling up your tank at the gas station or shopping for groceries. But you can easily burn hundreds (or thousands) of dollars each year by making a habit of this.
Even bottled water is an unnecessary expense. After all, you’re already paying a water bill each month. Why not fill up a water bottle at home and keep it on you?
How Much Money Do We Waste?
A study shows that the average American wastes $1,497 each month. This means that you could easily be wasting roughly $18,000 or more each year on overpriced and nonessential items.
What Is the Top Reason for Why We Waste Money?
There are a handful of reasons why people waste money — including impulse spending, buying name brand items, not returning unwanted items, and more.
According to a study from The Ascent, the top reason for why we waste money is paying excessive or unnecessary fees.
How Can I Waste Less Money?
If you have bad spending habits, the good news is that there are a number to ways to stop. By making note of the above-mentioned things you waste money on and correcting them, you can curb your unnecessary spending each month.
What Should You Not Spend Your Money on?
Spending money is inevitable, but not all items are deserving of your money. While you might argue the value of certain items, here are some common items that are going to provide little or no value for most people:
- ATM fees
- Bank fees
- Delivery fees
- Full-priced items
- Impulse snacking
- Interest fees
- Overpriced bills and expenses
- Unwanted subscriptions
Is Food a Waste of Money?
While food is an essential expense, not all food purchases are wise purchases. Restaurant meals and fast food items, although convenient, can cause your food bill to skyrocket each month.
Rather than eating out at every opportunity, try to prepare low-cost meals at home as much as possible.
Is Online Shopping a Waste of Money?
There’s no doubt that online shopping has made the buying and selling experience easier than ever. This level of convenience, however, can open the door for frivolous spending.
If you need to shop online, make sure you avoid things like heavy delivery fees, overpriced items, and unnecessary purchases.