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30 Common Money Wasters (And How to Avoid Them)

dtran5 profile picture
October 09, 2015 · 3.1k Views

It’s true when we say that we’re all probably going about our lives, spending and enjoying ourselves, without realizing how many thousands of dollars we are actually wasting every year. Of course, there are situations where spending money is necessary to survive, but some things are just a complete squander. Check out these 30 common money wasters, and what you can do to avoid being their victim!

See also: Is it worth it? 7 Questions to ask before buying anything.


1. Speeding tickets

These bad boys can end up costing you a ton of cash, not to mention how stressful they are in general. Stick to the speed limit, and you’ll avoid having to shell out hundreds of dollars per ticket! And remember – speeding also reduces your gas efficiency.

2. Cigarettes

Smoking is one of the most expensive habits you can have while harming your health. Smoking a pack a day can cost you over $150 a month, and over double that if you live in states like New York with hefty cigarette taxes. You’ll also have to deal with the expensive medical bills that go along with it, not to mention the heartache you’ll cause those who love you. Buy some Nicorette gum or quit cold turkey today! You’ll save tons of cash and your health.

3. Unused gym memberships

You probably have the best intentions of going to the gym, but if you don’t actually make it there, you’re wasting lots of money. Instead, skip the membership, and look up free workout videos online for fitness inspiration. Or go for a run around the neighborhood or a fun bike ride, and you’ll get some fresh air while you’re at it.

4. Throwing away leftover food

Wasting food also means you’re wasting money. Americans throw away nearly 25% of food and drinks, so you’re probably throwing your money in the trash right along with them! Only buy what you need, make sure you cook what you or your family can actually eat, and save what’s left for lunch the next day.

5. Tech gadgets that get phased out quickly

Don’t waste your money on a new smartphone or tablet if a new model is always coming out. You’ll overspend on a product that won’t even have the latest technology in a few months.

6. Bank fees

You might be getting charged fees by your bank that you don’t know about. Go over your statements carefully, and discuss any unknown fees with customer service to avoid getting overcharged.

7. Luxury cars with expensive leases

Make sure you’re only buying vehicles you can actually afford. If you’re stuck with an expensive lease, you’ll basically be throwing money away each month. A new car is a big commitment – think about the total cost of leasing versus buying a used car, and also remember to think about gas efficiency.

8. Workout supplements

Many supplements like ‘intraworkout’ or ‘fat burners’ are actually useless, and they could be costing you without giving you any actual results. Skip the supplements, and do it the right way – a healthy diet and an exercise routine that works for you! There’s something for everyone.

9. Cable

With subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, there’s no reason to get stuck paying a pricey cable bill every month. Cut the cord and you’ll be able to save a ton on your monthly expenses!

10. Heating and cooling costs

Make sure your house is properly insulated to ensure that you’re not getting super high heating or air conditioning bills. You can also check with your energy company to have them do an assessment of your house. They’ll help you evaluate where you might be able to make some changes to save you some cash each month.

11. Uncollected rebates

You’re pretty much throwing money away if you don’t take the time to collect on your rebates! Pay attention to your receipts and special offers, and take advantage of the “free” money whenever you can.

12. Skipping classes

If you’re in college or are taking any classes, not attending is another way to throw money away. Make sure you hit every class you possibly can – you’re already paying for it, right?

13. Convenience store food and drinks

Although it might be more convenient to buy food and beverages from convenience stores or gas stations, you’ll actually end up paying more because they inflate their prices. Take snacks or drinks from home so you’ll have something to eat and drink when you’re on the go!

14. Not packing a lunch

It’s expensive to eat out all the time! Save some cash by packing your own lunch and bringing it to work everyday. Not only will you eat healthier, you’ll save time and gas (which is also a money-waster).

15. Coffee drinks

That daily Starbucks habit is definitely affecting your wallet! Make your coffee at home and bring it to work with you, so you’re not stuck with a daily latte expense. You can also at least set a goal to limit how many times you hit up the coffee shop in one week to cut costs. If you do insist on buying coffee outside, go for that drip coffee and add sugar and milk yourself. It’ll also be healthier than a caramel latte or mocha.

16. Lottery tickets

Your chance of winning is super slim, right? You’re better off using those extra dollars on purchases you actually need. Think of all the things you can buy at the dollar store with the money you would have spent on scratch-offs.

17. Not returning items you won’t ever use

You might get lazy and not return stuff you don’t want, but that’s money right out the window! Make sure to return any items you’re not going to use within the return policy period, and that’s money right back into your pocket. Even if it’s a gift, stores like Nordstrom will accept your return (on a case-by-case basis).

See also: 10 Stores with the Best Return Policies

18. Eating out often

Restaurant and fast food is delicious, but it’ll also cost you a pretty penny. Eat at home whenever you can to lower your food costs every month.

See also: 12 Overpriced Items at Every Restaurant

19. Bottled water

Buying bottled water can definitely put a dent in your wallet. Just drink from the tap, or get a Brita filter to help cut costs. It’s also terrible for the environment! Even if you recycle, many of these bottles may not be recycled and could end up in landfills and oceans.

20. Cell phone overage charges

Pay attention to your usage, and you could avoid data, voice, and text overage charges. These fees can be pretty hefty, so log onto your account and keep track of how much you’re using of each to avoid these charges.

21. Not using retirement matches

Many employers will match your 401k or retirement funds. If you take advantage of this, your future will be all set!

22. Trading in a car that’s unpaid for

Haven’t completely paid off your car? Don’t trade it in yet! If you roll over what you owe onto a new car payment, you might end up paying more than you bargained for.

23. Big weddings

Throwing a huge, over-the-top wedding is an expense most couples end up paying big for. Instead, find tips online for budget ways to keep your party from being too lavish.

24. Not brushing your teeth

It might sound silly, but taking good care of your teeth can help prevent huge future dental bills. So brush and floss away! Your future self will thank you when you’re the only one of your friends who can chomp on chips.

25. Throwing away your coins

There are actually some dummies that throw coins away because they don’t feel like they’re ‘worth’ anything. Just add those bad boys to a jar, and watch your fortune amass!

26. Buying name brands

In most cases, the generic products in-stores are just as good as the name brands! So, save some money, and buy store brand-named products whenever you can.

27. Not DIYing

There are plenty of household chores or fix-it projects that you pay people to do, but you could actually do yourself. Unless you’re having major plumbing or electrical problems, Google some tips, visit Pinterest, or watch a YouTube video to tackle those tasks yourself.

28. New cars

They say new cars make you lose money the minute you drive them off the lot. Now that’s a scary thought! Stick to used cars with low mileage and only buy a car that you really need and is efficient, and you’ll save money in the long run.

29. Paying interest

Pay off your debts (including credit cards) as soon as you can. Those interest fees can be a real beast (and will end up pulling you into even further debt). Be smart and only spend what you have. Use credit cards to your advantage, for gaining rewards. Don’t be the sucker that pays for everyone else’s rewards!

30. Pet supplies from pet stores

You can actually save tons of cash on dog or cat food, prescriptions, or treats by purchasing from discount retailers online. Many big pet stores tend to overprice their supplies, but you can save big by finding deals online.

31. Bonus Tip: Compare prices and use coupons every chance you get!


DealsPlus shares all the best deals, coupon codes, printable coupons, and freebies so you don’t have to compare prices on every single thing you want. So check here and save money on everything from clothes, shoes, home items and electronics, to baby products, beauty and groceries.

dtran5 profile picture
Daisy loves to write with humor and can be quite the sarcastic commentator when it is appropriate. Loves carbs, fashion, staying active, and pinning the latest DIY projects for her room (which she will actually never do).

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