Ways You’re Probably Wasting Money
The idea of wasting money absolutely horrifies me. I think I have always been extra conscious of it because of what money-wasters my parents could be. The wasting ranged from miniscule to extreme. My dad would take one bite of a popsicle and throw it out, but what was that compared to the fact that we built an entire guest house, in addition to already having two guest rooms, and never had more than one guest at a time? I think having a few financial rough patches in my adult years made me even more cautious. I started to think of luxuries in terms of emergency money. What if I need this $100 I’m about to spend on a dress to pay for groceries one day? I know that’s a bit paranoid, but, wherever you fall on the spectrum of financial worries, nobody wants to waste money, right? So here are ways you’re likely throwing away dollars.
Throwing out food
It seems like no big deal, but the loss is greater than you realize. It’s not just the fact that you mismanaged your groceries and threw out a few dollars worth of sandwich materials. You then went and bought a sandwich that cost $13 after tax and tip. See how the financial loss increased tenfold? Look at the expiration date of all food you bring home and plan meals according to foods going bad the earliest.
Getting professional bangs trims
You don’t need to pay a hairdresser to trim your bangs. Many charge $30 or more for the quick cut. There’s also lost time and time is money. You drive there. That’s gas money. You park the car. That may cost money. Honestly, you can see your bangs. They’re not like the back of your head, which requires a professional. Watch a YouTube tutorial and trim your bangs yourself.
Getting professional root touch-ups
Do you really need to go to the salon every time your roots begin to show? If you have complex color with multiple shades and highlights, it’s good to go in a few times a year, but when you just have half an inch of roots out, buy some root touch-up dye from the pharmacy. Nobody will notice if it isn’t perfect.
Not using a cash back credit card
Why would you not be making money on purchases you have to make? Think about your spending habits—I bet there is a credit card that would enhance your earning potential. Some give you major cashback on regular purchases like groceries and gas. Every $100 grocery store trip could earn you $5, in some cases. If you grocery shop once a week, that equates to $20 a month and $240 a year! It’s free money, just sitting there.
Failure to invest
Have you explored what your job has to offer in the 401K department? Make sure you are A) maxing out your investment potential. Put in as much as you can afford to and B) See if the company matches. If they do, take step A very seriously.
Forgetting to use coupons
Spending a few moments online before walking into the store could save you major money in the store. If you’re part of a rewards program at a pharmacy and you need to buy vitamins, hand soap, and razors today, a quick look at their coupons could show that if you purchase from certain brands for those items, you’ll get a few bucks off each one.
Failing to monitor increases
Open those “Important Notices” or “Changes to your plan” letters. Anything you have an auto-pay from insurance to your Internet could increase its monthly or yearly fees. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll just let these happen. But you can call them and fight them. Or you can ask to downgrade your package to reduce fees. Don’t just let them happen without a fight.
Going to hand car washes
If you pay close attention, most hand carwashes just send your car through the exact same type of drive-through car wash the gas station has, and then put a few men on it with towels to touch things up. Then you pay $50. Just go to a drive-through, spend $10, and bring your own towels to do touch-ups on your own. Many have a vacuum for the inside of your car that you can use for free.
Do you have to drive everywhere you go? Perhaps you can start linking errands with exercise. You could drive to the pharmacy that’s a quarter of a mile away. Or, you could save the gas money, and instead of hitting the gym today (which also takes gas money) just walk to the pharmacy.
Regular movie tickets
Even if you just see five movies a year, you’re already spending too much by not being a part of a movie program. Many chain theaters offer programs that are just $10 or $12 a month for unlimited movies or $5 movies certain nights of the week. Considering that regular tickets can be as much as $17 in some cities, it’s so worth it.
Other bank’s ATMs
Avoid using another bank’s ATM at all costs. It’s so silly to throw that money out. Even if you just do it a few times a month, you’re probably throwing $10 to $15 out a month just to access your money. When you’re at your bank, take out extra cash just in case—you know you’ll need it eventually.
Don’t buy books, DVDs, or magazines. These can all be rented from the library. Remember the library? You don’t wind up re-reading books or re-watching movies—at least not enough for it to be worth it to buy that book for $20 when you could rent it for a dollar.
Beverages at restaurants
First of all, a cup of orange juice or soda from a restaurant costs as much as a full liter would at the store. But, furthermore, those are empty calories. They’re all sugar. So it’s a serious waste of money. If you’re adding that $3.25 Pepsi to lunch and dinner, it’s a serious waste of cash.
Failure to check for first-time deals
Are you about to order from a food delivery app? Book a hotel room on a travel site? Use a shared ride service? Most of these services offer generous discounts for first time users—sometimes up to 30 percent off. Don’t use an app for the first time without searching for a first-time-user promo code.
Not cross-checking insurance
Many of us are double-insured and don’t know it. Even when doing something like booking a hotel room, you may be asked if you want to add travel insurance. But…the site offers free cancellations up to 24 hours before the booking. So that seems like a waste of money. Sometimes home insurance covers damage done to a vehicle in your driveway, so why add that to your car insurance?