Angela K. Love
Personal + Business Finance Consultant

Blog

Ways We Waste Money

My Granny used to say, “Take care of what you have until you know where your betters are coming from” all the time.  I’m not sure if she picked up the saying from her mother or father, a book, or someone else, but it stuck with me.  Although, I have not always heeded her sage wisdom.  She was telling me not to waste money, which many of us do on a regular basis.

Here are some ways people waste money:

Auto Insurance.  Many people stick with the same auto insurance plan for years; however, consumers can often find lower rate plans every two to three years, assuming all things remain the same. 

Banking Fees.  Quite a few folks don’t realize they are overpaying on their banking fees.  It is a nuisance to switch to another financial institution, but it may end up saving you a lot of money.  Don’t forget to check out credit unions.

BOGOs with a Certain % off.  Buy One, Get One for “X” amount off is attractive for most consumers.  However, if you were not planning on buying a second item, you are being conned into wasting money.  Buy what you need, not what companies want you to buy. 

Cash.  If I carry cash, I overspend while others spend more if they do not carry cash.  Each person needs to discover what works for them. 

Clothes.  Buying better quality clothes often pays off in the long-run because they last much longer; however, we often have more clothes than we need.

Credit Card and Loan Interest.  Interest accumulates when credit cards are not paid off every month.  Interest is extra money being paid to someone else.

Disorganization.  How many times have you not been able to find something, went out and purchased a replacement only to find it days later?  It’s happened to me more times than I can count.  The other day I needed to use an item I knew I had, but I could not find it.  Fortunately, I did not give up and finally located it.  If I organized my things, I would not waste money on replacements.

Throwing It Away Instead of Donating or Selling.  The other day, a friend posted a meme sharing how people drive around with donation items in their vehicle for three months.  Yes, I’ve done that!  Sometimes it seems easier to just throw things away, but donations can be used as tax write-offs and selling items can help recoup the costs of the item. 

Eating Out.  Who doesn’t love to go out-to-eat?  Well, some folks don’t, but many do love the dining out experience which is why there are so many food establishments in our country.  Eating out has replaced the family table, though, and it costs substantially more

Electricity.  Electricity is necessary, but leaving lights on, turning the heat up too much or cooling down low ends up adding to costs.

Insulation.  Insu-what?  Insulating a home can lower utility rates substantially.  Fix drafty windows and doors and add insulation in the attic to decrease wasteful spending.

Left-overs.  Left-overs are great as a backup meal on busy nights, but much of it gets thrown away or to the dogs.     

Not Asking About Discounts.  Have you ever gone out-to-eat or purchased a product for full price only to find out a friend or family member did the same and received a discount?  Always ask about discounts, deals, and daily specials.  Are you buying a display product?  Ask for the display/open-box discount.

Pay-to-Win Games.  I enjoy a good PC or phone game, but many of those games are designed to encourage players to spend money to move up in the game.  Once you’re hooked, it is difficult to say no. 

Perishable Food.  Buying too much perishable food at one time.  I have done this and now buy less and shop more often. 

Personal Habits.  Personal habits include smoking, drinking, the lottery, and gambling.  Many people waste money on personal habits.  My personal habit is buying Iced Tea at Starbucks.  I now limit myself to one a week, but there was a time I purchased one a day.  It is yummy but wasteful when I can brew my tea for pennies and be just as happy.

Store Hopping for Deals.  So much energy and gas are wasted driving store to store finding the perfect deal for the product you are hunting.  I have learned it is easier and faster to deal hop on the internet.  Many stores have up-to-minute inventory stats on their websites.  For example, I can look for the product I want on a store’s website, see the price, and if it’s in-stock.  Decide you don’t need it right away, have it shipped to you if the company is offering free shipping.

Unreturned Items.  I detest the return line at the store even when it is empty.  I just do.  It’s a flaw, and I have lost a lot of money not returning items.  Now, though, I put on my adulting outfit and return unwanted items.

Using coupons.  Okay, don’t get me wrong, coupons save people money if they were going to buy the product anyway, but many buy products because they have a coupon.  Companies know this.  We are told to save, save, save; however, if you are buying something for the sake of using a coupon, you are not saving.  Also, coupons are typically for processed food which costs more than making meals from scratch.

What ways do you not waste money?  Share in the comment area for others!