The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money

The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money. Despite most people’s best attempts to stay out of debt and stick to their spending limits, it is possible to overspend. But many regular money wasters wait in the shadows to take your money. So let’s expose these money wasters so you can permanently kick them out of your life.

If you don’t tick every item on this list, don’t give up. After all, the typical American wastes almost $18,000 annually. In any case, it’s a chance to evaluate your spending and find any potential areas of waste.

Bank Charges

Even modest expenses, like those for using an ATM that is not in your network or service fees for maintaining a checking account, may pile up over time. In reality, non-interest checking accounts, excluding free checking accounts, had an average monthly price of little over $5, according to a Bankrate study. Additionally, individuals who were ineligible for a waiver paid a cost of almost $16 for interest-bearing checking accounts.

Therefore, the solution is rather simple. Switch banks.

Although it sounds improbable, according to Bankrate, over half of checking accounts have no monthly service costs. Additionally, unless your current bank allows you to avoid monthly costs, you are probably spending more in fees than interest.

Late Charges

Typically, late fees on credit cards range from $15 to $35. Ouch. In addition, fees are often imposed for late rent, utility, and mortgage payments. There are expensive fines for anything from returning Redbox movies a day late to forgetting to return library books on time.

Being late with your payments not only costs you money, but it may also damage your credit. However, most lenders wait 30 days before reporting a late payment. Additionally, penalty APRs are often applied by credit cards for late payments, which may significantly raise your interest rate.

If you struggle to make payments on time, setting up autopay will help you pay the minimum debt by the due date. Additionally, programs like Mint can alert you when invoices are due. Or, you may use your reliable calendar to remind you when you have payments due.

Yet another item If you mistakenly made a late payment, it could also be forgiven or taken off your credit record. Most employers won’t punish you if you have a solid track record of being on time despite one stupid mistake.

Insurance Not Required

According to Leslie Tayne of the Tayne Law Group, who specializes in debt relief, “this is one that often gets neglected since people typically assume the more insurance, the better.” However, certain types of insurance are just unnecessary for the majority of individuals and might cause you to spend money you don’t have to.

These insurance policies, according to Tayne, are wasteful:

You may get identity theft insurance if your credit card has fraud protection. Most credit cards, including the Citi Double Cash Card, fall under this category.

Children’s life insurance is necessary since they seldom ever have assets to safeguard. ‘Cash value’, a savings feature that is often included with child life insurance policies, may be used to pay for education or as a down payment on a new home. However, the costs exceed the returns, thus as a parent it is wiser to put your money in another investment.

Starting a 529 savings plan or setting up a fund to pay for your child’s expenses in an emergency is more crucial. If your standard auto insurance covers rentals, rental vehicle insurance is an option.

collision coverage for aged, inexpensive vehicles. Depending on your deductible and the level of the damage, collision coverage may not be required.

Your credit card will provide travel insurance if you make your trip arrangements using that card. Whether you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you should check with the card’s issuer to determine if travel cancellations and lost baggage are covered.

Paranormal Subscriptions

There is no denying that purchasing a membership online is simple. But it’s just as simple to forget to cancel them. In fact, a poll conducted by Chase in April 2021 revealed that over two-thirds of customers had forgotten to make at least one regular payment.

Automatic payments, like those for utility bills, may be practical in addition to preventing late fines. Others, though, may wind up costing you a lot of money over time.

For instance, a monthly membership to the investing information provider Morningstar costs $34.95 and an annual subscription costs $249. If you are an inactive user, keeping that membership should be obvious.

However, you should immediately cancel any unused subscriptions. You don’t want to be slapped with an expensive auto-renew, after all.

Become a member of a service like Truebill or Trim to make this less of a burden. These programs keep an eye on your credit card or bank account to determine whether subscriptions may be cancelled.

Interest on credit cards

American consumers spend an average of $1,000 year in high-interest debt and credit card fees, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Using credit cards may be advantageous since you can raise your credit score, get deals and rewards, and more. Despite this, having a balance might cause financial distress.

In other words, if you are in debt, prioritize paying off your current load while postponing use of your credit cards. If you decide to buy anything, be sure you have the money to pay the amount off. For instance, only purchase a pair of $150 concert tickets if you can pay for them in full.

Vampires of energy

According to Duke Energy, an energy vampire is a gadget that continues to use energy even after it has been switched off. They are everywhere in your house, including coffee machines, cable boxes, and phone chargers. These imaginary energy hogs are said to account for 20% of your monthly power cost.

Energy vampires like “bricks” and “wall warts” are common:

Wall warts are appliances with a big plug, such mobile chargers. It uses energy even when it is not in use.

The brick is a little black unit that may be seen on cable TV equipment wires, TVs, and laptops. If left plugged in, these bricks constantly use electricity.

How are energy vampires managed? You may disconnect any equipment you don’t use often to start. Another solution is to plug wall warts and bricks into power strips and switch them off when not in use.

Not Making Thermostat Adjustments

Of course, you want the temperature in your house to be cozy. But if you’re gone all day, do you really need the home to be 72 degrees?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, by merely lowering your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, you may save up to 10% annually. A programmable thermostat enables you to set the home’s temperature before you arrive at home. Locate the thermostat correctly to prevent ghost readings, or unnaturally high or low temperatures.

The thermostat should ideally be mounted on an inside wall away from windows, drafts, and direct sunlight. ​

Plumbing Problems

You might lose sleep over leaking faucets and toilets, and they can also cost you money. Consider a bathroom faucet that drips 10 droplets per minute as an example. Three leaky faucets would drip 43,200 gallons of water each day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s drip calculator. That’s still a lot of water, even if it’s quite inexpensive. 1,042 gallons typically cost about $1.50 per unit.

However, running toilets may be a tremendous water hog.

Leaky toilets in the typical home waste 200 gallons of water each day, or 6,000 gallons per month, or $108 per year. The average cost to fix a leaking toilet is $18.55 per toilet, with expenses ranging from $17.36 to $19.75. On the other hand, labor and supplies add up to $223.63 per toilet, with prices ranging from $202.77 to $244.49.

Food Loss

40% of the food produced in the US is never eaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Occasionally, it occurs. We all need to get rid of the rotten apples in our lives. However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, you may reduce food waste by doing the following actions:

Just what you need, buy. Make your meals ahead of time. And make sure you follow your shopping list and refrain from making impulsive purchases.

Select gaudy produce and fruit. Since they don’t adhere to artificial aesthetic standards, fruits and vegetables with unusual forms or blemishes are often thrown away. They still have the same flavor, however.

Store food properly. You should arrange your refrigerator or cabinet such that newer items are towards the rear and older ones are at the front. Ensure that open food is kept in sealed refrigerator containers and that packages are closed to keep insects out.

I like the leftovers. If you don’t eat everything you create, you may freeze the extras or incorporate them into another dish.

Begin modestly. Share huge servings at restaurants or take smaller quantities at home.

Unclaimed Matches in 401(k)

By making contributions to a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, you may significantly increase the value of your nest egg, according to FINRA. For instance, if you are 30 years old, make $40,000, and put $1200 into your 401(k), you are contributing 3% of your income to your retirement plan (k).

Let’s say you contribute the same amount each year until you reach the age of 65 if you earn the same wage. Your 401(k) will have generated $42,000 for you after 35 years. The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money.

Think about what might transpire if your company extended an offer of a match. The match usually equals up to 3 percent of the employee’s pay, dollar for dollar. Even if the value of your investments stays the same, you will have saved $84,000, or twice as much, by the time you retire. Consider it this way: You can give 100 percent more without incurring any more costs.

Sadly, a 2015 survey revealed that 1 in 4 workers don’t contribute enough to their 401(k)s to qualify for the full company match. Employees who didn’t succeed in getting the match lost $1,336 of their own money.

You won’t have future financial stability if you miss out on this money. Increase your automatic 401(k) investments to at least the entire employer match by speaking with human resources or accounting at your firm to learn the amount of the match.

Fees for mutual funds

According to NextAdvisor, an expense ratio, or percentage, symbolizes your entire investment in a mutual fund. They generally fall between.5% and 1.5% for actively managed funds and between.2% and.4% for passively managed funds. In general, it is advised to avoid paying any fees larger than 1%.

For instance, a mutual fund with a 1% fee ratio will cost you $10 for every $1,000 invested. Despite being modest, it eventually adds up.

Generally speaking, experts advise costs under.2%, and anything above 1% may reduce the returns on your long-term investments. Above 1.5% and most definitely over 2% in fees are not worth the trouble. One of the reasons why experts advise investing in passively managed funds is because many of them have fees of less than.2%.

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According to Rebecca Gramuglia, a consumer expert at TopCashback, “one of the largest ways consumers squander money is by paying full price instead than searching for discounts or methods to cut the price of an item before buying.” By omitting this step, you run the risk of spending more money than necessary, which might have been put toward another purchase or your savings account. The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money.

Additional Warranties

Almost everything has an extended warranty, including TVs, appliances, and automobiles. Despite the fact that you may believe you are being financially responsible by obtaining an extended warranty, the reality is that extended warranties are frequently not worth the money.

In general, extended warranties omit the most prevalent issues in their fine print. Manufacturers often provide free coverage as part of their warranty policies in addition to extended warranties. The FTC cautions that many extended warranties aren’t beneficial as a consequence.

A superior choice? If anything breaks, conserving money for the expense of repairs or replacements would be preferable than purchasing an extended warranty.

Fuel Hogs

Be truthful. Does your car really need premium fuel? Unless your car’s manufacturer informs you differently, it’s unlikely. The majority of popular gasoline types have additives to keep your engine clean, so a single fill-up of premium won’t cut it. Turbochargers and high-compression engines are often the causes of particular automobiles’ requirement for premium fuel.The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money.

Additional strategies to save money and fuel:

Make sure your tires are filled appropriately. Make sure your tires are properly inflated to boost your gas efficiency by up to 3 percent.

Use the brakes and gas slowly. When you drive faster than 50 mph, your gas mileage quickly drops, costing you an additional $0.23 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy.

Tune up your engine. According to the U.S., correcting a significant issue, such as a damaged oxygen sensor, may enhance your mileage by as much as 40%. Office of Energy. ​

Unrecognized Tax Benefits

About 20% of taxpayers are eligible for earned income tax credits but do not apply for them, according to IRS statistics. The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money.

Other tax credits also go unclaimed, in addition to this. Taxpayers make a variety of tax errors, such as itemizing their deductions or taking the standard deduction, in addition to selecting the incorrect filing status.

To assist you find deductions and credits that you should be qualified for, you may utilize online tax preparation software. Hiring a tax expert may help you optimize your tax savings in difficult tax circumstances, as when itemizing for the first time or beginning a company.

Questions and Answers

Should I use this?

You must know the difference between a desire and a necessity in order to live on a tight budget, save money, and accomplish your objectives. A requirement is a “need.” Rent, a mortgage, utilities, food, and transportation are all considered requirements when creating a budget.

To express something you would want to indulge on, use the word “Want.” More precisely, it’s something you anticipate purchasing and save money for.

Is there any way I could get this elsewhere and save money?

Be tenacious in your pursuit of a lower cost. Compare costs using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Be careful to consider retailer loyalty benefits as well as rebate/cashback programs. Every time I purchase, I personally get rewards via cashback schemes. In addition, I continue to get points from the shop, which I put toward future savings. You’ll make the most financial savings if you pool your resources.

Make sure to do your homework on seasonal items. By using Google to search for “best time to purchase,” you may save hundreds of dollars. The 15 Most Common Ways People Waste Money.

Do I have enough cash to pay for this?

Despite simple logic, some individuals don’t know how much money they have in their accounts. After all, if you don’t have the money, you can’t purchase it. Furthermore, if you can’t afford to make the purchase, you most likely won’t have enough money to pay off the credit card bill either.

In other words, only buy things that fit inside your spending limit. If you wait till you have the money saved.

Do you think I could use this money for anything else?

What recurring expenses, such as utilities, rent, a mortgage, and insurance, must you pay each month? Make sure to account for the most recent bills as well in your budget. You could see something on your bank statement that you forgot you committed to each month.


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