We work freaking hard for the money we earn, right? For some people, they may have to resort to doing things they hate just to make money and get by. While most people are happy to get by, getting out of the financial struggle would be an ideal situation for most people. But we just love wasting money!
The struggle is real and it doesn’t only affect people in the lower income bracket. I recently read an article about a household who are on $215,000 per annum and are finding it tough to get by. The question is; why does it feel like there’s never enough money? Perhaps because most of us are incautious about things we do on a daily basis.
Things that we do on autopilot, without thinking, things that we forget to do, or simply cannot be bothered to deal with does come with consequences. We ended up cheating ourselves out of money that could have stayed in your account rather than others!
Maybe it is time to start paying attention to these and find out for yourself, how much money you have wasted and how to fix it. Here are 30 Ways Your Are wasting your money daily, sometimes without even realizing it.
#1 Buying Products Out of Convenience
We are all guilty of these. Sadly, heaps of products popping up with the notion of saving you time. Precut, prepacked or mini size items that cost a lot more but makes work easy for you.
These convenient products are not only bad for the environment with the amount of packaging they use, but they add to your weekly shopping cost.
My biggest weakness when it comes to buying out of convenience includes buying bottled sauces and marinades. They sometimes cost up to $5 per bottle for 1 meal.
Most of these sauces I know how to make on my own anyway. It would have cost me a lot less and the same amount of time making them from scratch.
Yet somehow, I get them with the idea that they will make me a ‘quick’ dinner. It’s all in your head people!
That extra few minutes cutting veggies and separating big tub yogurt into small containers for your kid’s lunches are not going to take away your ‘world domination’ time. But it will make a difference to your retirement fund and to the environment.
#2 Not Paying Bills On Time
Come on, we all know this. This is pure laziness. There’s absolutely no excuse for paying your bills late with all these fancy budgeting and bill management apps around to help you navigate your life.
Each bill, paid late could rake up to $30 in late charge fees.
For some bills like the council bills, the late payment would also accrue interests on top of late payment fees.
If you are careless about your bills, you could be paying in excess of $1000 just on late payment fees and accrued interest charges. That is $1000 that could easily be a part of your holiday savings
#3 Fast Fashion Trend
In my corporate, partying days; the quantity instead of the quality of clothes are more important to me. Because being an impressionable young woman, I didn’t want to be seen wearing the same clothes over and over again.
Now, I realized that I was not doing my self or the environment a favor. Cheap clothes made from crappy materials by underpaid laborers don’t last long.
The color fades and the material easily deteriorates. Unfortunately, throwing it away then becomes part of the landfill.
Why not become a part of the slow fashion movement, practice and preach the principles? Like how we are aware of things we eat, we should also advocate awareness and responsibility to the things we wear.
Buy vintage clothes, redesign old clothes, shop from smaller producers, make clothes and accessories at home and buy good quality garments that last longer.
Plus, we only got 2 feet, we don’t need 100 pairs of shoes… (it’s just the idea of owning that many make us feel all tingly inside)
#4 Say NO to Take Away Food
Okay, I have to make a clear distinction about dining out and getting take away. When you are dining out, you often plan, look forward to it and make the effort to research for places. Then you would make the effort to look nice, be in a pleasant mood and have cute little banter with the server and your company(s).
You will have food, laugh, a bit of a drink and go home happy. If you are lucky, you might even get laid after. Now… that is an experience, that’s living a life. You have to live a little right? You won’t get that same satisfaction out of cooking at home.
With takeouts, that’s different. How many times were we too lazy to do anything after work; that out of convenience we ended up spending $30 to $50 on taking away?
Those nights when you have a crappy day at work and all you want to do is go home, eat carbs and watch a whole season of Mindhunter on Netflix.
The amount you spent on take-outs could usually cover your food budget for the week. There’s nothing wrong with having one of those days, we all have it.
But what I’m saying is, people usually get into the habits of meal prepping for when they want to be healthy. You know, they only plan for ‘good case scenarios’. So you will find meal prep plans to be nice and healthy.
But no one ever plans meal prep around ‘Bad days’! You so should! Among your super posh roast beef/salads meal prep, chuck in a few containers of beef lasagna with extra beef, extra cheese, extra sauce. Or a big batch of Pad Thai with extra lard.
Having a bad day? No sweat, change into your jammies , heat up your lasagna, wash it down with that cheap wine you bought on special and watch the season finale with that 2 liter home brand ice cream that’s sitting in the freezer.
It won’t cost you anywhere close to $50 and the guilt trip wouldn’t be as bad.
#5 Not Utilizing Coupons and Discount Cards
Okay, not saying you should be a hardcore couponer. But there are plenty of online deals out there you can grab without spending too much time searching for it.
These, if used wisely on things you need could save you serious dollars! One of my favorite discount coupons is the entertainment book. As someone who dines out regularly, this book is worth its weight in gold.
Each year, thousands of participating restaurants and other business offers 2-for-1 and up to 50% of discounts for goods and services using the coupons from the Entertainment Book.
I normally share the book purchase with my sister and we split the coupons, the savings are amazing and make you wonder why you waste so much money on paying full price!
#6 You Become a Trend Buyer
You had to get this item because everyone in Social Media or within your circle of friends have them. With the millennial taking over the consumer trends, their buying behavior is highly determined by how they communicate about the product they buy with their social groups.
Unfortunately, this equates to buying what’s ‘trending’ and ‘popular’ as opposed to what they could afford.
Think that expensive phone, that waist trainer you paid too much for because the Kardashians wear them and the expensive hotel you stayed in at your last vacation so you can look posh on Insta (which you are still paying off for).
#7 When You Invest in Something Cheap and Poorly Made.
I used to be notorious for this. I used to buy a crappy product thinking ‘that’ll do’.
From that cheap vacuum cleaner that only worked the first 5 times before it stopped suction to that cheap NutriBullet gathering dust in my kitchen because it short-circuited after the third time.
Yes, not all things cheap sucks (my $10 K-mart toaster performs better than the $200 ‘Smart Toaster’ from Breville I bought prior).
But in most cases, you tend to spend money on a poor quality product, before it failed you and you ended up forking more money to buy a better one after when you should have just get the decent product and save money.
#8 When You Don’t Know What You Already Own & You Keep Buying The Same Thing, Over & Over Again.
Continuing on from the #7. One of the biggest money waste is when you don’t go through things you already own at home before you buy something.
How many can openers, staplers, and tongs do you have at home? What about items on your pantry? how many bottles of black pepper, bags of half-opened bags of pasta and opened jar of Vegemite/Nutellas do you have at home?
Try to do a once over when writing a list and be a little organized in your day to day life. You will be surprised at how much money you can save just by knowing what you have at home.
#9 When You Buy Instead of Making Them Yourself
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little bit of DIY. Life is not just about time-saving and convenience. If you are good with your hands or have access to Youtube, you can basically DIY everything!
#10 No Grocery List & Grocery Shopping While Hungry
When you wander aimlessly through every aisle, you will get everything that’s ‘on special’ or things you don’t need but you bought it away because it looked yummy.
Having a list does not only saves you time, but you are also highly likely in tune with the amount of money you will be spending.
You will find that with a list, you won’t go “I cannot believe I spent $150 on only 3 bags of groceries!“. So start believing in the power of the list and bring one with you every time you grocery shop.
#11 Brand New Everything
There are times in life where owning something second hand is not necessarily a bad thing. One of the things that I never buy brand new is a car.
I know I can afford a shiny brand new car, but I know the smart thing to do was to buy a 2-year old, shiny second-hand car in mint condition but 70% of the brand new car price.
Other things that would suffice as second-hand items are, repair tools, certain furniture and things I rarely use /seasonally use, like a Kayak/Canoe , or camera lenses.
#12 Don’t Review & Compare Insurances Often
Reviewing insurances is like a trip to the dentist. It is not at all pleasant, but it has to be done. So many people put off on doing this. Due to the fluidity of insurance policy, every year the premium changes and so does the policy.
If your premium does not go up, you are covered for less. Before you know it, you are spending all your money on insurance that no longer suits you when there are other options out there that may be better.
Shopping around for insurances annually is good practice to make sure you don’t waste money on a policy that won’t work for you.
With many comparison websites available for you to compare what you are paying for and what’s out there, it doesn’t cost you anything bar a few minutes of your time finding out if you are getting your money’s worth.
#13 Don’t Compare Home Loans Often
Similar to #12, it is YOUR right as a customer to find the best deals you could possibly find on your loans, so you can pay off your debt quicker.
If you have been a long-term borrower with a particular lender, the interest rates may have crept up here and there without you really noticing.
Often lenders will provide great interest rate discounts to new clients, but not extend the same offer to their existing ones. So get yourself a broker and shop around, you never know you might find a lender willing to offer you better rates.
#14 When You Don’t Study Your Bills and Invoices Properly.
This is so important as there has been so many news of companies charging customers unjustifiable fees! This happened to me once. I was charged $14 per month as part of my monthly phone bill for… Netflix! I did not subscribe to Netflix at that time.
I only realized it after 6 months, when I found out that I was direct debited more than my initial phone plan agreement.
Even after ringing my phone provider to complain, made sure the charges didn’t occur again and get my money back, I still got charged the next month! It took me 3 months and 3 angry phone calls before it stopped.
So study all your bills and bank statements. Any unwarranted charges, items that you didn’t have or asked for and so forth can add up to quite a bit every month!
#15 When You Don’t Care About Saving Energy
This is one thing continuously overlooked by people. Especially in Australia where electricity and gas rates are absurdly expensive.
The main culprit is this; all products, tools, and gadgets plugged to the energy source on standby mode, still uses energy.
In fact, standby mode energy can easily cost a household up to $170 per quarter!
Making few small changes to your lifestyle habits such as turning off switches before going to bed, using energy saving goods, applying timers and sensors to tools and equipment could have you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
#16 Failure to Keep & Record Tax Deduction Receipts
There are only 2 things that are certain in life; death and taxes. The average working life span is between 30 to 40 years. So it is only smart and extremely important for you to take the time to study about how best to do and calculate your taxes to benefit you.
Many people tend to overlook this and it is costing them thousands. Too many people rely on tax agents and accountants to do the right thing by them. We used to be one of them; until one really bad tax year experience changed us completely. Knowing your entitlement and deductions does wonder for your return.
Every year, take the time to file and navigate your receipts, expenses, and claims – pay attention to your spending daily, keep receipts and only throw it away once you have time to review each one.
Some days I don’t realize that my spending is deductible until weeks after when I review the receipts again – I have saved hundreds if not thousands because of it. Sometimes I may not think the expenses are deductible and placed it in the ‘maybe’ pile, only to be told by my tax accountant that it is legit and deductible. Horray!
#17 Buying Expensive Cosmetics
Everyone has a threshold on what they splurge on. I splurge on a good bed, a good wallet and a good phone. While others on good shoes, makeup, television, etc.
But with skincare & beauty, I believe good quality skincare, foundation, powder, concealer & make up brushes are essential. I, however, don’t think to spend a fortune on other items such as eyeliner, lip pencil, eyebrow pencil and even to a certain extent, mascara is needed.
Most of the times, the drug store version of these items works well too, at much cheaper prices.
#18 Wasting Food
Sure, no one really buys food with the intention to throw it away. But many circumstances in life has made it a norm for worldwide households to waste $1.3 billion tonnes of food every year.
Think about all the animals that died to feed us, only for it to rot and go to waste. Not just that, you are talking thousands of dollars in money that could have been; savings, travel budget, wedding budget; kids college funds; extra mortgage repayments; retirement funds.
Wasted food equates to one taking their hard earned cash and throwing it away into the bin. Sad but true. You can avoid food wastage through planning, shopping smart and lifestyle changes.
Take a shopping list, cook only what you need, consume leftovers and storing food well are some of the things you can do and you will be surprised at how much money you save just by practicing these simple changes.
#19 Minimum Repayment on Debt
This is a drag, this is one place where spending as little as possible won’t make you better off in the future. Making minimum repayments on your debt, especially credit card means you are committing to paying a boatload in interest. It will also take you longer to pay off your debt.
This won’t be good for your credit score, your self-esteem, and your financial stability.
When can put as much as possible into paying it off, you will be surprised how much money you saved in the long run.
LMI or lenders mortgage insurance, speaking only from a homeowners point of few, this is probably one of the biggest money wasting exercise a person could do; just for the emotional satisfaction of owning a house.
LMI is basically an insurance fee you pay if you are borrowing more than 80% of your house purchase price from your lenders.
Here is why I think it is just about a scam gullible home buyers fall into; first, they cost a lot of money; anywhere from $5000 to $20,000.
Second, it applies to buyers who cannot afford the 20% deposit – which is a large chunk of home buyers cause let’s face it, how many people can save $$100 k to buy a $500k home right?
Third, if you refinance at a different bank and still borrowing 80% or more from this new lender, you have to pay THEM another LMI fees.
Fourth, the LMI is there to protect lenders in case you default on your loan; so on top of taking away your home, reselling it without giving you a dime back, they will also be reimbursed from the insurance company for the default, at YOUR cost!
And fifth, the LMI cost is usually incorporated as part of your loan, so basically if you have to pay $10k in LMI fees, you are borrowing that money, at your current interest rates, payable over thirty years (or whatever time frame your house loan goes for), i.e … you are not paying $10k, you are paying double, triple that!
So, what’s in it for you? NONE.
Moral of the story? Have a 20% deposit before you buy.
#21 Spending Unnecessarily on Name Brands
Most of you associate some of the brand products we buy with our childhood. For instance, I used to only buy Heinz Baked Beans because that’s all I am ever used to.
All other generic brands, which is up to $0.50 cheaper per can just taste yucks. This is until I discovered Aldi’s baked beans (another story for another time).
Switching to generic brands can save so much money on your grocery bills. Certain things are pretty much non-negotiable because some brands just do it better. But you can always pick and choose what name brand to keep and what can be swapped.
For instance, I go generic all the way with things like pet food, household cleaning products, and laundry products.
#22 Not Claiming Cashback Purchases
Lots of companies entice you to buy their products by offering cash backs (some up to a couple of hundreds) but many cannot be arsed to do the cashback application process. Get your arse into gear and stop throwing money away and get what you are entitled to!
#23 Unused Time Shares & Memberships
This applies to a gym membership, timeshare rentals and any other memberships you have paid for. My rule of thumb is this, if I don’t use it for more than 4 weeks, that means I cannot incorporate it into my lifestyle, which means its got to go!
#24 Bulk Purchase Without Proper Planning
This is when you go shopping and think that it is a good idea to buy perishable goods in bulk because its cheaper.
But instead, you have all your money tied up in your pantry! Because you cannot be bothered sorting our your kitchen, you keep buying more and you ended up having to throw away half of it because you didn’t consume the products or it expires before you had the chance to eat it all.
#25 Not Consolidating Debt and Super/401k
While for some people this is a ‘duh, it is surprising how many people actually don’t practice this! consolidating your debt means you reduce the cost of maintaining your debts (yearly fees, account fees, late payment fees!) instead of having 3 to 4 of those, consolidating means you only pay for such fees once.
On top of that, you may be able to negotiate for better repayment terms, fees and interest, which could save you thousands.
#26 Rent to Own Scheme – Not!
Many people fall traps into this, and these companies continue to thrive despite their dodgy, scam-like operations. If you ever had to go for this option instead of buying your products outright, make sure you read the fine print – properly! Know what you are getting your self into, and the aftermath of your actions.
Are you renting the product to eventually own it? or are you leasing for a certain amount of time before you actually have to make a balloon payment/exit before owning the product? How much more does it cost to be tied up to a contract with them? yearly fees? administrative fees? What about the insurances that come with this scheme? What DO they actually cover?
Very rarely one comes out on top when dealing with this so-called rent to own scheme. You normally end up paying twice or triple the value of the products and the products usually gets outdated even before your payment term’s finished.
#27 Not Comparing Prices
There are many instances that sheer laziness could equate to you paying a premium for things. In this case, it could range from things such as electricity and gas to services rendered. What about buying things automatically from Amazon with the notion that everything there is just much cheaper?
It’s a common misconception that shopping around for quotes is complicated and time-consuming. You will be surprised at the amount you can save just by spending 20 minutes of your time shopping around.
#28 Inadequate Product Research
A lot of products out there markets themselves so well to make you think that you are getting value for money, but in fact, you don’t.
For instance, when going to comparison sites to book a hotel, a lot of us seems to get mislead by the websites into thinking you are comparing apple with apple (same room, same type). But more often than not, you are not comparing the same room and services together. Like this shocking admission from Trivago.
#29 Unnecessary Gadgets
How many gadgets do we own at home that practically does the same thing or are made for one really useless thing that we task we rarely do? But we buy it because its trending, new and cutting edge technology ? Like this Grape & Tomato Slicer … no really ? The phrase “shut up and take my money” is not cool. Not if you want to get ahead in your finances.
#30 Impulse Buying
Even the most frugal person has at some point commit to impulse buying. We have all at some point dug deep to fund this ‘great deal’ that one simply cannot miss. I certainly have (que: a 2 for 1 flight tickets that ended up costing me more than buying 2 regular tickets). It always seems like a good idea at that time buy them. But these impulse buying always ended up costing you more.
The only time impulse buying can be good is when you know the deal you are getting is the best deal you can get for the product you have been wanting for a long time (and done enough research on).
Well, how many of these devastating money wasting sins have you committed ? for me, its ALL of it at some point in my life! but that’s what life is about right? You learn about these things over time and slowly make changes to it. Remember, good financial standing does not come overnight. At the start, it may seem difficult and feels like you are changing so much out of your current lifestyle. But trust me, you will soon fill in that void with something else equally meaningful and costing you less!