10 Things People Waste Money On

10 Things People Waste Money On

My ol’ pal (not really) Dave Ramsey had a post recently about stuff people waste money on. Then Free Money Finance put together his take, and then my buddy (really) J. Money over at Budgets Are Sexy went through the list as well.

And since we all have different stances on these things, I figure I’d go through the list as well.

But I’m also going talk about our personal BIGGEST MONEY WASTERS in our budget and talk about what we’re doing to fix it.


Top 10 Money Wasters

10 Things People Waste Money On

  1. Credit card interest

Now this one really sucks. Credit card interest is paid when you can’t wait for what you want (outside of hitting hard financial times). You buy something on credit without having money in the bank to back it up, which violates my rules for using credit cards! As a travel hacker myself with a TON of cards, I enjoy copious amounts of free travel for next to nothing. BUT, if I ever pay a cent of interest on those cards, I am losing. I always suggest those who haven’t ever done a cash and debit-card only budget before, take a year to get used to using cash envelopes and a sweet budget, then you can look into using credit card rewards. Otherwise, STAY AWAY!

  1. Deal websites

Now this one I can see happening. We use deal websites and coupon tools to save us a ton on entertainment. From movie tickets to eating out, deal websites can be great. BUT DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE EMAILS! Seriously, you do not need 3 emails a day telling you what a great time you could be having doing something else for 75% OFF! PA-LEASE! You dictate what fun looks like in your life, and if it includes something that could have a coupon, feel free to search them out. But do not spam yourself with constant advertising like that!

  1. Appetizers

Ok, Dave Ramsey, do you hate calamari or something? But seriously, I agree that restaurant portions are HUGE! That’s why we ALWAYS split a meal. But, we do order an appetizer as well. This cuts the cost down and keeps us from getting HUGE on the restaurant portions. I recommend ALL dates include a split meal. You’ll feel better and enjoy your date much more, as well as save a decent spot of cash!

  1. ATM fees

Ugh, can you believe it, I paid an ATM fee recently. These things are STUPID! I don’t think this should be a huge amount, but if you are a cash-only person, make sure you stock up BEFORE getting stuck in a situation where you need immediate cash. That’s why I recommend pulling out the cash you need for the month AT THE BEGINNING. And that can only happen if you are a MONTH AHEAD on your budget. Then you can avoid being short on cash and paying $450450450324 in fees at some big bank ATM (because of course, you bank at a reasonable credit union 😉 )

  1. Overdraft fees

This is a tough one. For those caught in the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, this can come up. It will also be MUCH WORSE for someone who isn’t on a budget. If you are paying these, please STOP RIGHT NOW, go over to my budgeting basics and read them all. When you plan every dollar, you know where you money is going and how much you have, and these will go away. FOREVER. You can do this!

  1. Speedy shipping

Pretty sure there’s a company that takes care of this an all your media entertainment needs for like $9 a month. What was it called again? Oh yeah, AMAZON! Seriously, don’t pay for speedy shipping ever! Just get Amazon Prime (free with a family membership!) and get your junk in 2 days. Or, the tried and true method…..JUST WAIT!

  1. Designer baby clothes

Wait….people still pay for baby clothes? Pretty sure the Buy nothing Project has eliminated the need for those 🙂 But for real, we do occasionally buy baby clothes, but who cares about the tag? Just get something inexpensive and that you like. No need to drop $100 on an outfit just to say your kid is wearing (insert designer here). Plus, the kid is going to puke and poop all over it anyways…

  1. Unused gym memberships

    pure muscle

    pure muscle

I listen to a podcast of a pastor who talks about what’s it’s like at his gym. He says every January, the place fills up with all these “New Years Resolutioners” ready to make THIS THE YEAR! He knows parking will suck for like 5 weeks, and then it’ll be back to normal, with the same people who were there in December still there, working out, and all the “Resolutioners” will be sucked back into whatever it is that keeps them from going to the gym. #Truth.

And with all the at-home workout options (like these 30+ Beachbody workout plans), who needs a gym membership?? I haven’t had one in at least 10 years…

  1. Premium cable packages

I don’t even need to say anything here. Read THIS

  1. Daily coffee trips

As a NOT COFFE DRINKER, I don’t have this issue, so good luck, deal with it! I’M KIDDING! Well, I actually don’t drink coffee, but my wife does, so I get it. We’ve come up with a system that works right now. She gets a $20 gift card at her favorite coffee place, and she get $5 free, so $25 total. That’s her coffee for the month. The rest (if any) is brewed at home. And since she’s super fancy and healthy, she’s been recently making a coffee substitute that she likes. I haven’t run the numbers on it, but I bet we spend $30 a month on coffee. Sure, it could be less, but it’s a pre-planned luxury. Now, compare that with the $4 a day coffee drinker, and they’re shelling out $120 a month! So, if you drink coffee, I recommend setting a fixed about for coffee out, and the rest at home.

Dave Ramsey does have a point, there’s some serious money to be saved here. And if you’re working a budget like you SHOULD BE, these can all go away 🙂

What Do WE Waste money On

Now that’s we’ve covered some of the junk people waste money on, let me tell you where WE struggle.

  1. Food

Yup. Over the summer, our food budget inflated MUCH more than normal. I can equate it to my lack of discipline and getting a job that doesn’t give me free food anymore. Also, my wife is VERY generous, and loves to serve with home cooked meals. But mostly I just got lazy a FORGOT TO PRINT OUT MY EMEALS PLANS! I know, right? I mean, we’re usually pretty good even without, but somehow (mostly me) we ended up spending a few hundred over for a few months. UGH! So now that it’s fall, I’m getting off my lazy butt and actually printing the emeals plans (affiliate link) to get us back on track.

  1. Utilities

Utilities are usually not an issue, but for some reason this year the summer utilities bills went through the ROOF! I chalk it up to too much A/C and trying to keep my back lawn from dying. I let the front and side yards burn to a crisp, but since we love to entertain, I watered nearly every day for a few months, making our water bill skyrocket. Next year, I’m putting together a DIY sprinkler system with timers so I don’t accidently leave it on all night (D’OH!), and water at the right times to keep my lawn alive for cheaper. I’m also thinking about rain barrels…hmmmm. I also want to keep our house shut up during hot days and open windows at night more. And do the opposite during the winter (open blinds during day, close at night).

  1. Home Projects

As bad as it sounds, I didn’t save or budget for home projects this summer. We were on a pretty tight budget, and kids medical bills and other things took priority. But I recently got a promotion and decent raise, so we splurged on getting our last-minute summer projects done. Plus, I had been putting off some maintenance for a while. We dropped a few hundred last month, and another few this month. Too much for something that was not budgeted for. I’m fixing this by re-instating our Home Improvement Savings Bucket to ensure the money is there next spring/summer for another round of projects. BOOYAH!

Want to NOT waste money? Grab my budget spreadsheet by filling in the below form and STOP THE MADNESS! 🙂

photo credit: Tax Credits and gazzat via photopin cc

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  1. We waste money on food if I’m not super careful. I have been on lockdown for October and it’s gone really well. I need to be like that every month.
    Kim recently posted..Where Is The Best Place To Retire?My Profile

  2. That’s so true about gyms after New Year’s. Similar to the pastor, I call the annual batch of newcomers “resolutionists” and figure it’ll be about 6 weeks before the crowds will disappear. I think some people actually believe they’re fulfilling exercise goals merely by having a gym membership! An overweight buddy of mine once bought himself a treadmill to get in shape. Several months after he got the thing, I asked him how much weight he’d lost. “None,” he says. His sheepish reaction when I teased him about the need to actually use the treadmill to lose weight told all. 🙂
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted..Negative Option MarketingMy Profile

  3. I have been invited to a handful of baby showers and you are right – i dont understand these designer baby clothes. We saw a Burberry coat for babies at a discounted price of $500. I dont know when that baby (or parent) will need a coat that they will outgrow in a month.
    Ciel Belle recently posted..Week 19 : Long weekendsMy Profile

  4. I waste so much money on food – it’s embarassing. Food goes out of date or we have food items that combined we can’t make a meal with 🙁

    I definitely advocate unsubscribing. However much I love Groupon and have found some fantastic deals, I probably didn’t need to book the event in the first place and without Groupon I would not have discovered it.
    Victoria @thefrugaltrial recently posted..TEN QUICK STEPS TO PAY OFF DEBTMy Profile

    • Best way to minimise food wastage is to make a menu. If you shop weekly, make menus for that comimg week. If you shop fortnightly, make your meus for that fortnight before you shop, and so on. Routine for us old timers, but a valuable tip for those whose budget is tight!

  5. Really agree with you on a lot of these. We’re similar and spend a bit more on home projects that we hope will save us money in the long-run: NEST, our garden, solar panels (that was a biggie!). My husband also splurges and uses an iPhone (an iPhone 5) which although is more expensive than my archaic flip-phone, is definitely more useful!
    Deb @ Saving the Crumbs recently posted..So I Just Bought Two iPhones for ½ Off…My Profile

  6. I waste money on eating out for sure! That and for a few services I wouldn’t HAVE to have, like ironing/pressing, cleaning, and a gym membership. But at least I budget for them…
    Kayla @ Red Debted Stepchild recently posted..5 Tips to Lower Bills Before the HolidaysMy Profile

  7. Coffee. I swear each time I go to town I tell myself I’m not going to go near a coffee shop but I always do. And books. Books aren’t a waste though, are they?
    Myles Money recently posted..RealVision – The Financial Revolution Will Be TelevisedMy Profile

  8. Speedy shipping used to be an issue with me, but that was bad planning on my part. I would end up paying more in shipping than the actual item cost.
    Michelle recently posted..Goodbye Debt #5: Checking in on DebtMy Profile

  9. Groceries! We have to watch ourselves carefully lest we get lured in by organic red grapes and the like. Making a list before going to the store really helps us in this arena. It’s amazing how many more things I think we need once we’re at the store. But, if it’s not on the list, we don’t buy it (most of the time. unless it’s hot cocoa…).
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted..Beyond The Allowance: Raising a Frugal KidMy Profile

  10. We waste money on food and travel. I’ve made my peace with it for the most part- we’re pretty good on everything else. I also budget for food and travel and stick to those budgets, although the budgets themselves are sometimes higher than they could be.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Who Sabotages Your Christmas Budget?My Profile

  11. Yes!! Appetizers! I always regret ordering appetizers because I’ll get half way through my entree when my stomach reminds me I’ve already eaten an entire loaf of cheesy garlic bread and I’m no longer hungry. Do people really need to eat that much food in one sitting anyways?

  12. Did you know there is an emeals ap you can download on your phone? No need to print out meal plans and you can check off grocery items you don’t need before going shopping. You can also skip meals and all of those ingredients are taken off the grocery list. It’s pretty useful.

  13. Our groceries bill is still pretty big, since we don’t want to compromise at all at the quality of food we’re eating. It’s the biggest ‘money drain’ so far 😀
    dojo recently posted..10 Purchases That Prevent You from Saving MoneyMy Profile

  14. I decided to stop paying my gym membership because sometimes I’m too lazy to go to the gym. I also cut off our cable subscription since last year and it really saved me a lot!
    Kate @ Money Propeller recently posted..Friday Jet Fuel #15My Profile

  15. We have health problems, including depression. So we waste a lot of money on convenience food. We’re in Arizona so utility bills are awful. I finally put us on equal billing to help absorb the sticker shock. But we’re home all day, as are my in-laws. So electricity costs are awful in the hot months.

  16. I used to pay for high speed internet and later discovered that I never needed that type of subscription. I have managed to save a lot since then, though I had lost some huge sum of money.
    Amos recently posted..Optionshouse Review – Read Before You InvestMy Profile

  17. Great read!! I’ve wasted money on a gym membership before but learned my (very expensive) lesson. Now I go to parks and go for walks outside! We definitely waste money on food…but at the same time, you have to eat. We could eat cheaper, but my philosophy is as long as you’re saving money…who cares what you spend the rest on?!
    Sarah recently posted..How to set – and keep! – your financial goalsMy Profile

  18. Ahh the beloved ATM fees. I love when the bank adds extra fees that most people don’t even notice on the actual bank account.

  19. I’m guility of paying for convience sometimes but I try my best to limit the unecessary spending!
    catherine recently posted..October 2014 Debt Repayment and Life UpdatesMy Profile

  20. Great detail on the list Jacob. My wife and I actually talked about our unnecessary movie package earlier today. Paying $15 a month for movie channels we rarely watch, and that’s the teaser price.

    Probably don’t use the gym membership as much as I should to make it worth it but it’s nice to have when I need the extra motivation of others sweating just as much as I am.
    Joseph Hogue recently posted..Facts about How the Rich Stay RichMy Profile

  21. Food is the only thing I waste money on. And it’s a lot.

  22. Books can be a waste. If you buy it and it is available at public library for free it is a waste. Before you buy a book, check to see if it is available at public library. Try setting up a book buying line in your budget. $20.00 a month for buying books in your budget. more if you can afford it.

  23. I use Swagbucks and Shopkick to earn Starbucks giftcards….and if I find myself at the end of my rope I do have $25 in my mint.com budget for coffee – but it’s one of the ones I have tried hard not to use! I buy coffee at the grocery store (categorized under groceries) and make and take a LOT of coffee…I would say I probably spend $6-10/week on a bag of coffee and then get Starbucks once or twice if needed – I did go all of February with only one Starbucks purchase!!

  24. A great way to purchase designer clothes for babies or toddlers (if you care about that sort of thing) is to yardsale. You can find every brand name under the sun in near-perfect condition for .50-$1.00 per item since babies outgrow clothes before they have a chance to ruin them.


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