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.
10 Things People Waste Money On
- 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!
- 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!
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!
- 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 😉 )
- 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!
- 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!
- 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…
- Unused gym memberships
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…
- Premium cable packages
I don’t even need to say anything here. Read THIS
- 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.
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.
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).
- 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! 🙂