Twelve tried and true money wasters

12 money wasters

Image courtesy of and Stuart Miles

Now that the world is collapsing, credit doesn’t exist anymore, and we’re all going into financial ruin, many people are trying to figure out how to cut back.  I am no exception. Although, I refuse to believe that the world is coming to an end 🙂

The following is a list of things I know I shouldn’t do, but have been known to:

Buy new instead of used~ The truck that I own was purchased new on a lease in 1999. Yes, that was dumb. It has lasted me a long time, however, (I take good care of it…and it doesn’t hurt that I work from home so I rarely drive) and in the future, when I’m buying, I will most certainly get a used vehicle.  The “used instead of new” rule also applies with some clothing, but never food.  Used food is gross.  You can get that new…it’s ok.

Carry a credit card balance~ Yep.  This is dumb, and I’m doing it too!  It’s really hard to fund a business venture when you don’t have any kind of money to start with.  So, I rely on my credit cards.  It gets harder when they cut your credit line by 80%, but that just means I get to be more creative.  I am really looking forward to the day when I can kick Capital One to the curb, (update: I’m nearly there!) but for now, they’re funding this site, so be happy.

Buy on Impulse~ Generally this just hits me at the grocery store.  I love Brie cheese.  I do. And, sometimes I just want it.  However a wedge of Brie costs about $6-8…and sometimes I cave because I want it.  Yes, it is immature…its the whole “I want what I want when I want it” syndrome, and sometimes I just don’t care. Of course, until I get home and realize I could have spent my money more efficiently. Like paying off that aforementioned Capital One balance.

Not taking advantage of sales~ I am not a coupon clipper.  Never have been, never will be.  But every now and again my local grocery store has great sales on stuff I use regularly, and when that happens, I stock up.  For example: I love Chocolate Chip Cliff Bars. They usually range in price from $1.25-$2 per bar (crazy, I know, but they’re very yummy!) Many times, they’ll be on sale at Safeway for $1 per bar.  You can bet that I stock up!

Pay for something you can get for free~ I have not had cable TV since 1996, and frankly, I don’t miss it.  Nowadays I get on Hulu to watch my ‘stories’ for free, or borrow videos from the library.  I also borrow books by the truck load, and after reading them decide whether or not it’s a “must have.”  At that point, I either get it for cheap on Amazon or a local used book seller.

Pay for unnecessary services~ Like, oh, that gym membership that I never used. (It’s gone now.) There are a ton of others as well: a data plan for your cell phone, or just having your cell phone, land line, cable TV, and Internet.  I dropped my T-Mobile plan and signed up with MetroPCS. It’s still on the T-mobile network, but nearly half the price of what I used to pay. Do you really need to be THAT connected?  How about magazines you rarely read (and can get online) or other monthly services that you just don’t need?

Pay to use an ATM or other banking fees ~ I am very lucky (or very organized) that I have only bounced one check in my life. It was a complete fluke too…some bad arithmetic six months prior to the incident left me without the money, even though I thought I had it. That was enough to scare me straight.  Now, with online banking, I am hyper-aware of all of my money: where it comes in and where it goes.  With the joy of debit cards, I never have to use an ATM…and you shouldn’t either!

Dine out Frequently~ It’s not that I dine out a lot…I actually don’t, and when I do, usually someone else is picking up the tab : )  But, when I’m working at a random job, I do tend to grab lunch on the go instead of packing it beforehand.  Luckily, when I’m working from home, this isn’t an issue!

Waste Electricity and Water~  I turn the water off when I’m brushing my teeth and take fairly brief showers.  During the winter, I tend to use space-heaters instead of the very costly electric baseboard heaters.  I usually just spend my time in two rooms of my home anyway, so it saves me a ton.

Buy things you don’t use~ Wow.  I am totally guilty of this because I tend to think that I will use it someday.  That’s the artist in me…thinking I can turn anything into a creation. I’ve started learning the art of purging though, and have been donating un-used supplies to school art programs and selling other stuff online.

Keep Unhealthy Habits~ For some people it’s smoking or drinking or gambling.  I’m lucky that I haven’t fallen into any of those vices.  If you have: quit.  And don’t quit quitting.

Pay too much into Taxes~ You’ve heard it over and over: when you get a refund, you’ve given Uncle Sam an Interest-Free loan.  DON’T DO IT!  Figure out how you can pay the government every year…hopefully not too much…but don’t waste money by paying more than you have to in taxes.

I know there are a ton of other ways you can waste money…what do you suggest?


 Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company.  Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!

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