14 Ways That You Are Wasting Money

you are wasting money

Sometimes, even when we try our best to save money, we don’t realize that there are holes and leaks in our finances. It’s not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about since most of us don’t even know about it. Quite often we don’t know that we’re wasting money in small ways that can have a large impact on our finances. Here are 14 ways that many people waste money.

Not Checking Your Insurance Rates Yearly

Sometimes people don’t realize they’re overpaying for their insurance, whether it’s their homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, or property insurance. Comparing rates is always a good idea to help you find the best rate that fits your requirements. You may also want to consider checking rates every year and assessing if your current insurance provider is still the best deal.

Not Using Credit Card Points or Rewards And Frequent Flyer Miles

By forgetting, or not using your points, rewards or frequent flyer miles, you may be missing out on items or services that you could have gotten in exchange for your reward points. Be aware of the validity period of your reward points so you won’t forget to put them to good use before they expire.

Not Programming Your Thermostat

You can save on energy bills if you program your thermostat carefully. It only takes minutes to do this, but it can have a profound impact on your household expenses. Your heating and cooling bills can be reduced in the long run.

Not Taking Advantage of Community Resources

community resourcesInstead of hiring a private swimming coach or dance instructor, you can check out your local community center for available classes and groups.

Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby doesn’t have to be expensive.

Not Paying Bills On Time

You can avoid those late charges by paying your bills on time. These late fees may not seem like a lot if you’re late once or twice, but even so, paying those late charges is definitely a waste of money.

Not Unplugging Your Electronics When Not In Use

Appliances or electronics that are plugged in still consume power even when they are not in use. You can save money on energy bills by making sure to unplug them when you’re not using them.

I use to know a guy that unplugged everything in his home every night before he went to sleep, including his TV.

I’m not suggesting you go that far, but if you really need to save money, that will make a difference.

Buying Bottled Water

As I'm sure you already know, bottled water is more expensive than tap water. So why do so many of us continue to buy bottles of water every week?

You can save a lot by investing in a water filter and using tap water instead of bottled water.

Subscribing To Premium Cable or Satellite Television

These days, depending on where you live, you can watch some television shows and full movies on the Internet for free or for a cheaper monthly fee. Most networks also have streaming on their websites so you won’t miss your favourite shows.

Dining Out Too Often

Everybody knows dining out can be expensive. Cooking meals at home is definitely cheaper than going out and eating at restaurants.

If you really can’t live without it, try only going a few times a year, perhaps for special occasions only.

Buying Brand Name Products or Luxury Brands

Sometimes we just like buying products with those brand names that we know so well.

Although sometimes it’s worth it to buy a certain brand, for basic items there are cheaper alternatives that are of the same quality as the branded ones.

This is especially true of medicines. Instead of buying a brand name version of your meds, you can save a lot by choosing generic drugs.

Engaging In Costly Activities Such As Smoking, Drinking and Gambling

Smokers, drinkers and gamblers spend a lot on their vices. These can affect not only one’s health but also one’s finances.

Imagine how much money you could have in your savings account if you didn’t spend it on cigarettes or alcohol.

Costly Cell Phone Plans

Sometimes people don’t realize that they are paying for things that they don’t actually use.

Paying for unlimited data services may not be so cost efficient if you are only using half of what you are paying for every month.

Recognizing your requirements and customizing your phone plans to fit your needs may save you some money.

Shopping Without a List

Going to the supermarket without a list or a plan can result in impulse purchases that are outside your budget. Making a list and sticking to it helps control your budget and helps manage your expenses.

Another thing that we do to make sure that we only buy what we need is to challenge ourselves to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible.

Paying For Services Or Products You Don’t Use

Most of us are guilty of having all these memberships or subscriptions that we don’t even need or use. Maximize that gym membership by actually going to the gym regularly.

Otherwise, cancel your membership and try working out at home. If you have magazine or newspaper subscriptions, you can check online to see if the issues are available for free. Again, a few dollars here and there can add up quickly.

For those of you that are naturally frugal many of the above suggestions are most likely already part of your normal routine. But for those of you that are not frugal by nature, like me, it is good to be reminded of the different ways that we can all save money.


    • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

      Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank 04/01/2013 5:31 a.m. #

      I can't believe the amount of people who buy bottled water. I remember when I first found out that you could buy bottled water and I was so amused that I started going on and on about bottling sea water or fresh air.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:31 p.m. #

        And over the years a number of companies were shown to have simply been filling their bottles with tap water anyways...

    • Money Beagle

      Money Beagle 04/01/2013 5:52 a.m. #

      I used to buy Old Navy jeans, and they were a great deal as they were about half the price and would last a pretty good time. Last time I bought them, they didn't last a year before seams started tearing out. Quality definitely decreased. So I bit the bullet and bought some Levi jeans. They were double the price but if they last as long as I would hope, they will be worth it in the end.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:32 p.m. #

        Brand name jeans are very expensive, but your Levi's should last a few years. I have Eddie Bauer jeans that I've been wearing for over 5 years and they are fine, but were expensive too.

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 04/01/2013 6:07 a.m. #

      We live in an older house and we're replacing old technology with new stuff. Next on the list is the Nest thermostat, which will make programming the thing far easier (and effective).

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:33 p.m. #

        My husband loves those programmable thermostats. When we moved into this rental home he bought one and installed it right away. He will take it with us when we leave too :-)

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 04/01/2013 6:29 a.m. #

      This is a really good list, and I'm certainly guilty of a few of these. I do like to go to the casino, but really only end up going once or twice a year. I feel like people need to print out this list and check it every few months to see if they can save money by cutting out some of these activites.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:37 p.m. #

        Those people who should print it out would be people like me :-). I really struggle to consistently make frugal choices.

        I think if you go to the casino for entertainment a few times a year it is no big deal at all. It is people who take their pay cheque every week and head straight to the casino with the hopes of doubling their income that may have problems.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 04/01/2013 6:56 a.m. #

      Great list Sicorra! I think often times people choose not to realize how much money they're wasting by many of their choices. We buy generic as much as we can and have a list when we shop and it saves us a good bit of money.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:39 p.m. #

        I try to look for generic products too. Many of our grocery stores seem to stop carrying them though. As well I noticed last week that grocery prices have taken quite a leap in our city over the past few weeks, so that will make sticking to the budget even more fun.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 04/01/2013 9:01 a.m. #

      I still have cable, but it is part of my entertainment budget. Since I max out my 403B, IRA and Roth IRA, I am okay with it. I also make extra payments on my mortgage and have already achieved financial freedom.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:39 p.m. #

        We still have cable to, but the basics. We never go out to movies or stuff, so it equals out.

    • Jerry

      Jerry 04/01/2013 9:59 a.m. #

      Great points. I save around $25 a month by using a Britta filter pitcher. And my grocery bill dropped about $25 a week after I stopped shopping when I was hungry and carried a list with me.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:41 p.m. #

        My father bought a Britta water filter as soon as they appeared in the stores many years ago, and when I moved into my first apartment he bought me one has a house warming gift :-) I love them!!

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 04/01/2013 10:30 a.m. #

      Great post, Sicorra. I think many people are unaware of the simple changes they could make that would put some extra money back in their pocket. I can't say that I'm not guilty of a few these myself so it's a good reminder to take a step back and make sure I'm spending money on the right things.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:42 p.m. #

        I think it comes down to what we are use to and it is sometimes hard to create new habits. My husband is more of a frugal person than I am and he is always giving me a hard time when I waste stuff needlessly.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 04/01/2013 11:44 a.m. #

      Hi Sicorra, Great list! I do follow most of them, though I need to work on some others! I'm very guilty of not shopping with a list - I need to work on that one. And not taking my kids with me when grocery shopping. Whenever I do, I'm way over what I thought I'd spend. So there's another one for the list - don't take your kids grocery shopping! lol

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:44 p.m. #

        I completely agree Carol. I remember as a kid just tossing things into my mother's shopping cart.

        We use a list now, but for many years we didn't. It definitely makes a difference.

    • femmefrugality

      femmefrugality 04/01/2013 11:59 a.m. #

      I'm all about using community resources. It's amazing how much free education/entertainment is out there if you're willing to do a little bit of looking.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 1:46 p.m. #

        Yes, some of the communities in our city have huge community centers that offer all kinds of stuff too. Each person that lives in the community pays a small annual fee, but many forget to use the facilities.

    • Thrifty Dad

      Thrifty Dad 04/01/2013 2:03 p.m. #

      Great post. It's amazing how many don't take advantage of their own community resources. Libraries have saved us a lot from buying books, movies, etc, especially when you only read or see them once or twice. And at any community centre, there's usually plenty of free activities for kids. But also taking community courses, although they're not always free, they're often less expensive and the skills you inherit (like DIY stuff) can also save you money in the long-run.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/01/2013 4:36 p.m. #

        Since graduation from college I've rarely stepped foot into a library which is silly because, as you say, you probably only read a book once. So now I have a ton of books that I have purchased over the years. Silly me. I tried to resell them on amazon but not many takers.

        I love taking courses at community centres too.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 04/01/2013 5:51 p.m. #

      As I was reading your post I did a quick self-check and there are some things I'm doing here and definitely some stuff I need to adjust.

      Now that I've been working on my receipts I can already tell where our money was going and that was dining out. One restaurant alone was $290. I know that's a lot but between managing my blog, running the house, the kids' after school stuff, church...I'm too pooped to cook. Still, that made me realize how much money I could have saved if I would have taken time to cook. So far this year I've been cooking more but the year is still early and I usually start slipping into that habit around September.

      I'm always going around the house unplugging stuff and it does save me some money on my electricity.

      I am surprised that we had no alcohol purchases. I'm so crazy tired that it amazes me I haven't started drinking LOL.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/02/2013 1:47 p.m. #

        I know exactly what you mean. There are many times when I just do not feel like being in the kitchen. We use to order in chinese food when we were either tired or out of ideas, but we put a stop to that. Now, if we are tired, we just do something simple that night.

    • Cassi

      Cassi 04/01/2013 8:01 p.m. #

      Not Unplugging Your Electronics When Not In Use is my personal biggest hurtle to overcome. I remember learning that you are using energy no matter what if objects are plugged in, and I told myself that I would unplug items, but I never officially started to do it. I want it to be a habit I gain this year.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/02/2013 1:50 p.m. #

        Hopefully you are able to do it again. There are some things we unplug, but certainly not everything. But I know people that actually leave their computer and other things on 24x7 and we do not do that.

    • Justin

      Justin 04/01/2013 8:56 p.m. #

      I'm guilty of not checking our insurance premiums yearly. I couldn't tell you why we don't do it (laziness) but I think we'd save more if we did.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/02/2013 1:50 p.m. #

        yes, check it out Justin. It may not make a difference, but you just never know.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 04/02/2013 5:09 a.m. #

      Love these tips, Sicorra! Some new and unusual stuff here. I know that before our D-day, we were wasting huge money on dining out and by not sticking to our grocery list. Just by implementing those two changes alone, our family is saving over $600 a month!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/02/2013 1:54 p.m. #

        Excellent job Laurie!! I imagine it isn't always easy to reduce expenses with a big family but you and your family are making excellent progress.

    • Jim

      Jim 04/02/2013 12:46 p.m. #

      Great post Sicorra! These are so true, I am certainly guilty of buying bottled water. I guess I like the portability and its easy to stop for a bottle water or coke while on the road. One thing I would add to the buying without a list....Shopping on an empty stomach, So easy to get carried away buying things you dont need, but feel you do when you are hungry!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/02/2013 1:56 p.m. #

        Absolutely correct! When you enter a grocery store temptation is everywhere and if you are hungry it makes it 20 times worse. One of our grocery stores has a small counter where they serve take home chinese food and my husband always has to run by it quickly because it smells so nice.

    • Suzanne @ Financial Advisor Coach

      Suzanne @ Financial Advisor Coach 04/02/2013 3:58 p.m. #

      I have to admit my weakness is dining out. By the end of the week I am tired of working and just want to go out and have fun. Then I get carried away with my budget and go overboard. Heck, some days you just need to go for it and have some fun!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/02/2013 4:36 p.m. #

        It is definitely important to have fun. I think spending too much on dining out becomes an issue for people who do it every day even if they are on a really tight budget to begin with.

    • Fehmeen -  Business and Home Management

      Fehmeen - Business and Home Management 04/03/2013 5:36 a.m. #

      I skimmed through the list and sadly, I do waste a lot of money though I consider myself fairly frugal. Instances would be purchasing bottled water instead of always bottling it up at home, shopping without a list (I have a mental list usually, but I often grab some crisps or candy), and dining out often. Well, it's one step at a time. Bottled water, out you go.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/04/2013 3:59 p.m. #

        Some things are easier to give up then others. And we have to remember that life is meant to be fun too, so if a person enjoys dining out and can afford it, then why not go once in a while. I love crisps by the way....

    • InACents

      InACents 04/04/2013 8:23 a.m. #

      Be careful about switching insurance providers too often. Our insurance agent recently wrote an article for us, and one of the eye opening aspects was that those that move around with insurance providers a lot actually can end up paying more. Being a "flighty" customer means more risk, and over the long run ends up costing more.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/04/2013 4:04 p.m. #

        Thanks for the reminder. I do remember reading that somewhere many years ago as well. I wonder if it varies depending on where in the world you live as well.

    • Chelsea Lewis

      Chelsea Lewis 04/04/2013 12:03 p.m. #

      Hi Siccora. I'm the worst about shopping without a list, and honestly it has only occurred to me recently that I should apply this practice when I have saved up enough money when shopping for clothes. It is so much easier that way to not over spend but to also focus on getting the best price on what you are looking for and not have buyers remorse at the same time.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 04/04/2013 4:06 p.m. #

        Hi Chelsea! Going clothes shopping with a list is a wonderful suggestion! I wonder how many people actually do that, or do most just wander through the mall and buy whatever they think looks great and fits them.

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