It seems to be growing ever easier these days to find ways to waste your money. Discovering that you are wasting money can be a tough knock to take, and stopping the steady drip of dollars down the drain can be even more difficult. Bad habits can be hard to break, and at times, you may not even realize your spending habits are wasteful as they might seem more commonplace than not. If you are afraid you’re wasting money and want some ideas on how to stop, here are some areas of your budget in which you might be tossing away free money for absolutely no reason.
There are few ways I can think of to better waste money (besides just throwing it away) than losing it to banking fees. Overdrafts fees, ATM fees, minimum balance fees, new checks fees, safety deposit box fees — they can really add up, resulting in hundreds of dollars a year in wasted money.
By watching your account balances closely, planning ahead to avoid ATM fees, looking for the best deals on safety deposit boxes, and ordering checks through a outside provider, you could possibly avoid much of this waste.
Sometimes people associate discounted items with having some sort of problem or not being of the quality of higher priced items. Therefore, they avoid discount stores and dollars stores and end up wasting money on items that are overpriced at the supermarket or on which they could have spent much less some place else. While not every discount item will be as good as its higher priced counterpart, by doing some price and ingredient comparison, and using good judgment and common sense, you may avoid throwing away money that could be put to use elsewhere.
Sometimes, in our hectic lives, we just don’t have the time to devote to upkeep and maintenance of our lawn and surrounding spaces. Maybe it’s not the time factor so much as the physical ability to get out and take care of a lawn that is just too much work, or the lawn itself is so expansive the effort needed to tend to it would be a burden to any one individual or family. Whatever the case, at times we might find it necessary to hire a lawn service to care for our outdoor areas. This isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes lawn services may only charge $20 or $30 a week for general upkeep, which may be a pretty good deal. However, there are situations in which you may be wasting your money, and I have a perfect example with a friend’s in-laws.
Living in a city suburb on a corner lot, their lawn is not that big. They hired a service to tend and care for the space before the recession hit, and were shocked when they found their monthly bill often ranging anywhere from $300-$400. This expense was extreme, but when times were good, they overlooked it. I felt it was a tad ridiculous seeing as how they had an adult son living at home, another son who would come home from college for the summer, and a daughter and son-in-law who visited almost every weekend, who between them, should easily been able to keep up with the lawn work. As the recession moved forward and funds started running short, this lawn service expense finally became too much and was exchanged for a bag lawnmower (around $200), a weed-eater/edger combo ($165), some lawn fertilizer ($80 for the summer) and the assistance of the children (free).
Overall, the results are not too shabby considering the amount of money they had been spending previous to this. Plus, the family is getting some much needed exercise in the process!
That Gym Membership
Speaking of exercise, what about that gym membership for which you’ve been paying? Now I know that some people actually get motivated by belonging to a gym or fitness club, and if so, that’s great. However, there are a ton of people who sign up for these memberships, go a few times, and that’s it. In such cases, gym memberships can be a complete waste of money. It’s actually kind of funny to me when I see people walking on treadmills or doing step exercises at the gym. It makes me wonder if they don’t have sidewalks or stairways where they live on which they could get the same workout for free. If you want some free exercise, maybe it’s time to consider giving up that lawn or dog walking service, trading in your car for a bicycle, and cooking healthy dinners yourself in lieu of wasting money on eating those big dinners out.
With all the free information available on television and the internet these days, I’m kind of surprised magazines are still around. Not only are free sources of news and information becoming more abundant and easily accessible, but many magazines can be obtained for free at your local library. That being said, it’s not that I particularly dislike getting my information by way of a hard copy, I just think that in many cases, it’s a waste of money to pay for it these days.
The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. For financial advice, readers should consult a licensed financial advisor. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is at the reader’s discretion.