40 Things That Are a Waste of Money

50 Things That Are a Waste of Money
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Everyone overspends or makes wasteful purchases from time to time. However, if it becomes a habit, you’re more likely to struggle financially.

Most money problems stem from poor spending habits. The solution isn’t always to earn more money. It’s better to evaluate where your money is going and cut back on wasteful spending. 

There is no shortage of everyday things for people to waste money on. The biggest wastes are those that are often overlooked or unreasonably justified.

This list is not meant to cast judgment or piss anyone off. It’s meant to help those trying to save money and prevent wasteful spending. How many of these can you avoid spending your hard-earned cash on? 

Late Fees

Getting charged a fee for being late on a payment is like getting kicked when your down. Use autopay, set up a budget, and make sure your payments are always made on time. If you happen to slip up, try contacting the bank or merchant. You’ll be surprised how willing they’ll be to reverse the fee if it isn’t a common occurrence.

Warranties

99 percent of the time you are better off skipping the extended warranty. Companies make a huge profit from selling warranties, and ill-informed consumers are at prey. Many warranties are scams that have a ton of fine print to get out of holding up their end of the deal. Instead of buying a warranty purchase quality items and take good care of them.

Dining Out

Not having to cook and clean comes at a cost. For special occasions sometimes the cost is well worth it. Sadly, many people make a habit of going out to restaurants and it’s a huge waste of money. The food is usually unhealthy and always overpriced compared to cooking it yourself. It’s always better to dine in if you’re looking to reduce wasteful spending. 

Alcohol

Beer, liquor, cocktails, and even the beloved White Claws are just a big ole waste of money. There might be no laws when your drinking claws but after a couple of hard seltzer hangovers you’ll wish there was. Decent booze is expensive, bad for your health, and heavily taxed. If you can completey avoid it, your body and your wallet will thank you. 

Smoking

I hate to break to you, but your JUUL is not very cool. Smoking cigs and vaping is a terrible habit for your health and finances. It should be a pretty obvious thing to stop spending money on, but for some folks, it’s a way of life. A 4 pack of JUUL pods plus shipping is $22.99 before tax, the average cost of a pack of smokes is just under $8. Save money, breathe easy, and ditch smoking.

Taxes

Everyone has to pay their fair share to the government but many people are overpaying. If you’re a small business owner learn what expenses you can start deducting. Avoid places like H&R block and try doing your taxes online to save even more. If you need in-depth personal tax help, seek a local tax attorney with good reviews. 

Bottled Water

The convenience of bottled water isn’t enough to justify the cost. Get a nice water bottle and a Brita filter instead. You’re going to save money, help the environment, and stay hydrated. Don’t fall for the scams about enhanced fancy PH balanced water. Filtered water is all you really need. Hell, even tap water is fine but in most areas, it’s better to use a filter. 

Video Games

The digital world of fake achievement and wonder is an entertainment cost that adds up. The consoles aren’t cheap and are quick to be outdated and replaced. Flagship games are way overpriced and most of the time you don’t even get the full game. In-game purchases are on the rise and companies are cashing in on gamers. Avoid the games and win in real life. 

ATM & Transaction Fees

Paying ATM fees can easily be avoided by planning ahead and making cash withdrawals directly at your bank or an approved ATM. Getting charged to get your own money is a redundant and unnecessary cost. Look out for other expensive transaction fees like in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Most Bitcoin ATMs pay a ridiculous transaction fee, making their convenience not even worth it. 

Interest

Americans paid $113 billion in credit card interest in 2018 according to a MagnifyMoney study. Paying interest is probably the biggest waste of money ever. The only way to avoid it is to never get into debt. Some debt is unavoidable but If you have good credit, you’ll be able to get a better interest rate. Instead of paying interest, start earning it

Traffic Tickets 

Slow down! That sick Maserati you rented to show off on Instagram has got some heat under the hood but don’t go too wild. Seriously though, traffic tickets are crazy expensive and not worth the trouble. Not only do you get gouged by the state police but your insurance will go up as well. Pay attention to speed limits and use your damn blinker. The roads will be safer and you won’t get stuck in traffic school. 

Name Brand Prescriptions 

If you take prescription medications ask your doctor about taking the generic version. The effective ingredient is the same, and the price difference is huge. If you can avoid the medication entirely, you’ll save even more but of course, only do that if your doctor approves. There is a price difference with pharmacies as well, its typically cheaper to get filled at Walmart.

Soda 

Drinking too much soda causes a great deal of health problems including diabetes. It may not cost very much but it’s better to just avoid it. Drink water and coffee instead! Fancy coffee can be expensive so try brewing some at home rather than going to Starbucks. 

Fast Food

Just like soda, fast food isn’t very expensive but the damage it does to your body is costly. Sometimes you get what you pay for and when you order off the dollar menu, you’re getting very little nutritional value. Some healthy alternatives are starting to appear, so not all fast food is a total waste of money. However, you’ll still eat better and save more if you eat at home.

Gambling

Scratch offs, blackjack, slot machines, lottery tickets, and options yolos are very damaging to your financial well-being. The house always wins. And the best paying machine in the casino is the ATM. Avoid casinos and don’t get stuck thinking you can win or make back your losses. Gambling addiction ruins lives and getting addicted is easier than you think. 

Streaming Services

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and Spotify are all monthly expenses that add up. Sure $13 bucks a month doesn’t sound like much but it turns into a large amount over time. Most people have more than one service making it even more expensive. It’s not just about the money either, watching the garbage on Netflix is time wasted that you’ll never get back.

Unused Gym Memberships

When you sign up for a membership at a gym you agree to give them money every month whether you go or not. If you’re not going then you’re paying the owners of the gym for absolutely nothing. If you sign up for a membership, you should go and get your money’s worth. Alternatively, you don’t need a gym membership to exercise. Working out at home and running outside will keep you in shape for zero dollars a month. 

Subscription Boxes

The majority of subscription boxes are a blatant ripoff. Every month they take your money and ship you a box of junk you don’t need or could get somewhere else for less. A lot of these services send mystery boxes so you don’t know what to expect. Paying money for a thing even when you don’t know exactly what the thing will be or if you’ll need it is a total waste of money. 

Going Out to the Bar or Club

Popping bottles at the club is a great way to drain your bank account. Seriously no one is impressed that you overpaid for alcohol at a club. Having a few drinks at a local bar is less ridiculous but is still expensive. Many people have a favorite bar and go every week spending $100 or more each time. Unless you have an overabundant supply of money, frequent bar trips will quickly diminish your savings

Overpriced Designer Clothes

Gucci everything! Looking fly but that wallet isn’t. You don’t have to overpay for nice quality clothes that look good. If you study some of the richest people in the world they dress comfortably and don’t were flamboyant expensive clothes. Shop around at discount clothing stores or even online. Take care of your clothes and wear what you like. The less you care what people think, the more money you’ll save. 

Automobiles

Cars are a money pit. While in most cases it’s absolutely necessary to own one, you don’t need to buy new. You don’t need a Range Rover to get to work, your image isn’t worth the $800 a month car payment. Buy a reliable ride that gets the job done and maintain it well. Having a used ride that’s dependable and good on gas is the way to go. 

Lavish Vacations

Everyone needs a break from work and a nice vacation every once in a while. However, spending money on an extravagant trip may not be the best move financially. You don’t want to come back from the trip stressed out about making ends meet. There is nothing wrong with staying within your budget or even taking a staycation. The whole point is to be comfortable and not blow all your money. 

Storage Units

Paying a monthly fee every year to store things you don’t need is a waste of money. Storage units should be a temporary solution and not a long-term fix. If you have too many things and require a storage unit, it’s probably time to sell some of your stuff. The monthly cost of storage usually rises every year, so the longer you store, the more you’ll pay. 

Utilities

Having too many electronics plugged in, leaving the fridge open, and leaving lights on will rack up your power bill. Extra-long showers, overabundant use of your air conditioner and heating unit will turn your utility bill into a money waster. Try to form a responsible habit of conserving energy and water. 

Cleaning Products

A majority of cleaning products can be replaced with vinegar. It’s cheap, natural, and does a great job. It can be used in place of laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, floor cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and more. Hot water, soap/vinegar, and elbow grease will clean just about anything.

Premium Apps

There is an app for everything nowadays, and they usually have a free and paid version. Stick with the free version every time you can. The paid version typically just removes ads, which is nice, but not worth spending money on. Some other app purchases to look out for are mobile games, stay away from the pay to play garbage. 

Cable TV

The cable tv industry is dying due to the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. However, there are still some people that are paying high cable bills. Cable is a giant waste of money. You’ll get exposed to awful television ads and pay a ridiculous premium. If you must have television in your life, consider switching to a streaming service. 

Magazines

Another dying industry is the magazine industry. Paying for a magazine subscription is an obvious money waster. The internet is full of amazing content and it’s mostly free. There is no use or need for a magazine subscription these days. The industry is dying for a reason, the smartphone is hard to compete with. Leave the magazines at the doctor’s office and cancel your subscriptions. 

Uber and Lyft

The convenience of Uber and Lyft is great, and they’re cheaper than calling a cab, but using them often is a waste of money. The companies are currently losing billions of dollars, so maybe avoid investing in them as well. Plan ahead and avoid being reliant on their services or the costs will start to add up. 

Inflation

The invisible money waster known as inflation likes to eat away at your idle cash. Using high yield savings accounts, gold, silver, and low-risk index funds can help shield your money from inflation. If you keep a large sum of money in a savings account that earns less than 2% APY you’re actually losing money. As time passes the cost of living rises, thus reducing the spending power of your dollars. 

CBD

The latest craze is CBD, it’s being put in everything from dog treats to bath bombs. The THC free cannabidiol is mostly just overhyped and overpriced snake oil. There are some uses for medicinal purposes but many people are claiming it to be a miracle drug. Companies are cashing in on the hysteria and jacking up the prices because people are buying it. Chances are you won’t receive much benefit from taking CBD other than a nice placebo effect. 

Smoking Pot

Obviously, if you have a legit medical condition then marijuana is going to be worth the expense. However, smoking pot for recreational use is a waste of money just like alcohol. Getting stoned can be a serious motivation killer and the costs of buying it adds up. There is a time and place for everything. Self-control and balance is key. Becoming a pothead or alcoholic can destroy your life, and bank account. 

Vitamins and Supplements

There’s nothing wrong with popping a daily multivitamin but most vitamins are a huge waste of money. Research shows the majority of vitamins are ineffective and it’s much better to eat a healthy and nutritious diet. There is a huge supplement industry touting all sorts of claims, none of which are backed by the FDA. Be wary of any miracle vitamin and avoid supplements unless directed by a medical professional. 

Buying That Thing That’s on Sale

If you spend $200 on something that’s on sale from $600 you didn’t save $400, you spent $200. Buy what you need, purchasing something just because you think it’s a good deal doesn’t save you money. No matter how much money you “saved” if you don’t need or use the item you just wasted your money. The same thing goes with couponing, you can end up buying things you don’t need. 

Expensive Hobbies

Hobbies are great, they make life enjoyable and fun but having a pricy hobby can be a waste of money. While you might love to go yacht racing and parachuting, these activities could be outside of your financial scope. Enjoy doing what you love but don’t go crazy. You don’t need the most expensive gear, and you shouldn’t need to spend every dime you have to do it. 

Too Many Groceries 

As a child, I would complain that there is nothing to eat and insist we go grocery shopping. The pantry and fridge were full of food, there just wasn’t anything easy to stuff my face with. The most desired foods and ready to eat meals go quick, while everything that requires time to cook is left behind. Challenge yourself to eat what you have before loading up with more at the grocery store. This will help stop you from wasting uneaten food. 

Tech Gadgets

Getting the newest phone, smartwatch, tablet, Bluetooth headphones, or whatever costs more than it’s worth. Tech gadgets and gizmos are a big waste of money. Trying to keep up on the latest technology is an unnecessary expense. Technological obsolescence continues to accelerate every year. The iPhone 11 just came out! But is it worth the cost to upgrade? Most likely not. 

Concerts & Shows 

Going to a live show can be a fun and entertaining night. Trying to see all of your favorite bands because you’re such a huge fan is a giant waste of money. Ticket prices and fees are disgustingly high, especially if the band or comedian is popular. Then you have to add the costs of parking, travel, food, and drinks. If your trying to save money, not going to concerts will definitely help. 

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO will cause people to make very poor financial decisions. Don’t let the fear of missing out be a deciding factor in anything you do. You’ll typically regret it and end up losing or wasting your hard-earned money. If you feel the FOMO building within, just ignore it and think rationally before you make a decision. Don’t let your friends, family or outsiders try to persuade you into making a financial mistake. 

Trading Commissions

The world of fintech has greatly changed over the last few years and paying commissions isn’t necessary. There are many commission-free brokers to choose from. If you don’t want to change brokers try calling your current brokerage and negotiate commissions. If you trade a lot, they will most likely reduce them for you. Brokerage fees and trading commissions can take a big chunk out of your profits.