No matter how efficient you might think you are with your money, there’s still a good chance you’re wasting a decent amount of that precious dough. Whether it’s splurging on your daily seven-dollar Starbucks frappuccino or an all-expenses-paid vacation, everyone’s guilty of squandering their paychecks now and again.
While these are obvious examples of the ways you’re wasting your money, others may not be as noticeable. Here are 10 common ways in which you’re squandering your moolah without even realizing it. Take notes! That way you won’t have to be afraid every time you check your bank account…
1. Unused extended warranties: Approximately 33 percent of people choose to purchase extended warranties, but it’s usually a waste of cash. Most products, like ovens, dryers, and refrigerators, rarely break during the window covered by service contracts anyway!
All you’re really doing with that warranty is increasing the producer’s profit margins by 50 to 60 percent each time you buy! You might as well be lighting money on fire. So next time, skip the warranty, since you probably won’t even need it to begin with.
2. Charging your electronics overnight: This doesn’t just mean keeping your cell phone plugged in all night long. It also includes plenty of other items that you might never dream would be drawing a charge, like your computer and cable box.
On the low end, people spend an extra $2 a year when they leave their phones plugged in, and an extra $23 when powering a cable box—even when the TV is turned off! Unplug, unplug, unplug!
3. Purchasing premium fuel for your vehicle: Not only is buying premium gasoline way more expensive, but most cars and trucks are made to run on regular ol’ unleaded gasoline anyway.
You may think you’re doing something nice for your car, but you’re really just spending your hard-earned cash on something that won’t actually make much of a difference for your fuel economy. Just follow the recommendations in your car’s manual!
4. Paying unnecessary bank fees: Most banks offer free checking, but anyone with an empty checking account should take note. Some financial institutions will actually charge fees if your balance dips below a certain amount!
Even if the fee is, say, only $10 and your balance drops below the set amount just once a month, you’d still be spending an extra $120 a year for no reason! Also, try to avoid using other banks’ ATMs; those $2 and $3 charges add up.
5. Smoking cigarettes: A smoking habit isn’t just extremely unhealthy for your body—it’s pretty bad for your wallet, too! Considering that many brands charge upwards of $6 per pack, how much would that cost you in a year?
Do the math: if you smoke one pack a day, that’s $2,190 a year that you could be spending on literally anything else. If you’re looking for yet another reason to drop the habit, your wallet is always there to remind you.
6. Ordering the appetizer at a restaurant: Everyone knows that ordering appetizers is fun. You’re going out to eat, so what’s the problem with splitting that fried calamari? Well, about that…
It’s important to remember that you’re there for the entrée, which will likely fill you right up. So why spend the extra money when you don’t have to? If you only go out occasionally, go ahead and splurge. But if you’re a regular, watch how much you order. (Your waistline will thank you, too!)
7. Purchasing a gym membership: Want to hear a fun fact about all of your friends with gym memberships? Ready? None of them are actually using that membership all that much, if at all…
Well, 67 percent of them aren’t, to be exact. So skip those unnecessary monthly fees and buy some exercise equipment for your home. That way, you can work out whenever you want to—and you don’t have to worry about becoming a statistic.
8. Springing for the premium cable package: Though it’s common for people to spend upwards of $250 a month on a premium cable package, it’s not very cost-effective, especially considering how most of us tend to watch only a few specific channels anyway.
For a better option, consider switching to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, where you’ll spend $10 or less a month and still get to enjoy all of those great TV shows and movies for a fraction of the price.
9. Paying interest on your credit cards: Sure, your credit card might seem like a convenient way to purchase something in the moment, but interest adds up quickly, especially if you’re already in debt.
While everyone’s rates vary, the average interest rate on credit cards is 14.95 percent. The best way to avoid throwing away money on your credit card bill is to simply pay your balance in full each month!
10. Springing for the low-deductible car insurance: It might seem like a low-deductible is the way to go, but don’t be fooled just because the word “low” suggests it’s going to be cheap…
In fact, purchasing car insurance with a deductible between $500 and $1,000 can save anyone up to $100 every year. Just do a little research on your insurance options and you’ll be good to go.
It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while—you deserve it!—but doing so all the time will add up and it can hurt your bank account in the long run. If you’re careful with your money now, you’ll be able to enjoy it a lot more down the line!
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