Where People Waste Their Money


There are hundreds of ways in which people waste their money. From poor shopping habits to excessive consumption of food, drink, utilities, and a variety of other products and services, it’s easy in this age of super-consumerism to lose track of exactly how money is being spent and where it is leaking, or even hemorrhaging, wastefully.

Each year, many of us waste hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on utilities. While this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be heating or cooling our homes to stay comfortable, this comfort level can be taken to the extreme or become an expectation even when not necessary.

By leaving the heat or air on when you are out of the home, not using ceiling or box fans to circulate the air inside a home or increase airflow, not turning off lights or unplugging appliances when not in use, and failing to close vents or shut doors to unused spaces or rooms, utility bills can quickly soar out of control. To help keep these costs in check, consider taking utility readings yourself and keeping a log of usage levels to see when your usage is highest and better determine how to reduce these amounts.

Eating Out
While an occasional meal away from the home can be a treat and something to be looked forward to, such meals in excess, can be wasteful and reduce the appreciation of the event. Sometimes it is the actual anticipation of the meal that makes eating outside the home so pleasant. But when eating out becomes a regular event, it can start to be wasteful.

Even if the restaurant meal is a special occasion however, it can still be wasteful. Ordering sodas or alcoholic beverages in which the prices are marked up 400%, 500% or more above cost can be wasteful.

Appetizers and desserts are another such area in which you might be taken for a ride when comparing the cost of the food versus the amount served. And while tipping is customary, another 15-20% added onto an already pricey meal can leave your wallet gasping for breath.

To reduce waste when going out to eat, consider these tips:

• Cut back on the number of times you actually go out to eat.
• Skip appetizers and desserts.
• Order water instead of a soda or an alcoholic beverage.
• Use coupons or consider splitting meals to make your dollar go farther.

The Grocery Store
The grocery store is another area in which money can begin easily to escape us. By not making efficient use of our money when it comes to the foods and goods we purchase at the store, we can waste hundreds of dollars or more in this area of our budget.

While a power shopper is made, not born, and the processes involved in efficient shopping can take some time to learn, there are certain things you can do at the store to reduce wasting money.

• Clip and utilize coupons, making sure the coupons you do use make the purchase of the item worthwhile versus comparable brands.
• Make a list before you shop to reduce impulse buys.
• Purchase generics rather than name brands when the quality and quantity is comparable.
• Buy in bulk or when items are on sale if you are sure you’ll make use of them.

Some people might be surprised that gifts are on the list of where people waste their money, but it’s true, both in gift giving and receiving. When you start to consider just how many gifts you’ve received over the years that you’ve had no desire to receive or have never used, the amount of money people have wasted on gifts for you begins to grow. Add to that, gifts cards you’ve received that either expired before you could use them, were lost, or were whittled away by inactivity fees, and that wasted money total may grow even more.

How about the gifts that you received but were never exchanged, returned, or just sat unused. This is even more money that was wasted. And with those items sitting there collecting dust instead of re-gifting them, reselling them, or putting them in a garage sale (as long as the people who gave you these gifts are not aware of your actions), you might be wasting the opportunity to at least gain a little money in return for what you consider a useless or unwanted gift as well as giving the item a second change at life with someone else.

But such situations may apply not only to the gifts you’ve received but the gifts you’ve given. Waste can occur there as well as you overspend in an effort to look like a big-shot or try to keep up with the Joneses. So you see; gifts can be an endless cycle of wasted money if you aren’t careful and don’t consider your purchases and gift-giving wisely.

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 solely at the reader’s discretion.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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