28 of the Biggest Money Wasters, According to Real People

POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich
POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich

Although you might be proud of your frugal ways, there are many more ways you could be wasting money. Don't let your efforts go to waste and be conscious of how you're spending to keep a tight rein on your bank account. That's not to say that you can't indulge in luxuries when you can't afford it, but you need to still keep in mind how much money you're spending. A good way to be more conscious is to know what the biggest wastes of money are, so you're more aware. Redditors talked about the biggest money wasters, and here are some of the most popular ones.

  1. Cigarettes: Quite a number of people talked about what a waste of money cigarettes are. If you smoke a pack ($5) a day, the numbers can add up, leaving you with a lifetime bill of $89,000 over the course of 50 years. That's not including the medical bills you might rack up because of this bad habit. Heavy smokers who are men increase their risk of developing lung cancer and have a 24.4 percent chance of getting it.
  2. Throwing away leftovers: Our society wastes a lot of perfectly good food. In fact, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American throws away 25 percent of food and drinks. A few Redditors say that throwing away leftovers and not eating them again the next day is a big waste of money.
  3. Bank fees: There are so many bank fees you can get dinged with if you're not careful. These include overdraft fees, third-party ATM fees, and more.
  4. Workout supplements: One Redditor thinks that certain workout supplements such as "intraworkout, fat burners" are a waste of money.
  5. Heating and cooling costs: Many poorly constructed homes cause people to lose money from heating and cooling costs, says mechatronic_. There are still some things you can do to help with this, including properly insulating your home and caulking up cracks.
  6. Skipping class: Not going to class is a major money-suck, says yakherder42. You're paying a lot of money for your education. The average student loan is around $27,000, so by playing hooky, you're actually throwing money down the drain. Revel in absorbing all you can during your school years, before the reality of the working world hits.
  7. Food and beverages at convenience stores and gas stations: If you're on the go, buying food and beverages at a gas station seems convenient, but is it worth the cost? Conveience stores and gas stations tend to inflate prices, so you'll be paying much more than if you bought it in bulk or at a grocery store.
  8. The lottery: You have a higher chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery. Playing big to win big might not exactly be a sound strategy, but limiting yourself to a few dollars might be enough to satisfy your cheap thrills without emptying your bank account.
  9. Buying food items you can make at home: There are plenty of things you can make at home, including your daily latte. Take a look at our list of foods that are cheaper to make than to buy.
  10. Rebates: Laziness might be costing you. If you're putting off filling out and mailing in rebate forms, you may not turn them in by their due dates.
  11. Returning items: Something that wasn't mentioned in the Reddit thread but is also a pretty common waste of money because of laziness is not returning items. It's easy for people to put off returning items until it's too late to get a refund.
  12. Eating out too often: That's not to say that you shouldn't eat out, but try to mix things up by making food at home occasionally and eating out when you can afford it. "Making your own food is much cheaper and, often, much healthier," says evilstickman.
  13. Bottled water: Why buy bottled water when you can drink water for free courtesy of your tap at home? Get a Brita filter ($14) for purified water you can enjoy at home.
  14. Cable TV: Many say cable is a waste of money since you can access a lot of those shows on the web. If you're ready to take the next step to cut the cord, here are some tips for quitting cable.
  15. Not taking advantage of retirement match: If your employer is willing to match how much you put in your retirement account, you should definitely take advantage because it's almost like getting free money.
  16. Trading in a car before it's paid off: Rolling over what you owe on the old car to the new car can be a risky situation because you may end up paying more than what the new car is worth.
  17. Paying interest: Pay back debts as soon as you can, advises AngryB3ar. "With credit cards, DON'T, I repeat DON'T, let interest accumulate . . . If you can't afford it, you shouldn't be swiping in the first place," says the Redditor.
  18. Not buying generic: That's not to say that you should buy everything generic. You should keep in mind that some items are not worth buying name brand.
  19. Lavish weddings: lemmingparty "can't understand how people who aren't rich will spend more than $15,000 on one day."
  20. HDMI cables: You can apparently get HDMI cables for much cheaper online, according to Blf2001.
  21. Dental hygiene: "Three minutes of brushing and flossing per night can save you thousands down the road," says dreamolicious.
  22. Charges for going over your allotted usages: Going over your minutes and data allotment can rack up a really hefty bill, as the rates are higher when you go past your limit. Try to track your usage regularly or sign up for alerts that notify you when you've almost run out. This can apply to all kinds of contracts.
  23. New things: Why buy new things when some old things will serve just as well?
  24. Diamonds: Diamonds are forever, but blind_zombie emphasizes that they are "a rock, which is expensive due to the fake demand diamond sellers make by releasing only a few at a time. You are better off buying gold."
  25. Throwing away coins: There are some who just throw away coins because they don't like them to weigh down their pockets or they don't have a place to keep coins in their wallet. Over time, these coins can add up.
  26. Paying for services you can perform yourself: A quick Google search will help you perform many of the tasks you need done like an oil change, says MakVolci.
  27. New cars: User aggie1005 thinks new cars are a huge waste of money because "they go down in price so fast."
  28. College degree that doesn't pay off: unusedalias says, "One of the biggest ways people waste money is by pursuing a college degree that will not earn them enough money to pay off the debt (via student loans) accumulated in the process."

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