10 Ways You Are Throwing Money Away

by Cents and Order | Last Updated: January 7, 2015

Would you like extra money in your pocket? Some money drains happen right under your nose and you probably don’t even think about it. Little expenses can add up to big money over time!

Bank Service Charges

Banks have complicated the checking account. Your account may come with terms requiring a minimum balance, a direct deposit of a certain amount, or transaction requirements such as 10 debit card purchases. Then if you don’t meet one of their requirements, you’re slapped with a fee of $10 or more.

-See if your bank offers a different account with a lower minimum balance or better meets your activity needs.
-If your bank doesn’t have a better option, be sure to shop around for an account that will work for your activity. Don’t forget to look at credit unions too–they tend to have lower fees.

ATM fees

ATM fees are the worst. Not only are you charged by the bank owning the ATM, but your bank likely charges a fee for the withdrawal as well. One ATM withdrawal can cost you $4-$6. If you only withdraw $40, that’s a 10% fee. Just to access your own money!

-Withdraw cash from your bank’s ATM.
-If your bank’s ATM is not convenient, it may be time to consider a different bank that is conveniently located.
-Try to take out enough cash that you will not need to make multiple visits to the ATM throughout the month.
-Use your debit card at a store that allows you to get cash back –verify whether your bank charges for this service.

Convenience Fees

Have you gone to pay a bill online or by phone and been charged a convenience fee?

Many companies will charge you what they call a convenience fee for making an electronic payment. Not very convenient for you though! It’s their way to recoup the fees they are being charged by their bank. These are popping up more and more-even the school charges a convenience fee for electronic lunch payments.

-Pay with a method that doesn’t require fees such as a check or through your bank’s bill payment service.

Late Charges

Late charges for forgetting to get the credit card bill in the mail in time, extra rental days for the RedBox movie rental, and library fines for forgetting to return the library books on time are just some examples of late fees you may encounter on a regular basis. Sound familiar? Some late fees may only be a dollar or two or while a late credit card payment will run you $25 or more.

-Pay bills online through your bank instead of mailing your paymemt.
-Set up autopay with the biller.
-Set reminders on your phone to return library books, movies, etc.

Unused Subscriptions

You signed up for a subscription service (such as a fitness club membership or video rental subscriptions) that you haven’t used or don’t use very often.

-Consider canceling the membership or subscription. Be sure to read the fine print to ensure you aren’t hit with any cancellation fees.
-Downgrade your membership/subscription to a lower plan if available.

Bad Habits

Trying to win the Powerball? Smoke a pack a day?

If you have any sort of bad habit you are guilty of (and we all have something), look at how much it is costing you. Add up that cost over the month…the year…or more.

Five bucks a week on lottery tickets might not seem like much, but that $5 adds up to $250 over the course of a year. What could you do with an extra $250?

-Cut back on the frequency of whatever your vice is.
-Eliminate your bad habit altogether.

Bottled Water

Do you grab a bottle of water when you are out and about or at lunch? Grabbing a single bottle of water at the convenience store or lunch counter will set you back a buck or two.

-Invest in water filter if your tap water is gross. When I lived in Louisiana, the tap water had a yellow/brown tinge all the time (GROSS!). I even used filtered water for cooking because the tap water was so bad.
-Go with reusable water bottles. Reusable water bottles are great to bring to work, school, and even the kids can bring them in their lunch instead of juice box.

Keeping Items Too Long

Done having kids? Sell your baby gear and clothes to make some extra cash. The longer you hold onto them, you will get less money when you go to sell them.

What about the kids-are they done with the latest video game? Trade it in for something else or store credit while it still has a higher value.

-Sell items you no longer need to get some extra cash.
-Trade in used items while they still have a higher resale value.

Food Waste

Did you end up dumping half a gallon of milk down the drain? Find a moldy half block of cheese in the back of the fridge? The last two apples got mushy and gross before you were able to get to them?

-Pay close attention to what you’re purchasing and try to only by what you know you will use.
-Try meal planning to use what you already have.
-Use up the leftovers with a new dinner idea.

Getting The Latest And Greatest

When you buy a brand new car, it starts losing the most in value those first couple of years. If you decide to get a new vehicle after those couple of years, you might find that your car is worth 30-40% less than what you paid.

Another common example these days is cell phones. New model cell phones have gotten to the point where the cell phone companies now offer a “convenient” payment plan for their phones. We’ve gotten to the point where cell phones have to be financed. Is this really the best use of your hard-earned cash?

-Consider going with the older model, especially once the newest ones come out.

How much can you save?

If you are trying to find more money in your tight budget, maybe one of these money drains is to blame.Just by paying attention to small expenses, you might be able to save $20 or more a month. It might not sound like very much, but if you are struggling to pay off debt or build an emergency fund, every little bit helps!