Most of us have our share of bad spending habits, but many more of us may be surprised to discover just how many ways we can be parted from our money. Nobody desires to just waste money, but sometimes it is almost a natural instinct, something we do in spite of ourselves and our noblest intentions.
Just Google “wasting money” and you will get a ton of results. For our purposes here, though, let’s dig beneath the surface and examine a number of money sucking habits that we might not initially think of.
Okay, stop shopping for bargains. Look for them when you actually need something. I can’t count the number of times I’ve browsed a bargain site and bought something for no other reason than “it was a great deal”. And I’m a guy!
Only pull what you need from the ATM. $100 or $20 will find a way of vanishing just as rapidly.
Paying bills late. The late fees don’t look like much, but add them up over time and you’ve got problems.
Lending money. This is always a bad idea. If you must loan money to somebody, just resign yourself to the fact that you’re never going to see it again. Consider it “giving money to someone in need”.
Don’t comparison shop. Remember you can ALWAYS find a better price if you’re willing to just look.
Buy full CDs. There was a time when we had to buy a whole CD of mediocre music to get one or two good songs. Not anymore. With Itunes and other similar online download sites, a buck at a time is the way to go.
Never turn off the lights. Yes, we all laughed at our dad when he lectured us about turning off the lights, but a burning light in an empty room bears a remarkable resemblance to a dollar bill flying away.
Buy a brand new car. Watch the value drop 20% or more the minute your tires leave the lot.
Buy brand name. Sure, your kids may curse you back to the day your most distant ancestor was born, but you can buy perfectly stylish clothes and accessories with no name brands attached.
Playing the lottery. You’ll have better luck in the middle of a field in a thunderstorm with a metal rod calling down fire. Sure, you may win $50 here or there, but how much did you spend to get it?
Never haggling. It’s a common practice in other countries. Never take first price, especially on bigger ticket items such as cars or homes.
Don’t monitor your bank account. Then when you overdraw, which you eventually will, you get socked for a nice big fee. These add up nicely as well.
Speed. You get charged not only in the form of tickets but also the higher insurance premiums that you will be paying for either a) the next seven years, or b) when the last ticket rolls off your insurance, whichever comes first.
Buy high octane gas. Unless you’re driving an extremely high end exotic, there is no reason at all to worry about high octane. If you insist on using it, fine, just count the number of dollar bills you’re burning away with every tank.
Use 411. With the internet this is pretty much obsolete, and never mind the fact that 1-800-GOOG411 offers the same service but without the fee.
Buying music, movies, and books for higher than average prices. Is there really a difference between the $25 copy of STAR WARS at Barnes & Noble and the $12 copy of STAR WARS at Target?
Oh, be sure and smoke cigarettes as well. If you smoke, you’re kissing about $2000 goodbye every year.
Charging everything. Charging is fine if you can pay off the balance at the end of the month, every month. But unfortunately, this rarely happens, and you end up paying hundreds of dollars in interest charges over the course of time you have the card.
Telephone sales. Your best bet with these people is to hang up, because they are good. If you let them stop talking, the chances of you buying something that you totally do not need increases exponentially the longer you remain on the phone.
Never read a contract. How many times have you ended up with charges you weren’t expecting because you failed to read the fine print? It happens, so don’t hesitate to read the whole thing. If the person across the table gets antsy or impatient and they try to push you into signing, stand up and walk away from the deal….they’re hiding something.
Trust me, there are plenty more. We’ll do a follow up later on. For now, save your money and spend wisely.