I recently discovered a great blog, Go Frugal (at FreeShipping.org). It is now part of my regular blog reading on Google Reader, and the 28 Ways to Waste Your Money shown below is the reason.
We live in a time of such great economic prosperity it simply makes
sense to throw your cash around. Have fun. Live high on the hog and
waste money like there was no tomorrow. Here are 28 ways you can end up
as a supermarket greeter in your golden years.
1. Pay full sticker price on a car: If there is
no sticker price, demand the dealer create one and be sure to ask him
to include charges for dealer’s preparation, undercoating, destination
costs, and 1-percent of his advertising budget. Then bargain, bargain,
2. Buy new instead of used: Cars lose
value as soon as you drive them off the lot. We’re not talking hundreds
of dollars; we’re talking thousands. Buy used, even if the car is just
one-year old. Other things can be purchased second-hand, as well.
Consider shopping second-hand stores, classified ads, craigslist.org,
3. Buy new books and rent DVDs: Why pay
new when a simple library card will get you everything you need for
free. Learn how to use the library’s “hold” system to avoid long waits
and hunts for books, DVDs, CDs and books on CD.
4. Always buy brand names:
Compare ingredients, particularly in the pharmacy, and you’ll see brand
name and generic products are identical while the prices are vastly
different. Generic or store-name products often come from the same
manufacturer as the brand-name. In essence, you’re paying extra for a
different label and advertising.
5. Buy from telephone solicitors:
Just say “yes” over and over again and watch your money go down the
drain for unnecessary or overpriced life insurance, exercise equipment,
6. Buy on impulse: Resist the urge to make
an impulse purchase, particularly on large-ticket items. Go home and
think about it, do some research and see if you feel the same way the
7. Rack up ATM fees: Use an ATM at your own bank or credit union and avoid paying $1 to $1.50 for the privilege.
8. Eat out:
What looks like a $10 dinner turns into $20 to $25 after you add drinks
and a tip. If you’re going to eat out, use restaurant coupons. Pack
your own lunch and learn how to cook dinner at home.
9. Don’t read contracts:
You’re handed a multi-paged document with itsy bitsy print and jargon
you don’t understand. You have two minutes to read 250,000 words of
legalese drafted by an expensive Wall Street law firm. If you don’t
care about saving money, just sign it.
10. Don’t turn off computers:
In fact, don’t turn off any electrics. Unused electronics eat up 40% of
the standard electric bill. If you want to save money, just pull the
plug. Or buy a power strip that allows you to turn off a variety of
devices at the same time.
11. Carry a credit-card balance:
A $1,000 balance on a credit card charging 18-percent interest means
you’re losing $180 every year. Pay off your balance every month and you
still earn the benefits of a credit card without forking over the
12. Pay for your credit report:
Don’t listen to that sweet-cheeked fellow on the FreeCreditReport.com
commercial. The government provides consumers with free credit reports
at annualcreditreport.com. And they won’t try to sell you other, unnecessary products and services.
13. Loan Uncle Sam your money:
If you get a tax refund each year, that means you’re letting the
government borrow your money without paying interest. Adjust your tax
withholding and deposit extra cash each month in an interest-bearing
account. Keep your hands off that account and pay the extra taxes when
April rolls around. You get to keep the interest and Uncle Sam still
gets his money. The Kiplinger Report provides a free online calculator to determine how much you’ll need to save.
14. Pay for services you don’t need:
Are 500 cable channels really necessary? Those premium movie channels
are expensive and you can borrow the same shows and movies from your
library. Do you really need cell-phone service with all the bells and
whistles? If you need constant access to the Internet for work,
shouldn’t your employer pay for it? Can you find a gym that offers
month-to-month contracts instead of a yearly contract, so you’re not
paying for time you don’t use?
15. Drive fast:
You may get there sooner, but you’re blowing through expensive gas.
Jack-rabbit starts and rapid stops will ensure you visit the gas
station as frequently as possible. It’s amazing how much gas you can
save by going 60 mph on the highway instead of 85.
16. Take long, hot showers:
It feels great, particularly in the winter, but long showers keep your
hot-water heater working overtime and wasting expensive gas. They dry
your skin out, too.
17. Buy bottled water:
This has to be one of the most money-wasting trends ever. If the water
in your area is undrinkable, buy filters for your sinks and fill a good
water bottle before you leave the house. (The FDA recommends avoiding
bottles made with polycarbonate plastics (PC), but most of these have
been pulled from the market.)
18. Pay an upfront fee for a mutual fund:
Save more than 5-percent in sales charges by selecting no-load funds.
No matter how well a fund has previously performed, no one knows how it
will do in the future. But if you pay a load, you start already in the
19. Overpay taxes and investments: You’re
spending too much money if you’re not maxing out your tax-sheltered
401(k) or Roth IRA before you invest in a taxable account.
20. Go wild on kids’ clothes and toys:
The new-born market is particularly huge. Parents want to buy the best
for their little darling, but experienced parents will tell you there’s
no shame in hand-me-downs.
21. Don’t let your money work for you:
Keep your money in a no-interest checking account and let the bank save
paying interest. Rich people know the best place to stash cash is in a
high-interest, online savings
These accounts provide much better interest rates than traditional
savings accounts. Reputable companies, such as Charles Schwab, E*Trade
and ING Direct, even offer interest-bearing checking accounts.
22. Pay overdraft fees:
Banks have figured out overdrafts are a great way to make money and
have boosted these fees as high as $35. Keep in mind that many banks
play games, like recording a deposit only after posting withdrawals
made on the same day, then dinging you for each overdraft. With online
banking, there’s no reason you can’t keep an eye on your balance.
Checking your balance through an ATM isn’t the best idea, however, as
it may not reflect all withdrawals from that particular day.
23. Turn your nose up at dollar stores:
Not everything in these stores is a great buy, but standard items like
holiday decor and wrapping paper, kitchen supplies, cleaning products
and greeting cards are a steal.
24. Smoke cigarettes:
Talk about a money hole. The price of a carton of cigarettes has gone
through the roof. Quit smoking and you’ll save money both on the
purchase of cigarettes but also on medical bills.
25. Keep investing in Starbucks:
Instead, invest in an espresso machine for that morning shot of coffee
(if that’s your drink of choice) and bring a thermos of coffee from
26. Shop for entertainment: If you have
to shop, if it’s a total addiction, then leave your money at home and
window shop. Keep in mind that NOBODY needs that many pair of shoes,
including Carrie Bradshaw.
27. Use a debt-elimination company:
The plain truth is that legitimate debt elimination involves payment in
full, bankruptcy, or haggling with your creditors to reduce the
balances due by 50 percent or more. Which option is best for you
depends on your financial situation. In other words, true debt
elimination IS possible. You just have to use the right approach.
28. Buy lottery tickets:
Lotteries take from the poor and give to the government. Your chances
of winning are astronomically small and the cash you win on scratch
games rarely adds up to the money you’ve spent on previous tickets.