Here Are 5 Small Ways You Might Have Wasted Money Yesterday (and How to Avoid Them Tomorrow)

Here Are 5 Small Ways You Might Have Wasted Money Yesterday (and How to Avoid Them Tomorrow)

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Jennifer Hunter
Jul 26, 2016
(Image credit: Elizabeth)

Who wants to keep more of their money? You? Great! Everyone is probably guilty of at least a few of these little money-wasting habits which can quickly add up over time (don't worry, you can still buy a latte). Let's stop doing this stuff and use the extra cash to treat ourselves to something we actually want to buy!

The ATM

Did you really just spend $3 getting access to your own money? How often do you fall for that one? If you, like me, never have cash on hand, then you may find yourself stuck with expensive ATM fees if you ever need to pay with actual paper. Don't be like me, plan ahead. Make a trip to your bank's ATM (the free one) a weekly or monthly item on your agenda so you're never stuck shelling out at a random and expensive ATM.

Spoiled food

You paid for that produce so throwing it away is a waste of cash. So what can you do besides, well, eating it? The freezer is your friend! Meat, bread and even veggies that are close to dunzo can pop right into the freezer to buy you some extra time. Wanna get really fancy? Make your own smoothie packs like these from Living Simply. It's a double whammy of efficiency.

Shipping

Online buys seem like a great deal until you factor in the extra $9 it costs to get it to your door. But after spending so much time finding just the right thing, most of us just sigh and pull out our credit cards. So how do you get around these fees? Research! Many sites have minimums that will give you free shipping. Hold on, we're not suggesting you spend more just to save a few bucks, but planning ahead and doing a bulk buy of your staples can get you to the minimum and save you leg work, too. If you find your shipping adding up too often, a membership in a program like Amazon Prime could be the answer, but do the math and make sure it's worth it for your shopping habits.

A membership you don't use

Can you remember the last time you got to the gym? Have you forgotten your Hulu password but barely noticed? Memberships and subscriptions are so psychologically tricky because we only see the bill once a month (if at all!) so it's easy to forget that, yes, you're in fact paying every day for access to something you're not using. Spend a month really keeping track of your habits and then figure out if your cost per use is something you can keep up, or if it's smarter to cancel your membership.

Wasted utilities

Here's the thing: using up more than your share of utilities is bad for your wallet and bad for the earth so it's a no brainer that you should streamline your energy usage wherever you can in your home. It could be as simple as turning your water heater down a few degrees ,closing up unused rooms so you don't heat or cool them unnecessarily or not turning on the shower to "heat" for several minutes before getting in simply out of habit (can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine?). Picture your dollar bills washing down the drain. That's what a lack of utility efficiency is doing.

Can you ID the places you waste cash? 'Fess up!

Re-edited from a post originally published 7.22.15-NT

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