10 Big Wastes Of Money

Want to know how to accumulate cash in a hurry?  Stop wasting it!  Here is a list of 10 things that are a waste of money, in no particular order:

10 Things That Are A Waste Of Money

Insisting on brand loyalty. Sure, we all have our brand favourites but often generic or store brand clones are very similar in quality, if not indistinguishable, and can save you at least 25 percent or more.  Check them out and compare the difference.

Buying from TV infomercials. TV products are overpriced and they hardly ever turn out as depicted.  Plus shipping and handling costs can be enormous.  If you’re still tempted to buy, most items are available at many retail stores, often at sale prices and you save the shipping charges.

Failure to return items. It doesn’t fit right or the colour is wrong or it was just a plain mistake, but who has time to trek back to the store?  You do.  If you still have receipts, try to get a refund for all new items with tags or original packaging.  At least get a store credit, otherwise it’s a waste of money.

Late fees. Don’t be a late payer.  Late fees on credit card accounts, mortgages, car loans, property taxes – even library books and DVD rentals are extremely high.  Record due dates in your planner and pay on time.  If you do incur a late fee, call immediately.  Most creditors will waive the fee if you have a good payment record.

Related: 10 Fees That Are Worth The Money

Overdraft fees. A small slip-up can easily turn a $5 burger into a $40 overdraft fee.  Even if your bank is happy to cover your mistakes you’ll be not only charged a fee, but at least 21% interest until the OD is covered.  Look into your chequing account options.

Extended warranties. Extended warranties are mostly profit for the retailer.  Generally, if an item is going to fail, it will do so early on and the manufacturer’s warranty will cover it.

Paying for storage. If you’ve got so much stuff that you need to pay to store it, you’ve got too much stuff.  Period.  Take the plunge and unload everything you don’t use or need.  Turn what you can into cash or give away still serviceable items to charities like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Related: How Many Clothes Do You Need Anyway?

Not taking advantage of available discounts. Do you have a young driver in the family who is also a good student?  You may qualify for a good student discount to lower your auto insurance rates.

Did you take a driver training course?  Does you car have more than the basic safety equipment? Did you install a home protection system?  Call your insurance agent for a review to save on auto insurance.

Buying in bulk. It’s easy to get carried away when you walk through a warehouse club like Costco.  Determine how much you really need and then consider the price.

If it’s more than you can reasonably use before the stuff turn stale, rotten or past expiration – or you just don’t need it- you’re throwing money down the drain.  If you must buy in large quantities, invest in a vacuum sealing machine or a large freezer for storage.

Not taking an employer’s match. If you’re eligible for employer-matching RRSP or other savings plans and you’re not signed up, you’re turning down FREE money.  It’s like getting a 50 – 100% return on your money without any risk.  How can you pass that up?

So, this is my list of 10 things that are a waste of money.  Can you add to the list?

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  1. Echo on September 21, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Nice list Boomer. I have to add bank fees to the list, especially since there are a number of free options out there, why pay your bank to keep your money?

    I have to admit that I’m guilty of not returning items sometimes, just out of pure laziness or the fact that I threw the receipt out.

  2. WealthWebGuru on September 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Excellent post!
    My contribution is fast food. It’s a waste of money and it’s so unhealthy for you.

  3. Financial Cents on September 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Love the list!

    #3 is a BIG one – I think keeping receipts is huge…

    How about:
    1) driving (wasting gas) when you can walk or bike?
    2) ordering-in when you can make food at home? (I’m guilty of this like many, many others on Friday nights I’m sure!).
    3) buying anything you don’t use within 3 years or less (e.g., tools you don’t use; clothes you don’t wear).


    • Boomer on September 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Great additions guys! We’re all guilty of wasting money sometimes and we know it. The trick is to be more aware, try to have a plan (eg driving, fast food)
      and try to minimize the waste so we can use the money for things we really want.

  4. Schultzter on October 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Nice list.

    Add to number 6 credit card warranties – I have a free credit card that offers purchase and extended warranty protection!

    And for number 9 I totally agree – split it, zip it, and freeze it as soon as you get home. And don’t forget to mark what’s in the zip lock bag and when you bought it – something look remarkably similar after six months side-by-side at the bottom of the freezer!

  5. Finanzas Personales on February 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    In line with number ten in your list, I’d like to add “not staring to save when you can”. We usually spend more money than we need to and don’t realize we can start saving earlier. Less time to save, less interests working for us.

  6. Witty Artist on July 3, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I would add the fast food – not so much because of the money as for the unhealthy stuff we eat; secondly I think about some important purchase (such as a laptop or a TV set) and you buy the first item you see without testing the market a little.

  7. MichaelV on July 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    What a great list and most of us are guilty of doing at least one – if not most of them. However, there’s one that I maintain could save many out there lots and lots of money Every Month – and that is to make the payment on your interest-free credit cards BY THE DUE DATE.

    The cards I have give me about 40 days of interest free time as long as I pay the amount owing in FULL by the due date.

    I make a point of always paying on time and this way I never have to pay ANY interest on my purchases – ever. A wonderful system if used properly. I really like using the bank’s money for 40 days interest free.

    Now I realise that some people are simply not in the position to be able to do this – and that’s a pity – but sometimes it’s because those people spend much more than they should. Could this be another money waster for your list?

  8. Charlie on August 21, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Your list is very good, but so many more things can be done. People who let their engines run, while waiting for someone. If you are stopped for more than a minute turn off your motor and save some petrol. Turn off all lights and appliances you do not use. Switching off wall switches is so easy and the utility bills run up quickly. Reuse things insted of buying new, borrow tools instead of buying them, make a shopping list and only buy what is on it, should I go on … that should be enough, but my wife could probably give you another hundred or so … cheers

  9. Peter D on October 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I totally agree with all the auto/driving comments. Wasting gas (and the money it costs) is a huge peeve of mine. I am often times embarrassed to be an American because all we do is drive huge gas-guzzling SUVs, leave the car idling so you can keep your heat or AC on, floor it when the red light turns green, etc. I don’t get it. Here we are in the midst of a recession and people (Americans) are oblivious to easy ways to save money. I can’t wait for the time when ALL cars will turn off when stopped at lights. Even those ridiculous Hummers.

  10. Nightvid Cole on August 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    It’s not just gas. You’re also depreciating the vehicle and making it need maintenance and service sooner. Driving is very expensive, and gas is only half of it…

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