95% of Americans admit to spending money on unnecessary things. Traps and metaphorical sinkholes drain money from pocketbooks, and it happens more than most realize. The persistent occurrence of unnecessary spending makes it more difficult to achieve financial stability.
It can be painful to look at your bank account and wonder, “Where did it all go?”
Here are five hidden ways you're wasting money and probably don’t know it.
1: The Coffee Conundrum
Many people cannot function without their daily dose of caffeine. Whether it's a piping hot cup of joe or a fancy frappuccino with whipped cream and sprinkles, it can be hard to resist the allure of a delicious caffeine fix.
Buying coffee every day is a super pricey habit and most consumers don’t realize how much money they are spending on their morning shot of go-go juice. Spending $5 on a fancy coffee drink every weekday is $25 a week. Over the course of a year, you'll have spent over $1,200 – just on coffee!
To save money, consider investing in a coffee maker and some high-quality beans. It will save money and might even establish your barista skills.
2: The Convenience Bait
People love paying for convenience. The promises of ease and simplicity are tempting, but convenience comes at a cost. Whether you’re picking up one of those delicious-smelling pre-cooked rotisserie chickens at the grocery store or using a food delivery service instead of cooking at home, those little conveniences can add up over time.
Next time you're tempted to pay extra for convenience, consider if it's really worth it. If the answer is yes, that’s okay. But you might be surprised at how often the answer is no if we are being honest with ourselves. For instance, are you really too busy to cook dinner, or are you just feeling lazy? Are you in a rush, or can you spare five minutes to pack your lunch?
By making small changes to your daily routine, you can save yourself a surprising amount of money, and you might even discover a newfound love for cooking.
3: The Subscriptions Sinkhole
Have you ever signed up for a free monthly subscription trial only to forget to cancel it before the trial period ends? Subscription services have become increasingly popular over the years, offering convenience and access to a wide range of services and mobile games for a monthly fee. However, it's easy to forget about these subscriptions and continue paying for them after you no longer need them.
Those $10-a-month subscriptions might not seem like a lot, but they add up over time, especially if you stop using them and forget to cancel. If you have multiple subscriptions, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars a year without even realizing it.
So, the next time you sign up for a free trial, set a reminder to cancel it before the trial period ends so you do not get charged.
4: The Sale Syndrome
Saving money is a wonderful thing and sales are a great way to do just that. But people tend to buy things they don’t need just because they are on sale. That's when money gets wasted. Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you actually need it, and if you're buying things only because they're cheap, you're wasting money.
Before spending money because something is on sale, ask yourself if you would buy it at full price. If the answer is no, then you probably don't need it. Sales can be a great way to save money on things you need, but don't let them tempt you into buying things you don't.
5: The Energy Waste
Do you forget to turn the lights off after leaving a room? Energy waste is a big way people waste money without realizing it. People waste energy by leaving electronics and appliances plugged in when not in use, heating or cooling an empty house, taking long showers, using incandescent light bulbs, and poor insulation, which lets climate-controlled air escape the house more easily. This can lead to higher utility bills and wasted money on energy that you don't need.
To avoid energy waste, develop good habits such as turning off lights and appliances when you're not using them, taking shorter showers, and adjusting your thermostat when you're not home. You can also invest in energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs to reduce energy usage and save money in the long run.
Stop Wasting Money
These are the five surprising ways that you are wasting money and didn’t even realize it. Eliminating these habits will help you stop wasting money and start practicing money-saving strategies that are commonly used by wealthy individuals to increase their net worth and stay wealthy.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.