It’s easy to waste money on everyday items. We all do it, but there are some everyday items that truly are a waste of money. If you need to get your budget back in check, here are 12 ways you may be throwing cash away that you need to stop.
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While it may be tempting to purchase a handful of lottery tickets when you see those jackpot numbers climb, your odds of winning are one in nearly 300 million. Put that cash towards something you will actually have the chance to enjoy, like your vacation.
Gas is already expensive, so why are you paying more for premium gas when you don’t need to? Unless the manual for your car specifies the use of premium gas, you are just wasting extra money on something you don’t need, and that cost will add up quickly.
Dryer sheets may not cost much, but they are a completely unnecessary expense. You can buy a set of wool dryer balls and never need dryer sheets again.
You won’t have to worry about your clothes having static cling, and they are better for the environment.
Are you one of the millions of people who are wasting thousands of unnecessary dollars each year by purchasing bottled water to drink?
Save money by adding a Brita pitcher to your kitchen or a water filter to your kitchen tap and buying a cool reusable water bottle. You’ll save a ton, and it’s better for the environment.
Are you spending hundreds of dollars each year on plastic bags for your sandwiches and chips for lunch, plus paper bags to put them all in? This is a complete waste of money.
You can buy reusable plastic containers to pack your sandwiches and lunch items in and an insulated lunch bag to carry them in.
Name-Brand Over-the-Counter Medications
Why are you paying more for what is the same product? Everyone needs a good assortment of over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen for aches, pains, and headaches.
The store brands of these medications are cheaper and just as effective as the national brands.
Whether it’s moving day or you are just trying to remove clutter from your home, you should never need to purchase cardboard boxes.
There are plenty of places that are more than happy to give you cardboard boxes for free if you just ask. Try your local grocery store, pharmacy, or liquor store before you go out and buy some.
Yes, you need rags to keep your home clean and in order, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend money on them. Old shirts, towels, and sweatshirts make perfectly good rags for cleaning, and you don’t need to spend a dime. Just cut them down to size and get cleaning.
Yes, it’s convenient to grab the pre-washed and chopped produce at the grocery store, but you are going to pay for that convenience. Why pay extra when you can do the washing, cutting, and chopping yourself?
Wash and prep your produce when you get home from the store, and you still have the convenience without having to pay extra.
Paper Plates and Cups
Having disposable plates and cups can be quite convenient, but it’s another convenience that is costing you unnecessary money. It is far less expensive to put the dishes in the dishwasher or wash them by hand.
It can be tempting to upgrade your phone to the latest version when a new one comes out, but it comes at a price. It may seem like it’s “just $50 a month” to upgrade, but it’s money you don’t need to spend if your old phone is working well.
Food delivery apps offer a convenient way to get a meal when you’re short on time. However, they can also add up quite quickly. From delivery fees and tips, to inflated pricing, it’s easy for a $10 or $12 meal turn into $25+.
The average American spends nearly $1,900 a year on meal delivery, according to the USA Today. If that’s you, you don’t need to cut cold turkey. Cutting your spending in half will net you nearly $1,000 in savings a year.
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I Need Money Now!
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7 Steps to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle
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How to Build an Emergency Fund
Having a fully-funded emergency fund is the gold standard of personal finance. However, it’s not always easy to achieve. Follow these steps to start and grow one that gives you peace of mind.
How to Start Investing With $500 Or Less
You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. It’s possible to start with several hundred dollars, or less. Take advantage of time and start growing your money as soon as possible.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.