Ten biggest money wasters you'll want to avoid
Using the closest ATM, rather than the one at your own bank will typically costs you about $5. Your bank charges a fee for going out of network, and the ATM you use also charges a fee.
Your bank's ATM probably won't cost you a cent.
You could fill a gas tank a with the savings, says Gary Thurber, assistant director of community relations at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of New York. Thurber has many clients who make anywhere from five to 10 unnecessary ATM withdrawals a month, adding up to around $40 -- or almost $500 a year.
"Nowadays $40 can -- almost -- fill up a car with gas," he said.
They say you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery. But that doesn't stop people from trying.
Consumers bought more than $70 billion worth of lottery tickets last year, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. About $38 billion was awarded in prizes.
Thurber said most of the clients he works with spend between $10 to $20 a week on lottery tickets -- mostly on the scratch-off variety. That adds up to a whopping $520 to $1,040 a year. So far, none of Thurber's clients have hit the jackpot.
Spending a few bucks a day at the local coffee bar may seem cheap. But imagine all the money you could save if you simply brewed your own coffee at home.
Americans spend an average of $8.43 each time they stop at a coffee shop, according to data compiled by Mint.com. With caffeine fiends filling up an average of 46 times last year, this adds up to a total annual bill of $385.97.
For daily drinkers, the bill can be in the thousands. Thurber said he has clients who spend nearly $4 on a cup of coffee every weekday morning, costing them about $80 a month. That adds up to nearly $1,000 a year.
"You can just see their eyes getting bigger and bigger as I add up how much they are spending on it," he said. "That really starts to show them why they're having difficulty paying down credit card debt and helps them say, `I've got to make some changes'."
Not only are they bad for your health, cigarettes are also a cancer on your budget.
Americans spend $80 billion on cigarettes per year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thurber said many of his clients spend about $70 a week, or $280 a month, on packs of cigarettes.
One client quit smoking after Thurber told him that he would save an extra $320 a month (including the money saved on his health insurance at work). He then used that savings to buy a new car.
If you simply can't ditch the habit, there are cheaper alternatives, like buying in bulk.
Infomercial impulse buys
Only $19.95! Call now and we'll double your order! Such promises have lured in many unsuspecting consumers to what they thought was a great deal.
The infomercial industry brings in about $400 billion a year, according to the Electronic Retailing Association. But it's no secret that many impulse purchases go unused.
Thurber said he has several clients who spend around $200 a month purely on infomercial purchases -- most of which they admit go completely unused.
Logan Sachon, a writer for personal finance site Bundle.com, has spent at least $500 worth of quick-fix products that she never used, including the Magic Bullet Blender, the Topsy Turvy tomato planter, the Perfect Push-Up and Debbie Meyer's GreenBags. And she said another $500 worth of purchases has probably ended up at Goodwill or put in the trash.
Food products from popular brands may come in prettier packages, but that doesn't mean they're superior to their generic counterparts. While a 9-ounce box of Rice Krispies costs $4.79 at one New York City grocery store, its 12-ounce generic brethren costs only $1.99, with an identical list of ingredients.
And a $2 or $3 price difference can add up.
"Part of the time we're not even [buying brand names] consciously, we're doing it because it's familiar and we don't have to think about it," said Diahann Lassus, co-founder of wealth management firm Lassus Wherley.
Lassus said the prices of generic items are typically 5% to 10% lower than brand-name options. Even if there are only generic options available for some of the items you buy, she estimates you could save at least $50 to $75 a month if you're spending $500 to $600 a month on groceries for your family.
If you don't want to let go of your brand name items, shop at discounters like Wal-Mart or shop in bulk.
Eating out is one of the most expensive habits you can have.
Consumers spent an average of $28.47 on each restaurant meal in 2010 and averaged 82 restaurant visits during the year -- adding up to $2,341, according to Mint.com.
Bars and alcohol are another money sucker, with people paying even more per transaction for alcohol than they did for dining out last year. On average, people spent $42.27 each time they went bar-hopping.
"It amazes me that when someone asks you for a $20 donation to charity, you think that's too much to give, but then you don't think twice about dropping 100 bucks on dinner," said Tom Orecchio of Modera Wealth Management.
Orecchio said one of his clients used to grab lunch from delis every workday, spending $10 to $15 each time. When he realized how much the habit was costing him, he began brown-bagging his lunches, and ended up saving more than $2,500 a year.
Unused gym memberships
Automatic monthly fees are one of the easiest ways to waste money. And it's not easy to cancel a gym membership when next week is always the week you'll finally begin that New Year's resolution fitness routine.
But gym no-shows are throwing away hundreds of dollars a year (maybe even a month, for some upscale gyms).
Lassus said one of her clients had been spending $75 a month on a gym membership she never used, so she realized it would be cheaper to just buy an exercise bike for her home.
"We all come to the end of the year and say `it's time to start getting in shape,' but we don't think through whether we are willing to make that time commitment and if it is going to be worth the dollars we're spending," she said.
Daily Internet deals
Those pole dancing lessons may sound like a great idea when an email entices you with 50% off for a limited time.
And of course, with daily deals, you'll need to purchase the offer now, but cash in on it later.
But lots of those vouchers never get redeemed. Lifesta, a site that will buy back your unused deals, estimates that 20% of all daily deals go unused. That's a whopping $532 million wasted, based on the Local Offer Network's estimate that the daily deal industry will grow 138% to $2.66 billion in 2011.
That might be why you're seeing so many of them popping up everywhere. More than 63,000 local group deals were published online last year, and almost 40,000 were published in the first quarter of 2011 alone, Local Offer Network found.
"Anyone who uses a computer is now being constantly bombarded with them," said Lassus. "But what you really have to do when you see a good deal that pulls you in is think `would I even be considering buying this if I didn't have this good deal in front of me?'"
Bundled cable or phone services
Bundled packages aren't always a deal, if you're not using the extra services you're paying for.
Consumers are often lured into bundled cable, Internet or phone packages because of the reduced rates offered during the first year or a limited period of time. But paying for 500 channels that you're not watching, or unlimited text messages or airtime that you're not using, is just a waste of money.
"People will often just pick the plan they think they can afford, and then they won't check their usage compared to what they're paying for," said Orecchio. "You might be paying for the silver or gold cable package with lots of channels when you're only watching the same 10 channels, and the same goes for cell phones -- you could be paying $100 a month for your cell phone plan and only using $50."
I don't agree with all of these but it is rather informing so I thought
I'd post it here for you guys!:0) Also this is not mine I got it off aforum I'm on from a poster named msbittersweet08 I hope you enjoy!