11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

Woman with empty wallet
Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock.comWe all know how easy it is to blow money on a big purchase. Buy an expensive home or car, and you soon might regret it.

But it’s also easy to lose gobs of money a little at a time. That’s true whether you live paycheck to paycheck or you have money to burn.

Here are some budget busters that may be quietly draining your wallet.

1. Spending on phony emergencies

Chocolates
ninikas / Shutterstock.com

A real emergency isn’t so quiet. In fact, a layoff, unexpected medical bill or car breakdown tends to announce itself rudely and loudly.

But other so-called emergencies — like that oh-so-cute, on-sale bedding set for the kids, or that gotta-have-it-now bar of chocolate — are really just “wants” masquerading as needs.

Save the spending for real emergencies. And to make sure such events don’t derail your finances, read “9 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund When Money’s Tight.”

2. Buying the ‘latest and greatest’ of anything

WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock.com

Are you a gadget junkie? Maybe you have to have the latest and greatest iPhone or tablet?

Such spending sprees are hazardous to your financial health. In many cases, you’d be better served by buying used or refurbished.

That is even true on big purchases, such as homes. As we have written, older homes often are constructed better than new homes. However, if something vintage makes you nervous, consider buying something nearly new:

“If you love the idea of new construction, remember that an existing home doesn’t necessarily have to be 50 years old. If you want an energy-efficient home with new amenities, you can probably find it at a lower price if you’re willing to be owner No. 2 or 3.”

For more tips like that, check out “You Should Never Buy These 10 Things New.”

3. Piling groceries into your cart

Stokkete / Shutterstock.com

It’s so easy to head to the store with a few things in mind, but end up spending $100 or more. That’s where discipline comes in.

Use a meal planner so you are buying what you really need, instead of grabbing whatever you desire at that moment. And don’t forget your coupons.

Never head to the store hungry, or you will be tempted to leave with every item that whets your mental appetite. For more tips on saving at the grocery store, check out “19 Things You Should Never Buy From a Grocery Store.”

4. Dining out too often

eating out
Ruslan Guzov / Shutterstock.com

Eating out is one of the most insidious ways to bleed your wallet. It’s even worse if you spend hundreds of dollars at the grocery store each month, only to end up dining out more than you actually cook.

Office lunch dates can put another hole in your finances, especially if they become part of your daily routine.

So, make dining out an occasional treat. And before you go, be sure to check out “7 Surefire Ways to Save on Your Next Restaurant Meal.”

5. Living the high life with your friends

dining
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Your friends are heading out for a night of fun, and you are all for it. After all, you’ve had a long week at work and the kids are driving you nuts.

But there’s a problem: Your bank account is on the brink of going into the red.

Be wise and say no. Even if you have to make up a lame excuse, it’s worth it to salvage your budget. Or, convince your friends that you can have fun more frugally.

6. Planning expensive vacations

Woman traveler
Look Studio / Shutterstock.com

There is nothing wrong with heading out of town for the weekend or even planning an extended excursion. But if you’re already struggling to make ends meet, now is not the time to splurge on five-star hotels and first-class flights.

Instead, plan vacations in a way that minimizes costs — such as being flexible with your travel dates. As we point out in “11 Smart Ways to Save on Travel“:

“One of the best ways to save money on travel is to go when prices are lowest. There are cheaper days to fly, with Tuesday and Wednesday flights appearing to be the biggest bargains.”

7. Splurging on clothes

SciencePhoto / Shutterstock.com

Those new heels you’ve been coveting have finally gone on clearance. But if your budget says no, it’s wise to leave them at the store.

Numerous studies have shown that material purchases do not make us happy for long. Instead, we get more satisfaction from spending on experiences.

8. Pampering sessions

Woman and man in spa
Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

While your body may need a little TLC from time to time, heading to the spa or hair salon once a week has the potential to inflict serious damage on your savings.

So, why not bring the spa to your home for a fraction of the price? Check out “Skip the Spa: Pamper Yourself With These 10 Products for $30 or Less.”

9. Cable

bbernard / Shutterstock.com

Instead of signing up for the most expensive plan, try basic cable. Or even better, cut cable altogether and go for much cheaper alternatives, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

For more on watching TV on a budget, check out “4 Streaming TV Services That Cost $25 a Month — or Less.”

10. Gym memberships

Podushko Alexander / Shutterstock.com

Being healthy and fit is important, but spending way too much money to reach your fitness goals makes no sense.

Ditch the gym and search for inexpensive or free activities at your community recreation center instead. Or try the great outdoors; a little fresh air won’t hurt.

11. Housing

LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

It is easy to drastically underestimate the monthly costs associated with that new home or apartment.

Before you apply for a mortgage or lease, use an affordability calculator to gauge what you can realistically contribute toward housing expenses each month.

Where do you overspend? Fess up in comments below or on our Facebook page.

How to earn $30 in less than 30 seconds

Earn extra money by using Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) — a site that gets you cash back at more than 2,500 stores. As a bonus for joining Rakuten between now and Aug. 6, 2020, you'll earn $30 when you spend at least $30 shopping online through Rakuten within the first 90 days. Start earning cash back and claim a free $30 bonus today.

Read Next
This Is the Top Home Insurer — for 18 Years Running
This Is the Top Home Insurer — for 18 Years Running

Homeowners are increasingly unhappy with their insurance companies, but one stands out for the better.

3 Bank Accounts With Perks for Customers Age 55 and Older
3 Bank Accounts With Perks for Customers Age 55 and Older

These checking accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy. Here’s where I shop for these items instead of a warehouse club.

22 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
22 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

The dollar store has great bargains on these purchases.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You probably don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus
5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

You likely already have some of these products at home.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

The Top 11 Jobs That Employers Want Retirees to Do
The Top 11 Jobs That Employers Want Retirees to Do

Tired of age discrimination? Businesses are clamoring for older workers to fill certain roles.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

You don’t necessarily need to join to get in on the warehouse store’s savings.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

9 Things That Are Free in August
9 Things That Are Free in August

As summer enters the home stretch, we’ve rounded up these sizzling freebies.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.