7 Ways You Throw Away Money Every Day

Man throwing away money
Cookie Studio / Shutterstock.com

Sometimes, the best way to save money is simply to stop wasting it.

Unnecessary expenses can eat away at your bank account without providing any real benefit. Taken one by one, these everyday spending errors might seem small, but they can add up to thousands of dollars wasted each year.

Learn how to avoid these ways of wasting money every day.

1. Paying ATM fees

Woman at ATM
Andrey Arkusha / Shutterstock.com

It’s common to pay several dollars for the privilege of withdrawing money from an ATM. This may be convenient, but it’s unnecessary. There are multiple ways to avoid this charge.

A simple solution is to carry more cash so you don’t have to worry about finding an ATM. You also can ask for cash back when making a debit card purchase at a supermarket or a drugstore. Just be sure that there isn’t a fee attached.

A longer-term solution is to stop by our Solutions Center. There, you can compare rates on checking accounts and move your money to a new bank. Choose one that has numerous branches and ATM locations so you can make free withdrawals more easily. Or, choose an online bank that will let you use any ATM and will waive or reimburse ATM fees you incur.

2. Not unplugging idle electronics

Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com

The typical household contains numerous gadgets that have the potential to draw electricity — and increase your utility bill — when they’re idle. Many are consuming power even when they’re turned off, reports The New York Times.

Devices to unplug when not in use include:

  • Coffee machines
  • TVs
  • DVD players
  • Speakers
  • Laptops

3. Not using a gym membership

Senior Woman Exercise
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

At the start of a new year, many people pledge to shed weight and improve their fitness, only to lose their resolve in a few weeks. If you aren’t going to be a regular gym user, the cost of a membership likely won’t be worthwhile.

There are cheaper ways to stay fit. Perhaps you would use an exercise machine or weights in front of a TV at home more often than in a gym. It also costs nothing to keep a pair of athletic shoes under your desk at work so you can take a walk during your lunch break.

You can even get paid to get in shape. A company called HealthyWage makes that possible for people willing to wager, as we detail in “How to Earn Money by Losing Weight.”

4. Paying for services you don’t use

A and N photography / Shutterstock.com

Businesses sometimes offer you a discount for paying a membership fee upfront. This might sound like a good way to save a few bucks, but the monthly or annual fee could continue long after you’ve stopped using the service.

For example, if you have a computer problem, you may decide to pay a monthly fee for live access to technical support. Once the problem is solved, you may never need to call for help again. However, monthly fees will continue draining your bank account unless you cancel the membership.

To find recurring expenses you may have forgotten, use a company like BillCutterz or Trim. Or, comb through financial records yourself. We detail both options in “How to Slash Every Monthly Bill You Have.”

5. Subscribing to magazines

Young woman reading magazine at table.
Veles Studio / Shutterstock.com

It’s tempting to subscribe to your favorite magazine when it’s on sale. But what if you don’t have time to read each issue? Seeing unread magazines pile up is like watching money fly out the window.

Before buying a subscription — whether to a printed or online publication — ask:

  • Will you truly read the magazines?
  • Are the magazines something you would otherwise purchase at a newsstand?
  • Are you averse to reading magazines for free at a public library?
  • Do you have an Amazon Prime membership? (It comes with Prime Reading, a feature that gives you access to more than 1,000 digital books, magazines and comics to read at no added cost.)

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” perhaps you don’t need a subscription.

6. Wasting food

Woman scraping food off plate into trash bin.
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com

Up to 40% of the food in the U.S. is never eaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Much of this wasted food ends up in garbage dumps, which effectively means you could be literally throwing away hundreds of dollars a year.

There are plenty of ways to stop this waste, though, from reconsidering bulk purchases to making groceries last longer. For more ideas, take a look at “13 Easy Ways to Cut Food Waste and Save Money.”

7. Stopping at convenience stores

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

Convenience stores are handy when you’re in a hurry, but that easy access comes at a premium.

You’ll typically spend less by visiting a grocery store. That may require planning ahead.

Start by thinking about those trips to the convenience store. If you often stop there for a quick drink, keep bottles of water or soda on your grocery-store list instead so you always remember to pick up some. That way, you’ll have your favorite drink on hand at home and can get in the habit of taking one with you on the go.

Better yet, buy some reusable water bottles and fill them with tap water or soda from 2-liter bottles. You’ll save even more money.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Grow Your Savings in 2020 With These 5 Tricks
Grow Your Savings in 2020 With These 5 Tricks

Saving money doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some ways to game yourself into stashing more cash.

How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes
How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes

Here’s how to strengthen your nest egg before or even during your golden years so these missteps don’t ruin your retirement.

7 Surprising Benefits of Staying Fit in Retirement
7 Surprising Benefits of Staying Fit in Retirement

Improving your overall physical health is just one reason to stay active after 50.

8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers
8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers

The Product of the Year awards help shoppers find the best pet products, personal care items and everything in between.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate
10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate

Clever shoppers can save money without sacrificing quality. Here is how to do it.

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

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

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.