September 13, 2023 | Sammy Tran

Top 10 Things People Waste Their Money On

Where Is All Your Money Going?

Cash in trash and worried woman split
Ever looked at your bank statement and thought, 'Where did all my money go?' You're not alone. We're all guilty of splurging a little here and there, but those little expenses can sneakily add up. 

So, let's break down the top 10 things that might be quietly draining your wallet and check out some alternatives that'll give your bank balance a happy boost.

1. Dining Out Frequently

Man is smiling and having lunch with woman at restaurant.Gary Barnes, Pexels

Dining establishments often markup food prices by 300% or more. Cooking at home not only saves money but allows for control over ingredients, ensuring healthier meals.

The average American spends over $3,000 a year on dining out.

Alternative: Prepare meals at home, or opt for pot-luck gatherings with friends.

2. Expensive Coffee

Barista serving a coffee to a customerAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Beyond the coffee itself, buying from cafes includes costs for branding, labor, and overhead. Homemade coffee can taste just as luxurious with the right tools and techniques.

Regularly buying coffee from cafes can cost an individual upwards of $1,100 annually.

Alternative: Make your coffee at home.

3. Unused Gym Memberships

Gym HorrorShutterstock

Many people overestimate how often they'll use the gym. Instead, finding flexible fitness solutions or using online workout platforms can cater to different routines and moods.

Approximately 67% of gym memberships go unused, costing Americans billions each year.

Alternative: Use pay-per-class options or home workouts.


4. Impulse Buying

This One Moment Changed My LifePexels

Stores are designed to entice impulsive purchases. By shopping with a list and adhering to a budget, you can avoid falling into retail traps.

Impulse purchases account for about $5,400 annually for the average consumer.

Alternative: Create a budget and use shopping lists.

5. Late Fees and Overdraft Charges

Long-Term Divorce factsPixabay

Banks often profit from customers' forgetfulness. Automating finances ensures timely payments and minimizes the risk of incurring these fees.

Americans pay around $15 billion in overdraft and bounced check fees each year.

Alternative: Set up automatic payments.

6. Brand Name Products

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Pexels

Brand names spend significant amounts on marketing and packaging, costs which are passed onto consumers. Generics often provide comparable quality at a fraction of the price.

Opting for name brands over generics can result in a 30-40% price increase.

Alternative: Buy generic or store-brand versions.

7. Unutilized Subscription Services

netflix alternatives reviewShutterstock

With the rise of subscription-based services, many consumers sign up and forget. Regularly auditing these can lead to surprising savings.

Americans waste $348 per year on average for subscriptions they don't use.

Alternative: Regularly review and cancel unused subscriptions.

8. Fast Fashion

Two Women ShoppingRon Lach, Pexels

Fast fashion items are often made to be disposable, leading to more waste and frequent repurchasing. Investing in timeless, quality pieces can mean longer intervals between shopping.

The average American throws away nearly 81 pounds of clothing every year.

Alternative: Invest in quality pieces.

9. Frequent Tech Upgrades

Happy young people buying a new smartphoneNDAB Creativity, Shutterstock

Frequent tech upgrades not only drain finances but contribute to electronic waste. Regular maintenance and careful use can extend device lifespan.

44% of smartphone users said they upgrade to a new device while their old one still works.

Alternative: Extend the life of your current gadgets.


10. Buying Bottled Water

Man wearing grey shirt is holding a bottle of Fiji water in his hands.Anna Gawlik, Shutterstock

Bottled water often costs more than gasoline. By using filtered tap water, you not only save money but also reduce the environmental impact of plastic bottles.

The average American spends over $100 annually on bottled water.

Alternative: Use a water filter and reusable bottle.

Adopting mindful spending habits is a key component of financial wellness. These changes can lead to substantial savings over time, allowing for investments in more valuable experiences or assets.

Dear reader,

It’s true what they say: money makes the world go round. In order to succeed in this life, you need to have a good grasp of key financial concepts. That’s where Moneymade comes in. Our mission is to provide you with the best financial advice and information to help you navigate this ever-changing world. Sometimes, generating wealth just requires common sense. Don’t max out your credit card if you can’t afford the interest payments. Don’t overspend on Christmas shopping. When ordering gifts on Amazon, make sure you factor in taxes and shipping costs. If you need a new car, consider a model that’s easy to repair instead of an expensive BMW or Mercedes. Sometimes you dream vacation to Hawaii or the Bahamas just isn’t in the budget, but there may be more affordable all-inclusive hotels if you know where to look.

Looking for a new home? Make sure you get a mortgage rate that works for you. That means understanding the difference between fixed and variable interest rates. Whether you’re looking to learn how to make money, save money, or invest your money, our well-researched and insightful content will set you on the path to financial success. Passionate about mortgage rates, real estate, investing, saving, or anything money-related? Looking to learn how to generate wealth? Improve your life today with Moneymade. If you have any feedback for the MoneyMade team, please reach out to [email protected]. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Moneymade team