FTC: I am not a financial advisor and this post is not sponsored. All thoughts and weird opinions are my own.

build financial freedom There are very few things I dislike more than “wasting” anything. Wasting food, wasting resources, wasting time, and certainly wasting money are at the top of my list. That is because if you are wasting, you are not taking into account how that particularly item can be used correctly and purposefully. 

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What grinds my gears even more than being wasteful, is being wasteful without even realizing it. When you are intentionally wasting money, you feel like you’re in control and you usually are getting something that you want. When you are unintentionally wasting money, that is a double whammy. There are several ways and reasons that we waste money without even realizing, and once I’ve pointed them out to you (and to myself) we can make a positive change to stop the cycle. 

wasting money

5 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Even Realizing It 

1. Convenience Over Savings:

I do this all the time, and because it is making things convenient for me, I never see it as wasting money, but the fact is, it is. Let me show you two examples of how I choose convenience over savings that could really go a long way. 

CASE #1: Buying pre-washed/chopped/sliced/cut produce at the grocery store. Instead of buying a head of lettuce, I go for the organic pre-washed Romaine hearts that I can just pull apart and throw into my salads. Even worse, sometimes I’ll buy pre-packaged/ pre-chopped lettuce, kale or spinach which can often times cost 1-2 dollars more than a regular head of lettuce. Why? Because it is convenient for me and what is 1-2 dollars really matter? 

It matters because when it comes down to any monetary habit, it will add up and it will add up quickly. I go grocery shopping once a week. During that shopping trip I usually buy lettuce, spinach and kale. If I choose the convenient route for each of these greens on a weekly basis I’m adding on a extra 260 dollars spent on average per year that I could save simply by taking the more “inconvenient” route. 

CASE #2: I have an unlimited monthly metro card that is funded by my commuter fund at my job. This means that the money comes out of my check pre-tax and onto a card that can only be used or commuting purposes. Instead of using the metro card for most of my travels, I tend to use the Uber/Lyft rideshare option as a means of convenience. Even worse, sometimes I won’t even take the rideshare option, and simply take a regular Uber/Lyft that costs on average 16 times more than it does to simply take the train or the bus.  

2. Buying Items On Sale :

I’ve mentioned this before in several other posts, buying something on sale does not mean that you are saving money. Why? Because 9/10 when we are shopping in person or online, the item that we see on sale is an item we did not necessarily want, and most  definitely did not need prior to seeing the “sale”. The only way to save money, is to save money. PERIOD.

People will argue and say well I spent so much less than I would have if the item wasn’t on sale. The truth is, you would have spent 0 if you did not purchase the item at all. If it something that you absolutely need/wanted prior to seeing the “on sale” sticker then I can understand your joy in seeing the item marked down. However most of the time that is not the case. Do not fall into the trap of buying items on sale as a method of saving money, because the truth is you’re wasting money and it hurts me to see you do so!

3. Bank Fees/ Late Fees:

Banks are notorious for being predatory perpetuators that charge us all of these “hidden fees” and who can blame them when we make it so easy for them to do so? SIKE! We can still blame them and with the knowledge we are gaining on financial literacy… we can stop them. You don’t have to have an account with a bank that will fine the crap out of your money, when there are so many other options to keep your hard earned money in your possession. (Capital One 360 is one of my fave accounts for many many reasons)

The first thing is admitting that a lack of preparation can often times lead to late fees/ and bank fees being taken from us. I am guilty of this. I have a specific type of Citibank account that does not charge me ATM fees. HOWEVER, just because they don’t charge me ATM fees doesn’t mean that other banks, and other ATMs won’t. The 2.50-4.00 dollars that you are being charged for using an ATM that doesn’t coincide with your bank card ADD up. Even the .99 cent ATMs in Mc.Donalds will add up to over 50 dollars a year if used on a weekly basis. 

Late fees are another monster waste of money that we fall victim to. There has been far too much development in technology to suffer to late fees simply because you forgot something was due. Use those smart phones to your benefit, and have them be your second brain if they must. 

 4. Credit Card Interest

I absolutely despise credit card interest, because it forces me to face my spending habits head on. If you buy something that you can not afford to pay back within a month’s time, then you have no business buying it PERIOD. There’s a high percentage that whatever it is that you bought, you also didn’t really need… so there’s that to deal with as well. I’ve fallen trap to this in my younger years, before I understood really the true value of money. Most credit cards charge 9% and up in interest (9% is low and usually reserved for those with stellar credit). If you are more so around the 20% mark when it comes to interest, and paying off minimum monthly payments, it is likely that what you bought will end up costing you for more than what you paid for it, and for more than what it is worth. (I put a down payment for a car on my credit card once… DUMB!). 

I know many of us use our credit cards to rack up points for travel and purchases, but the best bet if you want to take that route and benefit from it the most, is still to pay off the balance in total at the end of your billing cycle. 

5. Unmatched 401K

I know I know… I’ve been forcing retirement information down your throats a lot as of late, but that is because I am really looking out for you and your future. If you are not taking advantage of your 401K opportunities at your job, you are leaving money on the table. Especially if they offer a matching opportunity. Having your 401K unmatched, is preventing you from capitalizing on investing and interest possibilities that could make you retired pockets a lot thicker down the road. Look into what your 401K options are at your job and make the best financial move for your financial life. 

If you loved this post and it helped you learn a bit, share this with your friends, family and nosey neighbors! We’v also got a dope financial literacy e-book to help you expand your financial knowledge and take you one step closer to achieving financial freedom! You can get your hands on it here

Until next time,