101 Ways You’re Probably Wasting Money — and How to Stop
- Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Kitchen
- Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Bathroom
- Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Pharmacy
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Clothing
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Utilities
- Ways You’re Wasting Money Around the House
- Ways You’re Wasting Money Outside
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Groceries
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Computer or Smartphone
- Ways You’re Wasting Money When Shopping
- Ways You’re Wasting Money Going Out
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Car
- Ways You’re Wasting Money At Work
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Taxes
- Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Bank
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Travel
- Ways You’re Wasting Money When Buying a Home
- Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Pet
- Ways You’re Randomly Wasting Money
Here at The Penny Hoarder, we definitely subscribe to the idiom that a penny saved is a penny earned. After all, the easiest money you’ll make is the money you already have. So we’re doing a giant round-up of our favorite ways to save more money by wasting less money.
Whether you’re spending money on streaming services you don’t watch or wasting perfectly good food by accident, choose a few of the following ways to stop wasting money this month.
Even small changes in spending habits can add up to extra money in your bank account.
101 Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realizing It
End every month without enough money to pay the bills? See if some of the following bad habits are costing you and what you can do instead to eliminate financial waste.
Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Kitchen
1. Keeping Old, Inefficient Appliances
For those folks whose fridge is so old it’s officially retro now, it’s time to go new. You might think you’re saving cash by kicking the can down the road on an expensive new appliance, but those old models are big-time energy suckers.
Good news! If you’re in the market for a new stove, there’s a rebate for that. Get up to $840 to ditch your old gas stove and go electric.
2. Rinsing Dishes Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher
Resist scrubbing off that caked-on food. That’s your dishwasher’s job. In fact, rinsing dishes can make your dishwasher less efficient and you’re using significantly more water. Step away from the sponge and use the time you save to argue with your spouse about how to load the dishwasher instead.
3. Using Plastic Bags for Everything
We get it. It’s easy to reach for that box of plastic baggies. But you probably have a pile of Tupperware or glassware that’ll do the job just fine. Plastics don’t just waste money. They have an outsized environmental impact, too.
4. Getting a New Cup Every Time You’re Thirsty
For large families, having cups hanging around on every surface isn’t just a clutter issue. All those cups rack up additional costs every time you run your dishwasher. Instead, label cups and use the same one throughout the day.
5. Reaching for Paper Towels
Paper towels are a bad habit for most American households, where we spend as much as $20 a month on eight or more rolls. Paying extra to mop up messes with a disposable towel seems silly when there are plenty of cheap, reusable alternatives.
Ways You’re Wasting Money in the Bathroom
6. Buying Expensive Personal Care Products
Slathering your face with $100 creams is probably putting a sizable dent in your credit card balance. Consider scaling back and adding lower-cost alternatives to your beauty regime, like a store brand with the same active ingredients.
DIY beauty products — like body scrubs, face masks and more — can be made from simple, cheap ingredients you’ll find in your pantry.
7. Skipping Dental Hygiene
It happens to everyone. You come home exhausted and don’t have the energy to scrub your face or brush your teeth. But the cost of cavities, which can run anywhere from $100-$400 per filling, should get you up out of bed.
8. Opting for Single-Use Disposables
Take a moment to consider how much extra cash you shell out for single-use personal care items like disposable razors, face wipes and tampons. Most of these items have reusable alternatives that are better for your wallet and the environment.
9. Using Too Much Toilet Paper
This is a sensitive topic that might rub you the wrong way, but you’re probably using too much toilet paper. Just like paper towels, Americans lead the world in toilet paper consumption per capita. Try cutting back or consider getting a bidet.
Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Pharmacy
10. Buying Name-Brand Prescription Drugs
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating. There are many generic medications that provide the same results as brand-name drugs. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if one is available before you get your script filled.
11. Forgetting to Shop Around Online
In addition to generics, there are many other ways to get affordable medications. Do comparison shopping online at sites like Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company or GoodRx to see if you can snag a better deal.
If you’re retired and looking to save on medications, here are some tips to find affordable prescriptions.
12. Leaving Money in Your FSA
Unlike health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts usually don’t roll funds over into the new year. Make sure you’re reading the fine print on which FSA-eligible costs your health insurance doesn’t cover.
13. Paying for At-Home COVID Tests
If you’re still paying for COVID tests, you’re doing it wrong. Another round of free rapid tests is available from the federal government, and your health insurance is still required to foot the bill for up to eight tests per person every month.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Clothing
14. Washing Clothes in Hot Water
Let’s tie up some loose ends here and clarify that if you’re washing your clothes in hot water, you’re not just wasting energy and water. You’re also putting your clothes through the proverbial ringer and shortening their lifespan, which will cost you later.
15. Adding Too Much Detergent to a High-Efficiency Washing Machine
If you bought a fancy high-efficiency washing machine, you’re probably adding too much detergent. Seriously. Double-check the manufacturer instructions before your next big pour to see if you should scale back.
16. Buying Dry Clean-Only Fabrics
That silk blouse might be on sale, but if you can’t wash it on the delicate cycle, it comes with a hidden price tag — the cost of dry cleaning. Before you splurge, check the garment care instructions and decide if it’s really worth the hassle.
Save money on every load of clothes with our grown-up guide to doing laundry.
17. Not Treating Stains Right Away
Accidents happen. But when it comes to treating stains, you can mitigate the damage by treating them as soon as possible. Better Homes & Gardens explains how to handle every kind of oops on every kind of fabric, from red wine on carpets to Sharpie on your favorite T-shirt.
18. Using Fabric Softener Sheets
Fabric softener sheets seem like one of life’s necessities, but these fragrant disposables can be bad for the environment, your dryer and your wallet. Use wool dryer balls instead, which are good for about 1,000 loads or two to five years’ worth of laundry.
19. Buying New Clothes
The ultimate impulse purchases can be new clothes, but they can really drain your savings account. Instead, opt for a seasonal trip to your local second-hand clothing store to score gently used finds that’ll fill the gaps in your wardrobe.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Utilities
20. Subscribing to Cable or Satellite TV
Still, paying for cable or satellite TV? How very 90s of you. Cutting the cord and opting into streaming services means you can carve out big savings in your utility bills. Just keep in mind that you may lose that savings if you sign up for too many streaming services.
Worried you won’t be able to catch your favorite shows or sports coverage if you cut the cord? Check out these apps that let you watch TV for free.
21. Paying for Phone Service
No, we’re not talking about your smartphone. Some folks (about 28% of US households) are still footing it financially for a landline. A lot of times, it comes with a package deal that includes cable, which is another good incentive to cut the cord.
22. Failing to Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats cost more upfront, but the monthly savings on your heating and cooling bills add up fast. You can also use the Energy Star rebate finder to locate incentive programs for purchasing and installing smart thermostats.
23. Incurring Data Overage Charges
Blowing past data caps with your internet service provider can be a costly mistake. Many providers issue initial warnings and then start applying overage charges. Shop around for an internet provider that doesn’t have data caps like Google Fiber.
Need to lower your internet costs? Here are ways to slash your bill from federal government subsidies to negotiating with your provider.
24. Sticking With Old-School Light Bulbs
Maybe you think incandescents have more character, but how much is that old-school glow costing you? Energy efficiency experts say switching from incandescent to LED bulbs adds up to $1,000 or more in savings after a decade of normal use.
25. Letting Phantom Electricity Siphon Your Power
Some vampiric electronic devices are sources of phantom electricity usage in your home, sucking energy even when they’re turned off. Unplug TVs, coffee makers, microwave ovens, laptops and even cell phone chargers to get rid of the ghosts of electric bills past.
26. Not Replacing Old Windows
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates those old, leaky windows are responsible for 25-30% of your heating and cooling costs. Ouch. Because raising the sash on new windows is expensive, homeowner rebates are available to help with the upgrade.
Ways You’re Wasting Money Around the House
27. Ignoring Water Leaks
It’s just a little drip, right? While you might be tempted to pop a bucket underneath the sink and forget it, remember that water damage from ongoing leaks can cause long-term mold problems. Even if you’re not risking damage, letting a toilet run will show up on your water bill eventually.
28. Buying the Extended Warranty
Extended warranties sound responsible, but most consumers don’t need them. Manufacturer’s warranties often cover parts and labor on appliances and devices for the first year to protect buyers from design flaws or faulty factory work.
29. Using Expensive Cleaning Supplies
Almost every cleaning product on the shelf can be replaced with a few simple ingredients from your kitchen or first-aid cabinet — and a little elbow grease. You can make DIY cleaning supplies from simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and rubbing alcohol.
30. Keeping a Disorganized House
No judgment. We’ve all had times we thought something was lost and bought a replacement, only to have it turn up weeks or months later. But if you find that’s happening often, flex some organization skills and tackle the chaos.
31. Trying to DIY Everything
Sure, you can save money doing some home repairs yourself. But should you? There are some things best left to the pros. That’s especially true if it involves plumbing, wiring or heating and cooling.
Ways You’re Wasting Money Outside
32. Expensive Lawn Care Services
All those companies that promise a green expanse of lawn also charge pretty steep monthly maintenance fees and can waste money. You don’t need a green thumb to learn how to fertilize, mow and treat your own lawn.
33. Paying for Pest Control
Depending on the kind of infestation, you can skip the monthly maintenance fees because DIY pest control might be more than adequate. There are some exceptions that warrant a call to a professional, like destructive termites and notoriously difficult-to-kill cockroaches or rats.
There are some household substances, like coffee grounds, that double as pest control both indoors and in the garden.
34. Forgetting to Trim Back the Trees
Keeping trees and tall hedges trimmed is about more than curb appeal. Branches hanging over your roof or near windows can cause property damage during storms. And if your tree falls into your neighbor’s yard, you might be liable for damages.
Look at your siding too and see where trees and shrubs may be too close. The extra moisture and scraping from branches can affect your siding, leading to costly repairs down the road.
35. Mowing Your Lawn Wrong
Believe it or not, there’s a “right” way and a “wrong” way to mow your lawn. And contrary to urban legend, it’s less about mowing patterns (think spiral vs. checkerboard) than it is about varying your approach each time you mow.
36. Not Planting a Garden
Even if you don’t have a yard, you can use an outdoor space like a deck or balcony to do vertical gardening. Find out which plants grow well in your region and will thrive in the space you have.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Groceries
37. Buying More Food Than You’ll Eat
In the US, it’s estimated between 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, most of it expiring in your fridge or behind the scenes at restaurants before it can be consumed. Be realistic about what you’ll actually use before it goes bad, not aspirational.
If the idea of tossing good food in the trash bin fills you with guilt, try an ugly produce subscription to help cut down on food waste.
38. Using Bottled Water
Still buying pallets of bottled water? You’re not just wasting cash but participating in the proliferation of plastics, which take several hundred years to break down. Get a refillable water bottle instead and pocket the savings while helping the planet.
39. Paying for Grocery Delivery
It’s convenient, but getting groceries dropped at your door comes with a cost. If you’ve gotten addicted to the weekly visit from Instacart, tally up how much those delivery fees are costing per month. The answer might surprise you.
40. Paying Warehouse Membership Fees
Bulk warehouses have deep discounts, but they offset those savings with a membership fee. And for small families or couples, buying in bulk isn’t always cost-effective.
Is a Costco membership worth it? Whether you have a large family or you live by yourself, we did the math, so you don’t have to.
41. Not Doing Meal Prep and Planning
One of the best ways to eliminate food waste in your own fridge is to have a meal plan and stick to it. Make a monthly menu, and don’t stray from your shopping list when you walk the aisles.
42. Relying on Meat for Every Meal
No one is saying you should give up meat altogether. But relying on meat products to fill your plate every night can be a recipe for a ballooning grocery bill. You could save up to 14% on groceries with a flexitarian approach where you switch out meat with several vegetarian meals every week.
43. Shopping When Hungry
We’ve all done it. There’s nothing in the cupboards, so you get desperate and head to the grocery store. And, of course, buy too much food. When you’re hungry, everything looks delicious. Grab yourself a quick bite before you shop to curb impulse buying.
44. Incorrectly Storing Fruits and Vegetables
Making the most of the food you already have in your fridge is an easy way to reduce waste. And there’s a proper way to store everything, from fresh herbs to avocados.
End up with slimy spinach again? Don’t toss those greens! Here’s what to do with wilted spinach, plus tips for keeping it fresh next time.
45. Forgetting to Eat Your Pantry
Even if the fridge is empty, you probably have more meals sitting in your pantry than you realize. Take stock of your staples and make a plan to stretch your food supplies for a few more days.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Computer or Smartphone
46. Hanging onto Ghost Subscriptions
Those auto-renew annual subscriptions can really sneak up on your checking account. And unfortunately, you never seem to get the notification until you’ve already been charged. Take an audit of your subscriptions and ditch the ones you’re not using.
Manage your subscriptions with these five apps designed to help you kick the subscription habit.
47. Getting Sucked into In-Game Purchases
Games are designed to entice you to pay for in-app purchases. Special perks and boosters to help you win the game are usually behind a paywall. To keep yourself from giving into temptation, turn off in-app purchases in your settings.
48. Forgetting to Hit the Unsubscribe Button
Free trials. Sneak peek sales. You visit once to check out something you saw on social media, and websites flood your inbox with special offers. Just hit unsubscribe to avoid falling into the marketing trap that’s been set for you.
49. Buying the New Gadget Every Year
You might want to impress people by always sporting the latest iPhone or iWatch, but the difference between models doesn’t always justify the price tag.
Is the iPhone 14 worth the $900 price tag? If you do go for it, you can make your iPhone purchase more affordable.
50. Not Jumping on the Wi-Fi
How often have you toggled off Wi-Fi because the connection sucked and then forgot to jump back on later? If you have unlimited data, that’s not a big deal. If not, you could be running up data charges.
Ways You’re Wasting Money When Shopping
51. Engaging in Impulse Shopping
Scrolling the internet can be a costly pastime, especially if you’re prone to springing for impulsive purchases. To save yourself from credit card debt, try removing shopping apps from your smartphone to avoid temptation.
Whether you’re trying to dig out of credit card debt or cut down on discretionary spending, use these tips to stop mindless shopping.
52. Not Claiming the Rebate
While that $20 rebate on an appliance or an electronic likely won’t help you reach your financial goals, it’s also silly to leave money on the table. Save your receipts and file quickly to ensure you get in under the deadline.
Don’t stop at the advertised rebates — get cash back on all your purchases. A free site and desktop extension called Rakuten works with just about every online store you shop at, and they can make sure you get some cash back every time you buy — up to 15% cash back.
53. Buying Because It’s on Sale or You Have a Coupon
It’s a great deal, but do you actually need it? Learning to ask yourself tough questions and to take a cooling-off period before expensive — or even small — purchases is always a smart idea.
Blow your budget because you couldn’t resist the sale? Try the cash envelope system to curb spending habits.
54. Paying for Shipping
If you couldn’t find a code for free shipping, look harder. Most sites offer incentives for free shipping if your order exceeds a certain dollar amount. And if you can’t find enough for your cart to avoid shipping costs, then pop into a local store instead or wait until you do.
55. Not Buying Big-Ticket Items in the Off-Season
There is a season for everything, and that includes shopping. Did you know the best time to buy a TV is in January before the new models come out? Or that you should spring for patio furniture in October to get the best prices. There’s pretty much a best time to buy everything if you have time be patient.
Ways You’re Wasting Money Going Out
56. Saying Yes to Every Social Event
Learning how to say no to your friends and family isn’t just emotionally healthy. It can be the key to financial health, too. Next time you get invited to an expensive outing, feel empowered to say pass. Your wallet will thank you.
57. Going to the Bar
Why step out to a noisy, crowded bar when you can stir up your own drinks for less at home? If you overindulge, you’ll waste even less money by falling into bed instead of calling for a ride.
Turn into your own mixologist with recommendations from bartenders on what to buy and what to leave on the top shelf.
58. Buying Expensive Gifts
Nobody wants to turn up at a birthday party empty handed, but you also don’t need to give your debit card a workout. And that includes during the holidays when Americans spend nearly $1,500 on gifts. Cheap or free gifts can be just as nice.
59. Going to the Movies Often
Ditch the high-priced ticket and stream the next blockbuster from home. Most movie aficionados have a fair to excellent TV and stereo system at home. The perks, like bottomless snacks and sprawling across the couch, are priceless. If you do go out, be strategic to find cheap movie tickets.
60. Eating Out Frequently
A nice dinner once in a while to celebrate a special occasion isn’t a problem, but eating out several times a week adds up. No time to cook? Buy convenience foods like already chopped veggies and marinated meats to cut down on prep time.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Car
61. Paying Too Much for Car Insurance
If there is one thing you’re probably paying too much for, it’s auto insurance. Whether you’ve been with the same carrier a long time or there are a few accidents on your record, shopping around for car insurance can really pay off.
Don't have time to shop around? Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once. You’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
62. Buying the Extended Warranty for Your Car
Car buyers get sucked into purchasing extended warranties all the time, but they’re usually unnecessary. Studies show most car owners spend more buying protection with extended warranties than they ever would have spent on repairs.
63. Opting for a New Car
New cars are very shiny and enticing, but they can be a waste of money. Many depreciate significantly as soon as you drive them off the lot. A used car may work better for your wallet.
Want a reliable used car that will stand the test of time? Data show these are the cheapest cars to maintain.
64. Racking Up Speeding Tickets
In a fast-paced modern world, it’s easy to feel like you have to keep your pedal to the metal. But that speed comes at a premium and places you at greater risk of a costly and life-threatening accident, higher insurance rates and lower fuel efficiency.
65. Driving on Bad Tires
When was the last time you checked your tire pressure? And what about the treads? According to the US Department of Energy, driving around on bad tires could be costing you 20-30% of your gas consumption.
66. Not Doing Routine Car Maintenance
Kicking the can down the road on oil changes and other routine maintenance can have costly consequences. It pays to keep your fluids topped off and to take your car in when the check engine light cycles on. You can even DIY basic car maintenance.
67. Using Premium Gas
Premium isn’t always better. Many cars run perfectly fine on basic unleaded gas, which is one way to save on gas. However, luxury and high-performance engines prefer premium, so check the car manufacturer’s recommendations before you fill up.
68. Missing Out on Rewards at the Pump
If you really rack up the gas mileage, you might as well get rewarded for it. Many stations, from Exxon to Maverick, have gas rewards programs that give you cents off every gallon and other perks like price matching.
Ways You’re Wasting Money At Work
69. Not Claiming a 401(K) Match
When your employer offers to match for your retirement savings, run, don’t walk. A full match is great, but every little bit helps. Make sure you’re contributing enough to maximize your company’s 401(k) match because it’s basically like a 3% salary raise.
70. Not Taking Career Advancement Opportunities
Your mother would be disappointed to hear you’re not living up to your earning potential. But seriously, there are high-demand skills like managing people or mastering a new language that can help maximize your salary and open up new professional opportunities.
71. Skipping the Free Coffee
If you’re still schlepping it into the office on the regular, don’t forget there’s usually free coffee and other stuff in the break room. That means you can finally ditch that expensive coffee shop latte you’ve been sipping.
72. Not Asking for a Raise
Too shy to speak up about getting a raise or a cost of living increase? Learn to advocate for yourself because a survey found that 70% of employees who ask for a raise get one. This guide can walk you through how to ask for a raise.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Taxes
73. Forgetting to Claim Deductions and Credits
We’re not suggesting you skimp on your taxes, but there are plenty of perfectly legal ways to squeeze more out of your refund, even if you don’t itemize. Refer to the IRS website to make sure you’re maximizing earned income tax credits.
74. Claiming Exempt Income as Taxable
There’s not a lot of income the IRS isn’t interested in taxing, but make sure you’re clear on what you don’t have to claim. This includes child support and crowdsourced funding.
Knowing what the IRS considers taxable income and what’s exempt from reporting can help when you file taxes.
75. Not Tracking Mileage
In a few states, companies are required to reimburse you for mileage if you’re traveling for business reasons. And if you own your business or are a freelancer or independent contractor, you can usually claim work-related mileage on your taxes.
76. Paying to File Your Taxes
If you’re paying to file your taxes, you’re doing it wrong. With the exception of some states that have processing fees associated with filing taxes online, there are plenty of ways to file taxes for free.
Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Bank
77. Purchasing Cashier’s Checks
Banks usually charge between $10-$15 for cashier’s checks, but if your account meets a certain minimum balance, they may waive the bank fees. Next time, ask the teller if you qualify, if your account provides free checks or if there’s a cheaper way to make a payment, like an ACH transfer.
78. Getting Charged Late Fees or Overdraft Charges
When your check or payment “bounces,” your bank may charge you overdraft fees. Overdraft fees run anywhere from $35 or more per transaction, though many banks no longer charge overdraft fees.
Out of sight is out of mind, so use calendar budgeting to help ensure you never miss a payment again.
79. Paying Bank Fees
Paying for the privilege of parking your pennies at the bank is crazy talk. Look for bank accounts that don’t front-load their checking and savings accounts with fees. Hey, you might even get a bonus for opening an account.
80. Racking Up Credit Card Interest
Your credit card requires you to make minimum payments every month to maintain good credit. Otherwise, your credit card interest rate can increase, and you’ll have to pay more for less. If you carry a balance, you’ll be out money for interest too.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Travel
81. Paying Baggage Fees
Cramming your oversized duffle into an overhead bin while other passengers look on in dismay isn’t the only way to avoid baggage fees. There are multiple airlines that offer free checked bags as part of benefits programs or mileage clubs along with other airline freebies.
82. Opting for Rental Car Insurance
When you arrive at the counter disconcerted and exhausted, they always ask if you want to pay extra money to add rental car insurance. Just say no because most of the time, your car insurance covers you even when you drive a rental car. If you’re not sure, call your insurance agent before you travel.
83. Not Earning Travel Rewards
Every time you take to the friendly skies, you could be earning miles and other perks. Most airlines offer free programs and even credit cards that help earn mileage.
If you want to rack up the miles, these are the best airline credit cards.
84. Buying Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a smart idea, but not for every situation or destination. Your credit card may already protect you from some travel-related risks, and any claims surrounding coronavirus or pre-existing conditions are usually not eligible for coverage.
85. Not Traveling During Shoulder Season
During peak season, hotel rooms and flights come at a premium. But as soon as the crowds thin and shoulder season starts, more affordable rates pop up.
Ways You’re Wasting Money When Buying a Home
86. Buying Mortgage Insurance
Home buyers are usually required to buy private mortgage insurance if they put down less than 20% of the purchase price. The best way to avoid mortgage insurance is to wait until you save enough for the down payment.
87. Not Shopping Around for Better Rates
If your credit score is solid, you should be able to find some decent mortgage rates when you’re ready to buy a home. Do some shopping around, and don’t opt for the first lender the real estate agent suggests.
Use these tips to find the best mortgage rates online before you talk to a loan officer.
88. Refinancing Too Soon or Too Often
There’s a right time and a wrong time to try to refinance your mortgage. Waiting until the interest rates have dropped is key, but you must also consider other factors, such as how long you plan to be in the home.
89. Skipping the Home Inspection
Home inspections can seem pricey, especially when you’re trying to save for a down payment. But skipping the home inspection could leave you and your wallet suffering some serious buyer’s remorse.
Ways You’re Wasting Money on Your Pet
90. Purchasing Premium Pet Food
Our four-footed friends and family deserve the best, but some premium pet foods rely on fillers and low-quality ingredients. If your vet has recommended a specific food for health reasons, shop around online for the best affordable pet food.
91. Buying Pet Insurance
Insurance is a tricky decision for pet parents. Older pets with pre-existing health conditions usually aren’t eligible for pet insurance. Certain dog breeds are also more expensive to insure, such as Newfoundlands and Jack Russell terriers.
92. Getting the Expensive Treats and Toys
You know the little furry darling will gut that adorable plushy in about three seconds flat. Lean into durable toys and make your own treats at home.
Everybody loves free. Even your pet. Here are the best freebies for dogs, cats and more.
93. Not Spaying or Neutering Your Pet
One of the most costly mistakes you can make is not spaying or neutering your pet and ending up with expensive vet bills and a litter of hungry puppies or kittens. There are clinics that offer free or low-cost spay and neuter services if cost is a barrier.
Ways You’re Randomly Wasting Money
94. Buying Lottery Tickets
Hitting the jackpot is a pipe dream, and you know it. Instead, squirrel money away on something that’ll earn you a better return on investment, like a high-yield savings account.
95. Keeping that Unused Gym Membership
You keep saying you’ll go someday, but someday never seems to come. Ditch unused memberships and work out at home for free.
You can actually make sweating it out your side gig with these various ways to get paid to exercise.
96. Paying for More Life Insurance Than You Need
In many cases, your employer may offer you life insurance. While it might be smart to take out an additional policy depending on your family situation and health, it’s not necessary for everyone.
97. Buying Books
We know you love your Kindle but hear us out. The books (and magazines!) in the library down the street are free. And if you prefer, you can also download books online from most libraries.
Books aren’t the only things libraries have to offer. See what else your community library might loan, like toys or musical instruments.
98. Always Running Late
If you’re the type who’s always slipping out the door five minutes late, you’re in good company. But that behavior is costing you more than a frantic morning. It means you’re more likely to grab fast food, have to pay for coffee or even get a parking ticket.
99. Buying When You Could Borrow
Next time you think you must buy a leaf blower or a kitchen gadget, ask yourself how often you’ll use it. If the answer is infrequently, ask your neighbor or a friend if you can borrow or split the cost and share an appliance or tool. There are even tool libraries you can use.
If you can’t borrow, see if renting makes sense. There are several things you should rent instead of buy.
100. Keeping a Storage Unit
Clutter isn’t just costing you space. Americans spend billions every year on storage and old storage units, which can cost upwards of $100 per month to maintain. Store stuff temporarily while relocating but commit to clearing it out within a year.
101. Not Doing Your Research for Big-Ticket Items
Consumers who don’t do their research and read the fine print before buying large appliances, cars and even homes are wasting money on potentially problematic purchases. Think ahead about not only the purchase price but what the ongoing costs may be.
How to Stop Wasting and Start Saving Money
The key to stopping wasteful behaviors is not to plunge into changing everything at once. Pick a few key categories off this list and work at changing those habits slowly over the next four to six weeks. That’s how long experts say it takes to create effective behavioral change.
A good place to start is food waste. At least 70% of Americans say they spend too much on dining out, with about a third reporting they consistently toss out uneaten food. Dig in and see what changes you can make to convert those pennies saved into pennies earned.
Kaz Weida is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering saving money and budgeting. As a journalist, she has written about a wide array of topics including finance, health, politics, education and technology for the last decade.