10 Things Americans Waste Money On?

by J. Money - Published October 13, 2014

dead shopping cart

The average life of a personal finance blog is pretty small in the grand scheme of things. Most bloggers can make it past the first two months without burning out/giving up, but many will stop way before they hit their first anniversary. Then you have the hustlers that make it to years 2 and 3 and even 4, putting them in the top 5% of all bloggers, and anyone who makes it past year 5 is just a total bad-ass when it comes down to it (ah thank you).

After bad-assity there’s just one last level – granddaddy’hood. The bloggers who have been sharing their thoughts for almost a decade on money, and who really pioneered our little sliver of the online world here. Those like J.D. from Get Rich Slowly, Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar, Flexo/Luke from Consumerism Commentary, and one of my all-time favorites, FMF from Free Money Finance.

Which brings me to the point of today’s history lesson: FMF is retiring from blogging after 9+ solid years :( A day that eventually comes for all of us, but one you still hate to see when they’ve been in your life for literally a decade. And while FMF is in the small minority of those blogs left who did not sell his site for millions of dollars (he actually gives all his blog $$ to charity!), he’s still helped hundreds of thousands of people over his time online and he will be surely missed.

So in an attempt to help carry on his words today, I thought we’d riff on one of his last posts on the 10 things Americans waste money on. Which he actually took from Dave Ramsey it looks like, and now J. Money will be stealing too ;) (We’re all a happy incestuous family online, what can I say?)

Here are the 10 things people apparently waste money on:

  1. Credit card interest
  2. Deal websites
  3. Appetizers
  4. ATM fees
  5. Overdraft fees
  6. Speedy shipping
  7. Designer baby clothes
  8. Unused gym memberships
  9. Premium cable packages
  10. Daily coffee trips

And here are my personal thoughts on them:

Credit Card Interest — Agreed, big fat waste of beautiful cashola. And we’ve all gone through our stages of paying this nonsense, haven’t we? Some are still in the middle of it, but as long as you’re diligently working to shed it off forever there’s no need to give you a hard time about it here. We all know it’s dumb, but it’s even dumb & dumberer to never do anything about it. So keep fighting the good fight! (Was that a good movie btw?)

Deal Websites — I’m reminded of what my friend Frugalwoods likes to say about this stuff: “Nothing’s gonna save as much money as simply not buying anything at all.”  It’s one thing to shop for stuff on sale that you were already going to buy anyways, but who honestly stops there and never pulls the trigger on other things they now all of a sudden “need” and want too? I gave up on these sites two years after Groupon first came around as I could no longer trust myself to responsibly participate anymore. And my wallet’s loved me ever since.

Appetizers — Appetizers are so good!!! Sometimes more than the actual meals! :) But I get that it does add a hefty amount to the total in the end, so I typically (maybe 90% of the time?) avoid them as well. The other 10% is usually due to ordering appetizers *instead* of a main course to not only save money but get something scrumptious. But that’s usually when I’m drunk and/or not starving which is like every time I’m at a restaurant (the starving part, not the drunk part).

ATM Fees — Do people still pay these? I’ve been so out of the loop since sticking to USAA over a decade ago that I honestly couldn’t even tell you what these nasty ATMs charge anymore. USAA reimburses you for all of it automatically so I haven’t paid an ATM fee since I was a teenager… And believe me – I’ve even tested it in less than savory places too where taking out cash (in ones) costs a hefty premium at certain locales, if you know what I’m saying ;)

Overdraft Fees — The worst. Not only do you get charged for not managing your money well in these cases, but it also usually means you’re OUT of money too! So a double whammy right upside your wallet. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of mess-ups too, but usually a quick call into customer service does the trick in cleaning up any dirty charges. It becomes a problem when you make this stuff a habit.

Speedy Shipping — I don’t really have a problem with this if you rock one of those Amazon-like deals and do most your shopping there through the year (well worth the convenience surcharge in my opinion), but for one-offs I never see the point. Unless you’re ordering medicine or waiting ’til the last second to go Christmas shopping, I really don’t think waiting a few extra days is going to kill you. But hey – if you have the money and want the niceties in life, why not?

Designer Baby Clothes — HAH! Are they vomit/poop/spill proof? And grow every two weeks just like your baby? If so, sign me up! That’s miracle cloth right there…

Unused Gym Memberships — Isn’t “unused” anything a waste of money? This reminds me of an article I just read though on how out of all the things you can “sink” your money into, gym memberships aren’t the worst. Because at least you try and force yourself to then go since you already spent the money on it, vs, say, other things you’ve purchased and never use. If you have to waste your money on something, might as well be something that has the potential to make you healthier a few times a year!

Premium cable packages — Ummm…. let’s just move along here

Daily Coffee Trips — Ummm…. let’s just move along here too ;)

While it does seem we Americans (and, really, all people in general) like to blow money on stuff, it’s important to keep in mind that we all have our different priorities in life. What one person might “waste” money on (say, like coffee shop visiting every week), another might find it important to them and thus build it into their budget. *Ahem*

Now of course half that list up there really is wasted money, like with the fees and interest charges and what not, but as my friend Paula Pant likes to say, you can afford *anything* just not *everything*. You get into trouble when you forget to cut out the stupid crap in your life so you have room for the awesome crap. Unfortunately there are rules with math…

How about you guys? Which are your Achilles’ heels up there? What would you add to the list? I thought for sure lottery tickets would have made it, but maybe people have wised up? Or they include it into their “entertainment” budget once and for all like I do? I never expect to win anything, but it’s a nice 30 seconds of dreaming before you scratch away that dollar :)

We’ll miss you Free Money Finance! Farewell!

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[Photo cred: Alan Cleaver]

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

1 How to Save Money October 13, 2014 at 5:50 am

Totally agree with the deal websites. Though I love looking at it daily on my morning email, it’s an easy trap for anyone who’s easily fooled.

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2 MMD October 13, 2014 at 6:31 am

Lots of love to FMF. That was one of the first blogs I used to read all the time when I was getting started.

I was just thinking about this topic last weekend when we went shopping. I walked into a Coach store just to see what all the hype was and they had a man’s wallet for $120. Nothing special about it – leather with a few pockets .. and the word “Coach” on it. $120?? Are you kidding!!

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3 Kathy October 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hey, MMD, don’t dis Coach! :) Yeah, they are expensive but I have a couple of Coach purses that I’ve had for 20 years and I still carry them. They are exceptionally well made and the company will even clean and refurbish them for free if you send them the item. I’d rather carry my Coach for years and years instead of some Target purse that will wear out after a year or two.

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4 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm

This reminds me of rappers who line the inside of their cars with Coach material/emblems. I used to think it was pretty bad ass but now I think…. well… actually, it’s still bad ass, haha… But I’d never spend the $$ on it personally ;)

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5 Mrs. Frugalwoods October 13, 2014 at 6:46 am

Thank you so much for the shout out–I really appreciate it! I’m all about conscious spending, so if you know you want/need something and you know exactly how it’s going to impact your bottom line, buy it! We buy nice coffee beans to grind at home and we love them (with all our frugal hearts). We know we could buy the Costco brand of ground coffee for a fraction of the price, but, some things are not worth saving a buck on.

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6 Jay @ ThinkingWealthy October 13, 2014 at 11:11 am

Pleasure vs saving. What good is all that money saved if you don’t ever spend and enjoy it?

Jay

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7 jestjack October 13, 2014 at 7:01 am

Excellent picture at the beginning of your article. Talk about … “a picture being worth a thousand words”…. Good article … Maybe an article about purchases made that WERE well worth the costs. Good example…I bought a wood burning stove almost 30 years ago. it was top of the line, heavy AND pricey…at the time. It has served us well. Conservitively it has saved us about $2K a year in heating oil. Quick math tells us that’s $60K….I paid $800 for the stove. This is almost as good as the “Franken-caddy” hustle…LOL….Thanks again for the article…

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8 Mrs. WW October 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

And wood burning is good for keeping you warm and exercised! And don’t forget that there’s just something special about being responsible for your own heat. It’s a nice sense of accomplishment and joy as you sit in that warmth. Ahhhh. I miss our wood burning stove.

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9 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm

YES! Love that jestjack – way to put in the one-time effort/costs for long term ROI… very smart indeed, my friend.

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10 Dee @ Color Me Frugal October 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

Totally agree on the designer baby clothes! I wanted to cry when our little one outgrew the brand new and beautiful clothes my sister bought for her in a mere six weeks. They grow sooooooo fast. Love them up big time, but don’t spend a ton of money on their clothes because tomorrow they’ll be wearing something else.

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11 Brian @ Debt Discipline October 13, 2014 at 8:03 am

I’m surprised coffee isn’t on the list. $3-5 a cup and everyone selling it these day. Even McDonald has a full menu of coffee. I don’t drink it, but my wife does and we home brew.

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12 Mrs. WW October 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

It is. Mr. Money just passed it over real quick because that one hit close to home. : P C’mon! J. Money! Drinking coffee at home is sexy!

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13 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I drink coffee at home anytime I’m not out at the coffee shops :) When you work from home you need to get out every now and then so you don’t go mad.

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14 Slackerjo October 13, 2014 at 8:03 am

Gadgets and the constant upgrading thereof!!!

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15 Reece October 13, 2014 at 8:07 am

I’d have to say drinking and smoking are potentially two of the biggest wastes of money, too.
I decided to save for a deposit for a second house, and as soon as I stopped drinking and going out as much, I had loads more money! **Just to clarify….I was not an alcoholic!
Coffee trips….yeah, no comment. I’m guilty.

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16 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Haha… true that. I’ve given up alcohol for a couple months at a time and it’s def. kind on the wallet, though not nearly as fun :)

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17 Kim October 13, 2014 at 8:09 am

We live in a poorer socioeconomic area, but a few of the booming businesses are the rental furniture places and the place where you can rent to own rims and fancy wheels for your car. I’d have to say most things that come with a monthly payment, outside of a mortgage, are a huge waste of money.

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18 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Rent rims? Wow… I like my bling but not monthly payment-like!

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19 [email protected] October 13, 2014 at 8:15 am

I order an appetizer as my entrée all the time!

But I agree it can be wasteful if you order appetizers and entrees. Restaurant portions are huge and we never eat our full meals as it is. Greg and I share a meal like old fogies all the time. I hate paying good money for a nice meal and only eating 1/3 of it.

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20 Myles Money October 13, 2014 at 8:38 am

You don’t eat an appetizer before you eat at home (well, I’m presuming you don’t), so why would you have one in a restaurant? It seems like a waste of money, particularly considering the size of the portion (tiny) compared to the cost (which is often not *that* much less than the main meal itself).

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21 [email protected] October 13, 2014 at 8:44 am

I have been guilty of wasting money on some of these items in the past. I decided I should write a post in response to this post, which was in response to FMF’s post which was in response to Dave Ramsey’s post seeing how I stack up now. http://www.objectwealth.com/how-i-stack-up-on-the-list-of-the-10-things-americans-waste-money-on/

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22 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm

I can’t believe you blogged about this so fast :) Love it that you did though!

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23 Jon @ Money Smart Guides October 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

Along the lines of the deal websites are the buy one, get one 50% off deals at many stores. I love when the associate tells me I’ll save by purchasing more…ummm, actually I am spending more!

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24 Mrs. WW October 13, 2014 at 8:53 am

Since FMF is retiring, I’d like to fill that spot. It’ll take me 9+ years to apply, you say? Well, I better get writing!

I think I’d add buying/renting books/movies. 90% of the time there is absolutely no reason to shell out money to watch a movie or read a book in this day and age. The library offers it all for free AND they’ll store it for you so you don’t have to dust it.

Of course some may find it worth it to shell out a little for the ability to watch a new movie once in awhile but I’ve found that that’s an expense that’s not really worth it for us. If a movie is that great and popular when it comes out, you can bet that the library will get it as soon as it comes out.

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25 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm

True… although probably better to spend on books than other (more destructive) things in life :)

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26 Laurie @thefrugalfarmer October 13, 2014 at 9:13 am

I’m happy to say the only one we succumb to these days is #1, but it’s a biggie for us. We are working diligently on getting rid of our CC interest forever, though, so we can be frugal all the way around. :-)

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27 [email protected] and the Beach October 13, 2014 at 9:15 am

I’m going to add parking tickets. I’m on almost two year streak of not getting any in LA (knock on wood) but it takes effort, and a lot of digital reminders, but it can be done. It’s just such an awful feeling to walk out and see that bright green/yellow/orange thing sticking on your windshield.

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28 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Yeah, and you don’t get anything in return for that $$$ either! Just stress and wanting to punch yourself in the face… which you can do for free.

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29 Prudence Debtfree October 13, 2014 at 9:25 am

I used to pay overdraft fees almost every month! Ugh. It’s been years, but I still find it mortifying. I was surprised to see appetizers up there, but it hit home. I met with old high school friends at a bar earlier this week, and I did what I always used to do: I had munchies with my beer. Why? I had already eaten supper. Just a habit from my foolish youth. I’ll work on that one. (You lost me on the ATM bit. “- if you know what I’m saying ;)” What were you saying?)

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30 Brandy @bustedbudget October 13, 2014 at 9:29 am

Ugh I totally paid an atm fee yesterday! My husband and I scored a free meal at a restaurant in a local casino. It was free so we weren’t paying at the end (duh). As we were eating, we both realized we didn’t have any money for a tip. Nothing at all. And we were eating at a buffet so we couldn’t buy anything to produce a bill to leave a tip on. Our only option was to use the atm in the casino, which charged us a $4.95 fee! So annoying!

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31 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Ack! So nice of y’all to leave a tip though – so many people wouldn’t have in that case. So I say it was worth the fee – there could be worse things :)

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32 Points with a Crew October 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

Buying something you don’t need that’s 75% off is still a waste of 25% of your money…

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33 Gretchen October 13, 2014 at 9:38 am

Can I add leasing their vehicles to this list? Don’t get me wrong, like renting a house, there is a time and place for leasing your vehicle, but I know people who perpetually lease their vehicles. It makes me want to laugh at them, because they don’t realize just how terrible that is! Great article, though – I completely agree with all of them (and have been guilty of a few :-)

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34 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I’ve always been curious about leasing cars myself – mainly because I get bored easily and think it would be fun to drive a new one every few years – but financially speaking I know it’s probably not worth it in the end… One day I’m going to try it though :)

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35 Paula Pant from Afford Anything October 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

Awww, I’m glad those words resonated, Mr. J. Money — “you can afford anything but not everything.”

I’d say that the daily coffee is totally okay, as long as you’re making a conscious decision to make that a priority. (And since you work from coffeeshops, and you’re probably more focused and productive while you’re there, that’s a totally reasonable priority.)

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36 Brittany October 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

After working a side job a a retail chain I realized that “sales” even “one day only sales” are not a reason to make a purchase you weren’t originally intent on anyway. They literally happen every.single.day.

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37 Laura October 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

#1: Starbucks (and the like); we finally stopped trying halfway measures (only Fridays, only the weekends, only if we REALLY want it), and just cold turkey stopped going. Instant savings!
#2: Credit card interest is still an issue, although much less of one. I typically pay off in full each month, but if I don’t keep careful track of spending, when the bill comes I’m short cash and end up carrying the balance. A work in progress.
#3: Cable: traded down in packages, still need to give up completely but am uncertain how to convert to all the new stuff that’s out there. Another work in progress.
#4: Cell phones/service: Waiting on Republic to launch their newest, cheapie phone before making this change. Should be this month. Goodbye, A T & T and $180/month.
#5: Utilities! Easy to cut back on heating and cooling, but a constant battle to do so. Water as well, getting pricey but the cost to replace the landscape is worse. Hopefully we’ll move somewhere cheaper soon and landscape for drought resistance right off the bat.
#6: Groceries: shopping more often for more fresh stuff and not freezing anything ended up costing us double, not counting gas and time. We are back to bulk Costco style buying. If you can just get what you came for, it’s fine. If you start grazing, look out.

We are about to transition to a fixed income, so it’s time to get serious about monthly outgo. I don’t worry about ATM fees, website sales, etc., but some of the other, more mundane issues need work. I’m hoping someone can enlighten us about the mechanics involved in getting rid of cable TV…I’d love to save that $130/month (down from $230).

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38 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Groceries are a HUGE one – no doubt. I still get a ton of comments on my old post on what people spend weekly and the numbers range so extremely:

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2011/01/how-much-do-you-spend-a-week-on-groceries/

You’re gonna save a ton switching to Republic Wireless!

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39 Jen @ Jen Spends October 13, 2014 at 10:42 am

Cell phones! I’m not *that* old, and I can remember when everyone survived without them. Now people will hurt themselves financially for the privilege of being connected 24/7. If you “have to have one” there are more options than ever for cheap plans, but most people I talk to go with the big name providers and fork over obscene amounts of money each month.

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40 Jay @ ThinkingWealthy October 13, 2014 at 11:09 am

I’m going to say that Appetizers are not a “waste.” In that case, the entire idea of eating out is a waste. It’s entertainment/pleasure. Why go out to eat if you can’t enjoy anything you want? If you’re that tight then you probably shouldn’t be going out to eat.

Jay

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41 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Good point.

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42 Michelle October 13, 2014 at 11:32 am

I completely avoid websites like Groupon now. I don’t even remember the last time it was that I was even on the website. It’s a huge waste of money and a waste of time.

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43 Mike@ Simplifiable October 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

Hmmm….I don’t waste money on a single one of those items in the Top 10. Yet I’m constantly broke. Why? I took a look at my spending the past several months, and it comes down to two things which are somewhat related:

1. Eating out almost every meal
2. A spouse with completely out of control spending habits

I won’t air my dirty laundry here, but I’ll say this much for the youngsters out there, or anyone else who has yet to get married: be VERY careful and cautious about who you choose to marry. That choice can honestly be the difference between affluence and destitution.

Caveat emptor. ;-)

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44 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Holy crap – that blows!!

If you ever want to do an anonymous write up on this, just shoot me a note ;) That has juicy written all over it! (Also – sucks that’s the case for you, my goodness…)

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45 Mike @ Simplifiable October 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Lol…. That’s why I’m currently writing my blog anonymously for the most part.

I do plan to talk about it, because I’d really like the younger set to see a real, living example of what happens if you marry someone who is blissfully ignorant financially, or specifically in my case, what happens when you both start out blissfully ignorant, and you eventually wake up while your spouse actively refuses to do so.

Throw in a step child and parental compensation issues, and you have a disaster the likes of which I’ve never seen, and definitely thought I’d never experience.

I may have to take you up on your offer J. ;-)

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46 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I think that’s a brave thing to do, my man. And I’m glad YOU were the one who woke up and finally realized what was going on at least so now you can work on getting stuff back on track for the rest of our life. Sounds like a nightmare…

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47 Moon October 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm

That’s too funny but I completely agree (not that I have the same issue, in fact, I am quite the opposite, but I know a lot of wives these days are just like what you described). I want the juicy details too! Lol

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48 Carrie @ Season It Already! October 13, 2014 at 11:36 am

I totally see your point on deal websites, but I have to argue for my purposes. My husband likes to dine out more than I’d prefer. This gives me the option to try new places that either I wouldn’t be able to convince him to try otherwise and/or to keep us from going to the same-old/same-old places. It also has helped us become so much familiar with the Twin Cities and discover new, fun and different neighborhoods. Without deal sites, we wouldn’t have these experiences. So if anything, I find value in that. ;-) We do have our own rules for buying these, though, so that we make sure that they are worthwhile. Like checking out the menu and expiration date first and only buying one deal if it’s a place we’ve never been to, no matter how good the deal is!

Other than that, I’d have to agree with your list. Thanks for sharing!

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49 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Sounds like you guys were already gonna go out anyways, so you’re in the clear in my books :) I only take issue when you end up spending more money or buying more stuff when you normally wouldn’t due to sales sites/apps/etc. If you’re already gonna spend the money you might as well spend *less* of it!

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50 Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom October 13, 2014 at 11:37 am

Loved your imaginary baby clothes! We’ve been able to avoid buying most of our little girls clothes ourselves. But I can say that we’ve had favorite outfits that have come at all different price points. Cute is cute people!

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51 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Haha…. I won’t say I’ve never forked over more than I should for a fun tee or Redskins jersey :)

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52 Kathy October 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Alcohol, cigarettes and tattoos seem to be gigantic wastes of money. And all too often you see someone who do all three. Triple whammy. And the expensive coffees….I’ve gone so far as using those K-cup coffee pods which are more expensive than buying a 3 pound can of coffee but I justify using the pods because of less waste. I saw a TV show about a family who lost their main salary and had to cut expenses. The woman was told by a financial counselor to cut out her coffee runs to Starbucks ($10 a day) and she was in tears about that!

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53 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Ouch! That’s a reality check right there….

I will say though that at least tattoos last forever :) So as long as you’re getting one you will actually love forever (what’s the % on that?) it is kinda a good deal if you think about it.

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54 Maverick October 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Oh, tattoos…I can’t for the life of me understand the desire of a person, especially a young woman with nice skin to ruin that blank canvas with a tattoo. I don’t care how small or discret it is. Just saying. The only folks it benefits is the tattoo parlor and later a dermatologist. Again, it’s so said to see a young woman on the beach / boardwalk with a tattoo.

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55 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

It’s a hit or miss with people. The one I have brings me joy every time I see it so it’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

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56 Kassandra October 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Apparently our household likes to waste money on parking tickets and moving violations…but let’s move on from that shall we? I love my Starbucks drinks but I found a way to get my fix and not have it come from our budget. I cash in credit card rewards points to get a GC every 2-3 months, then I load that GC onto my Starbucks Gold card. This in turn helps me to earn free drinks ever so often and I get free refills for being a Gold card member. I think I have successfully gamed the system with this :)

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57 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar October 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I’ve never actually had to pay credit card interest! One thing my dad required from me was to not have a credit card through college or he wouldn’t help pay for it. I probably would have done terribly with it, so in the end it’s a good thing.

Otherwise though, my wife loves zulilly but only keeps an eye out on certain key words, we don’t pay ATM fees since we use PNC and they would reimburse us small amounts anyways, we don’t go out to eat much, don’t have amazon prime, don’t have cable, don’t get daily coffee, and we use our gym membership!

So what’s that, 1.5/10? Pretty damn good if I say so myself!

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58 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Smart dad too :)

My parents actually wanted me to get a card so I could learn to be responsible with them (and also in case of emergencies) but told me he’d be looking at everything I put on there so to make sure to *only* put school-related items on it. Like books, etc. Occasionally I’d throw in a pack of skittles or pizza just to test the waters, and inevitably he’d find a way to work it into a conversation a month later as the statements arrived at their house ;)

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59 Shannon @ Financially Blonde October 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I agree with most of these, especially anything bank fee related. Even if you slip and get charged the fee, call and ask for it back. I advise my clients to do that all the time and they have never been rejected, even with those $35 a pop overdraft fees. I confess to having a weakness for both appetizers and coffee but in my defense, I don’t eat out much because it’s cheaper to eat in and I always say that “my home is the best restaurant in town and you can always get a seat”. As far as the coffee, I have cut back on my spending but truthfully just cut more money out of my clothes budget to allow for the coffee budget because a latte is more important to me than a new dress.

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60 [email protected] October 13, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Stop reading my mind ;) haha!

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61 Erin @ Journey to Saving October 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I’m with Holly on eating out. i barely ever finish my meals, and while I always bring the leftovers home, sometimes ordering an appetizer as an entree (or splitting a dish) is easier! Typically, I like to find deals where an appetizer and 2 entrees are included in a package price. That way, there’s no guilt, and it’s cheaper than buying all three separately. I have been working on cutting the stupid things out to make room for what’s really important – that’s the beauty of a budget.

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62 Jacob October 13, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Dumb & Dumberer (the prequel) is honestly one of my favorite movies ever!

But you have to watch it WITHOUT any preconceived notions from the first one. The writing is awesome, and humor is stupid funny, and the actors do a great job. But after 10 years, I still have not convinced ONE PERSON that it was a good movie so….

And our money wasted is on FOOD. Organic, never frozen, rented the bees to pollinate individually veggies and meat from a cow that we met in person.

But for real, up here in Seattle it’s crazy expensive, and our food budget is a roller coaster. Honestly, if we just hop back on eMeals, things always smooth out, so need to get back on that train.

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63 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm

You might have just convinced your first person to at least go check it out! I LOVED the first one so it’s prevented me from “ruining” it which is why I never saw the prequel… but now that another one is coming out (or maybe it’s already out?) I think it’s time to take the risk :)

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64 Natalie @ Budget and the Bees October 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I feel like you just shamed me a little with the inclusion of deal websites. I needed it though. Just last night I came super close to buying a $10 for $20 deal at a local restaurant. I know I’d use it before the value expired, but I might not use it at all if I exercise some self control. I was surprised to see appetizers on the list! I’d never thought of them as a money suck, but it makes sense.

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65 Broke Millennial October 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm

While not daily, coffee trips are on my list and I’m a-okay with it. Except I got into work this morning to find an awesome latte machine was installed! Guess I’ll have to just go for walks instead of walking to buy a latte.

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66 J. Money October 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm

AWESOME! Walks are just as important as staying caffeinated too :) I literally just got back from mine today – I always take 45mins-hr, it’s beautiful.

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67 kay ~ frugalvoices.com October 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I have calculated that if my husband could cut out his energy drinks and I could cut out my sweet treats, we could save about $3,650 a year. I’m not kidding. $10 each and every day. Sometimes more, seldom less. Now if someone is making a boatload of money, I’m sure that would be a pebble on the beach to them. It’s like if you’re crazy but you’re rich, you’re eccentric. If you’re crazy but you’re poor, you’re still crazy. I’ll let you know when $3,650 a year is a pebble to us!

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68 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Wowww that is a lot. What if you just cut it in half and still ate/drank your goodies just a little less? Best of both worlds :)

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69 Gary @ Super Saving Tips October 13, 2014 at 5:35 pm

My pet peeve that I’d add to this list is greeting cards. Why spend up to $5 on a piece of paper that will be looked at for a few seconds when you can make a personal one yourself or buy them at 2 for $1 at the dollar store.

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70 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Haha yeah… though it’s all about convenience really, at least with me. I always *forget* when I need to get a card until I see them randomly at Target or the grocery store/etc. If I were smart and planned/remembered ahead I’d make every last one of them, but sadly I suck at that game. Except when it comes to my wife and I’s anniversary for some reason. I always hand make those :)

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71 Even Steven October 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

My big one used to be cell phones, but since switching to Republic Wireless, that has gone away. Eating out ends up being a big one for us, when we do this it sounds like this “I forgot to take out dinner, do we have anything ready? No, let’s just grab some sushi from the Thai restaurant.” Waste…

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72 Clay October 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

From an Americanized foreigner’s perspective, I’d probably add huge houses and huge cars to the list, but then again, I do live in Texas….

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73 Kasia October 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

It’s not just Americans wasting their money. I know I’m guilty of several of them and I live in Australia. I’d be happy to give up all but the coffee, a coffee trip or two during the week is my sanity allowance and keeps other spending in check.

Another one to the list would be prepackaged/pre cooked food. While it might be convenient it’s cheaper and healthier to cook from scratch.

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74 Debt and the Girl October 13, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I had no idea that the average time for a blog is less than a year. I guess it makes sense as peoples plans change. I have read so many good blogs that just mysteriously disappear without any explanation. Its a shame really but sometimes life happens.

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75 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

It also depends on *why* you’re starting it too. In the personal finance niche many people are wanting to make money with it cuz they see the rest of us doing it and so their purpose is skewed and will burn out much faster. Any successful blogger will tell you there’s PLENTY of other way to make money faster than with a blog – it’s not for the faint of heart :) Now as a hobby/passion/etc/etc – totally different story. Those people tend to stick around longer cuz they’re getting more out of it than the chase of those mighty greenbacks.

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76 Moon October 13, 2014 at 9:53 pm

I am proud to say that husband and I hardly ever wasted money on any of those items – no kids, don’t go to gym (we are healthy though, I cook 5 nights a week with a full time job and take leftover for lunch) , never bought any deals from groupon (actually I am not sure how that even works), no ATM fees since we only use credit cards for everything, but no credit card interest either since we pay it off every month (that’s how it supposed to work!). No daily trips to coffee shop since we make it at home/work, and we don’t watch much TV so definitely no HBO in our cable package. We are guilty for spending money on traveling though…

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77 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Whew! I was waiting for the part where you DO spend money on stuff :) You guys run a pretty tight ship!

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78 Lisa October 14, 2014 at 7:28 am

Food. Anything than can be eaten. Period. Size and weight show we are just not making efficiency use of food and the dollars spent on it.

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79 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life October 14, 2014 at 8:47 am

I find that deal websites can be actually awesome if you know how to use them well. I rarely buy anything for myself- but if my girlfriends have already suggested an activity or restaurant THEN I’ll search for it on groupon, living social, or amazon local. Typically I can find a discount. They’re also an amazing place to get great gifts for cheap.

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80 Travis @debtchronicles October 14, 2014 at 9:23 am

Unused gym memberships make me sad. Although, for every unused gym membership there’s one less person I have to compete with for equipment…..

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81 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Haha, good point.

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82 Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income October 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

Restaurants are pretty smart. They offer “free appetizers” now, but really have just boosted the prices slightly on other things so you think you are getting a deal.

I hate seeing giant mugs/keg of soft drinks at work by my employees. Everyday at lunch they go and get a refill because it’s only a buck for any size. Horrible daily habit along with grabbing a candy bar at checkout.

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83 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm

They gotta switch to the big ass water jug that I’m now addicted to :)

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2014/06/physical-triggers/

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84 Sarah October 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Yes yes yes! The gym membership is something I’m guilty of. We signed the 18-month membership ($1600 total for the 18 months) and shortly after (I’m talking one week…) I found out I was pregnant. Not that you can’t workout when pregnant, but the membership definitely went unused. It was a good learning lesson though (trying to look at the positives here)…I now exercise for free doing youtube workout videos and going on long walks/runs.

I also am guilty of buying coffee, though not daily. My husband and I probably treat ourselves once every week or so :)

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85 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Daaamn that $1600 can buy a lot of diapers! At least for a month or two ;)

I do youtube workouts as well – always nice because there’s unlimited options out there so you don’t bore yourself to death! (Though it does suck working out in my office… not the most comfortable spot)

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86 John Wedding October 14, 2014 at 11:06 pm

“Isn’t ‘unused’ anything a waste of money?”
Genius. —–^

Though my wife occasionally will order an appetizer as her main meal. That’s cheaper than an entree.

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87 Sarah October 15, 2014 at 8:40 am

I would say bank fees in general. You shouldn’t have to pay for your banking and you actually don’t, but so many people still pay $15-$25/month just for the privilege of the bank “holding” your money (ie using it to make more money).

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88 Nick Loper October 15, 2014 at 10:44 am

How about car payments? If you’ve got a car payment, I think you bought too much car. Don’t finance a depreciating asset :)

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89 Kalen Bruce October 16, 2014 at 7:57 am

It doesn’t surprise me that food and credit card related expenses are at the top!

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90 Grayson @ Debt Roundup October 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Well, I do love my appetizers. I don’t go out to eat often, so when I do, I drink Dos Equis…Oh, I mean I get appetizers. Yes, they add more, but many of them are so good!

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91 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

HA! Love me some Dos Equis actually…

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92 SB @ One Cent at a Time October 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm

J you may not know me that well, as I don’t go to FINCON. But I do stop by time to time and checkout your badass posts. I knew FMF because of his Best of Money carnival. This is the firts time I am hearing about FMF hiatus. I’ll miss his wisdom.

What I have seen at my work place, Americans waste a lot of money on vending machines as well.

With that I am thinking to steal this idea which was already stolen…

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93 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Yes – go for it! Articles/lists like these are meant for passing around and adding different opinions to it – as you can see they really hit home with people :) And it’s already been “stolen” two other times since I’ve posted this, haha…. so you’re not alone!

(Also – nice to emeet you – thx for stopping by! :))

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94 Katie October 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm

It was really nice to read your farewell to FMF. I have read your website every day (and now 3 times a week) for the last year or so and think of how different it would be if you weren’t posting. There would definitely be a hole. I have never dug into FMF but plan on checking out the archives with recommendation above.

thanks for all that you do – and don’t retire anytime soon!

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95 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Awww thanks Katie! That totally made my day :) Really really appreciate you stopping by and telling me so – it really helps keep me motivated, especially on the days I start questioning stuff. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the articles!

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96 Barry @ Moneywehave October 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Uh oh I’m at the 9 month mark of blogging, you’ve put a lot of pressure on me =D. So far I’ve consistently put out 2 posts a week but I totally see your point about running out of stuff to talk about. Every so often I need to dedicate a day just to bran storm other stuff to talk about.

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97 Robert @ polskabankowosc October 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

For example in Poland we waste our money buying food and later throw it. Poland is one of the biggest country where food is wasting! Why because we don’t have enough money to buy luxurious goods and people still think like in time of communism.

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