Top 10 Money Wasters, Are You Guilty?

There are numerous posts and articles on this topic, but what the heck I will add some more to the information highway. From my personal experience, I can sincerely say these are the biggest money wasters around (not in any order):

  1. Memberships that you never use — e.g., gym membership anyone?
  2. Subscriptions that you never read – these magazines just piling up and I am killing trees. No more subscriptions for me.
  3. Extended warranty on electronics — I was looking at a $450 digital camcorder and the store offers $189 extended warranty. Are you kidding me?
  4. Car washes – I think this is strictly a new car syndrome thing. I used to wash my car every week. Now it is dirty as heck, but it still runs great.
  5. Relaxing at the mall – oh, do I hate this…
  6. Eating out — I enjoy this as long as it is not excessive. I also try to stick to the more reasonably priced restaurants.
  7. Any special programs and offers from your credit card companies – e.g., credit protection, credit monitoring, etc. Hefty monthly fees always follow the free period.
  8. Any add-ons, special protections, and warranties offered by your car dealership — Man! I can still kick myself for buying that special paint protection package. It was basically a $600 wax job. What a rip off!
  9. Expensive hair cuts — what do you think about John Edwards’ haircut? I am perfectly happy at my Taiwanese salon — $12 for a haircut, and add $4 for shampoo with 15 minutes head, neck, and shoulders massage. Who can beat that?
  10. Any kind of hobbies taken to extreme — some hobbies can be really expensive. I still remember my Magic: The Gathering days well.

Of course, there are others — e.g., gambling, smoking, drug use, etc. — but I will leave that in the bad habits category. What are your money wasters?

About the Author

By , on Aug 22, 2007
Pinyo
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (25 Comments)

  1. Jared says:

    Man i just spent 30 bucks on magic cards, i called my buddy to come over and he brought over his deck’s. Jesus christ, what a fucking waste of money! He has cards that are x4 as good as mine, and from 1993. The only way to be good at that game is to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars or buy cards online.. What a scam biggest waste of money in my life!

  2. james smith says:

    waste of money trying to sell on internet.Also using agency promise only to take your hard earned money

  3. sandra says:

    Guilty here…. But I do only #2, sometimes #6, but I really have to do #9. I’m an addict to household magazine subscriptions. Actually I just want to look at those lovely home make-overs. Anyway, I can do my own manicure and pedicure..which saves me a lot of money. But, I definitely can’t do my hair. I once bought a straightening product at a local mall and had to do it myself. I perfectly read the instruction but my hair somehow ended up ruined. Now I don’t mind spending money on a good haircut, hot oil and hair products as long as it will give me the best look. I feel good when I have great hair…

  4. Daniel says:

    lol. Dude Magic the Gathering #10 are you kidding me. For anyone who plays magic they will agree that that is where the majority of there money goes towards. I’d say it has the potential to be the world biggest waste of money!!!!

  5. fern says:

    I don’t do any of the things you listed. Only occasionally do i eat lunch out but for the most part i bring lunch to work.

    My biggest money wasters? I guess i hate it when i lust for an ice-cold Diet Coke and for over $1.30 at the vending machine at work when i could buy them for about .30 each at the store.

    I’m pretty frugal. Occasionally i’ll buy clothes, but it’s not a habit or entertainment anymore. I pay myself first (maxing out the 401k and IRA and an extra $425 monthly toward my mortgage, which is my only debt) , as every guru advises, and there’s little left over to fritter away.

    Becus i don’t fritter my $ on little stuff like eating out tabs, clothes or trinkets, i do have $ for the always expensive home improvments/maintenance. Like next week, i have to have a front stoop reset on concrete and at the same time i’m expanding a brick patio in the back at a cost of $1500. A lot of $, but at least i can choose (wisely i hope) how to spend my discretionary $ for maximum value.

  6. The Millionaire Employee says:

    This is a fantastic and on track listing of everyday spending that people all over direct their cash towards! Remember, casinos use their casino chips instead of cash to lull you into the idea that it has no real value, so its easly placed on the table and if lucky won back. But more often it is lost without much regret. Remember One Million Dollars will pass through your hand over your working lifetime. How much of it will you keep?

  7. Jonathan says:

    I am guilty of many of these and more, but I’ve also learnt the hardway, that’s why i set up my site and added a money saving section. I’d also add to the list take out coffee. Buying a coffe from starbucks each day can set you back $4-8 dollars. Do this each day and in a year you can see the size of the wastage!

  8. dimes says:

    Lush bath products. Gatorade.

  9. Pinyo says:

    Street – welcome to Moolanomy! That’s funny, I used to do that in college and I don’t think I looked very good back then. I think I can live with spending $12 for a hair cut once a month.

    However, one thing I did forget for the ladies — going to salon could mean a lot more than expensive haircut — e.g., manicure, pedicure, etc.

  10. street says:

    For guys… Don’t waste money on haircuts. Get a pair of WAHL clippers and buzz your own hair. With a one time expense of 20 bucks you can permanently do away with the hassle of going to a barber \ salon, and you will save a lot of money over time… not to mention you will be one of those cool looking Billy Zane like bald guys.

  11. Pinyo says:

    Brian – thanks for the clarification. You just beat me to the punch.

    Server problem been keeping me crazy.

  12. Pinyo says:

    Kaleb – I do wash and wax my car; especially if there are bird droppings or saps on the car. Granted I am not doing it as often as I would like, since I wash and wax my car myself and not using car wash place.

    That said, I think it is wasteful when people washes their car more than once a week, spend $10+ at a car wash place, wash when it is raining or about to rain (same for snow), etc. Those are the cases I am referring to.

    Some people also have the tendency to stock up on cleaning products, and these cost a lot of money too.

    Now, I think it is very impolite to go around calling people you don’t know ignorant.

    The Happy Rock – thank you for adding that one. I definitely missed a good one!

  13. Brian says:

    Kaleb and The Happy Rock: I think it was a lack of clarification on Pinyo’s part that has you disagreeing with him. When I read that point it sounds like he is talking about REDUCING the number of times you wash your car and not ELIMINATING car washing altogether.

    By washing your car every other week instead of every week you reduce your annual car washing expense by 50%. Move that to once a month and you reduce it by 75%.

    That’s my take on #4.

  14. I am going to also disagree with the car washing, I think it actually will save you money if you plan to keep a car a long time. Also depending on your job, have a presentable car could cost you quite a bit of money.

    I would add INTEREST to the list too.

  15. Pinyo says:

    Ms. M&P – welcome to Moolanomy. Oops, I got him mixed up with the NASCAR driver. Must be the withdrawal, I haven’t seen a race in months.

  16. Kaleb says:

    I found this post from a blog carnival. Once I read that you think washing your car is a waste of money, I stopped reading so I could post this comment. A person’s car is (usually) one of their largest expenses. Keeping the finish clean lengthens the life of the paint, prevents oxidation and protects the sheet metal from deteriorating prematurely. Add to that the fact is all you need is a 100% cotton or microfiber rag and a fresh stream of water to wash a car and your suggestion is ignorant to say the least.

  17. Ms. M&P says:

    Ditto on the subscriptions and memberships! I just cut one of mine out and it will save me $128/year. I agree with all of these, actually. thanks for posting! it always help to evaluate the money wasters in your life.
    PS did you mean John Edwards? is calling him Carl an inside joke I don’t know about?

  18. Pinyo says:

    @Lazy – that’s a great way to save money. If there is no low water warning and the weather is nice, I occasionally go out to wash my car. I do enjoy it.

    @glblguy – for my household, it’s soda, beer, juice, and organic milk ($4.50 for half a gallon).

  19. Pinyo says:

    I think I have at least a thousand cards still. I must have spent a couple of hundreds on them cards.

    It’s worse when the subscriptions are fashion magazines that tempt you to buy expensive purses and jewelries.

    I love all you can eat, but they are usually too expensive and not healthy (since I am cheap and can’t resist trying to get my money worth).

  20. glblguy says:

    Energy Drinks…I love them, but man are they EXPENSIVE!

  21. I wash my car every 6 months or so. It reminds me that my car is beautiful when clean and that I don’t need to think about a new one for years. That alone is well worth it.

  22. Lauren says:

    Dang, I love the all you can eat shrimp and those cheddar biscuits. Mmmm. See how bad I am.

  23. Brian says:

    #2 – My wife is guilty of this.

    #3 – the only extended warranty I bought was a digital camcorder with a 5 year extended warranty for $75.

    #6 – We are doing much better at this. It’s tough when they start showing the all-you-can-eat shrimp at Red Lobster.

    #10 – I was lucky and didn’t get hooked on M:TG cards. My biggest vice was Everquest, but it was only $15 a month and I played it a lot.

  24. Lauren says:

    Yep, eating out is my biggest vice. Can’t seem to kick the habit.

  25. Ana says:

    Dude, I hear ya on the Magic: The Gathering cards LOL I’ve even sold some on eBay but still have thousands in my closet! And I do love eating out. In fact eating out has been the hardest sacrifice of my whole debt-reduction kick this year.

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