19 Ways You’re Throwing away money & Don’t Know It

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Repeat after me: There are no loses, only lessons gained.

If you’re looking for ways to save some money you’ve come to the right place. If you talk to my friends and family, they’ll tell you that I’m the queen of saving money and frugality. However, I have a confession to make. While I may be very good at saving money, I truly shine when it comes time to throw money away. Yes, as good as I am saving money, I’m even worse at wasting it. The crazy part is that I wasn’t even aware that I was wasting so much money. And chances are, you don’t realize it either. Since taking a vow to manage my finances better come 2018, I’ve come across several areas where I’ve let me money slip away from me for no good reason.   Luckily, it’s never too late to change old habits. All that money I’m gonna stop throwing way will find a new job of paying off debt, going into retirement or adding to my travel fund. Hopefully, you’ll be able to do the same. So please take advantage of this lengthy list of ways you’re probably throwing out money.

We are a wasteful society and money is no exception. Find out how you are throwing away money without realizing it.
We are a wasteful society and money is no exception. Find out how you are throwing away money without realizing it.

  1. Not taking advantage of health insurance benefits

So I’ve had the same insurance company for years and  I just found out they give you an incentive for going to the gym – up to $240 for the year. That means I’ve been throwing away $240 for years!!! All I have to do is check  in to the gym twelve times each month to earn it.


2. Refusing to snap pictures of receipts for ibotta

 If you are just tossing out receipts after shopping trips you are doing it all wrong. Each receipt you toss out could be worth up to $2.00. How but using a cash back app? For each receipt you submit that has a particular item purchased, you receive money instantly and can retrieve it from your paypal account. No lie, I’ve earned nearly $600 using it in the past year. I could only imagine how much free cash I missed out on when I didn’t snap photos of my receipts for Ibotta or other cash back apps.


3. Checking receipts twice

Before you even leave the store, check that receipt. You never know if that sale item was accidentally rung up at the wrong price or if you an item was rung up more than once. I’ve definitely caught a few mistakes on my receipts before which resulted in getting some money back. If you aren’t checking the receipt before heading out, you could be throwing away money.

4. Shopping online without visiting mypoints, swagbucks or Ebates first

I mentioned this so many times, because it’s way too easy to not do. But if for some reason you are unaware, companies will pay you to shop. Stop by a points earning website like  Swagbucks, Mypoints, or Ebates, click the link of the store website you want to shop from, checkout, then BAM – you just earned some money. Not only is it silly to not do something so easy, but you’re literally skating by practically free money if you don’t.

5. Paying bank maintenance fees and receiving low interest rates

I know must of us do it, but if you are using a brick and mortar bank with maintenance fees and low interest rates, you’re banking all wrong. And it’s making you waste a decent amount of money. Ditch the traditional bank that sucks all your money away and switch to a credit union or online bank.  No maintenance fees and earning interest rates higher than one percent are fairly common with them. My online bank of choice is Ally and I couldn’t be happier with the decision.

6. Not filling out the surveys at the bottom of receipts

I’m sure you’re sick of me raving about receipts but now, but ignoring them really is like throwing away money; especially if you aren’t filling out those surveys. Filling out the surveys on the bottom of the receipts can get you entered to win some money or even score a coupon for a free meal at your favorite restaurant.

7. Not going to the library

You’re seriously wasting hard earned money if you aren’t going to the library. Why? It may not feel like anything is coming out of pocket but it is. Your taxes. Your taxes support your library so not taking advantage of all the library has to offer is really like throwing money away. Some libraries offer more than just good books and movies. My local libraries have offered resume writing services, tax help, fitness classes, jazz band performances, dream interpretation, and more all at no cost. Not taking advantage of your library is a waste of money.

8. Buying water

My husband and I used to buy cases of water weekly and bottles of water for when I teach my fitness classes. But again, all of that is unnecessary and a waste of money. I’ve since invested in a Brita faucet filter and refrigerator beverage container like this one. With the help of those and a few reusable water bottles I have fresh water whenever I want and I save money.

9. Paying for gym membership you don’t use

I have a confession to make. Even though I teach fitness classes like Zumba and Pound at gyms, I’m not much a gym person. And it turns out a lot of people aren’t either. There are so many that pay hefty gym membership fees and rarely set foot in the gym. If you actually use the gym – great. But if you aren’t you are throwing out hard earned cash. Do what I do and buy a home pole so you can work out in your living. (A pole is so versatile as you can do pull ups, leg lifts, crunches, etc.) Or go outside for a run, or check out some workout videos on youtube.

10. Not returning unwanted items

How many times have you purchased a shirt to match pants, got home found out they didn’t match and did nothing about it? I know I can’t be the only one who’s experienced this more than once. Actually I’m convinced  my closets are full of things I decided I didn’t want but never returned. That of course means lots of wasted money. Most of them time it’s because I’m too lazy or lost the receipt. So to solve the second problem, I’m investing in a file folder like this where I can organize all my receipts according to business purchases, attire, electronics, etc. This way if I need to return something, the receipt is easy to find. Plus, it will help me see where all of my money is going. (Don’t you love how everything goes back to receipts?)

11. Being unorganized

So I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the most organized person around. Unfortunately, being unorganized has cost me a lot of money. I’ve bought new coats when I couldn’t find old ones in my closet and multiple loafs of bread because they always get lost in the freezer. Do yourself a favor and organize your life. Otherwise, it’s throwing your money and sanity out the window. Luckily, you can do it on the a dime by picking up a few times at the dollar store like I did when I organized my kitchen cabinets. 

12. Paying shipping fees

Shipping fees are a thing of the past. And if you’re still paying them, you must be living under rock somewhere with an unlimited amount of money to throw out. Amazon Prime may cost $99 per year but it’s amazing for saving, getting stuff quickly and NOT wasting money on shipping fees. If that’s a problem, always make sure your purchase order is the minimum amount so you don’t have to spend money on shipping.

13. Buying everything new

It may not be as shiny as the new thing but buying some items used has its perks. There was a time when I bought all of my clothes brand new. Then Platos Closet came to town and I realized how much money I was wasting by buying labels at full price. Same goes for purchasing cars and some household items. I’m a big fan of Facebook yardsale sites, Goodwill stores and sites such as ThredUp 

14 Being cheap

I’m the queen of frugal, but I’m not the queen of cheap. I’m a big fan of stores like the Dollar Tree. However, as much as I love the Dollar Tree there are some items I wouldn’t purchase there because it doesn’t always make sense financially even though it’s $1. For example, I didn’t buy wrapping paper at the Dollar Tree because I knew the 10 foot rolls they sell wouldn’t be enough for all the presents I had to wrap and I’d end up spending more money. Being cheap isn’t always best if it means sacrificing quality, value and force you to spend more money.

15 Letting food go bad

I’ve thrown out way too much money by letting food go bad. It’s partly because my refrigerator was too unorganized for me to find food and partly because I sucked at meal planning. Whatever your reason, don’t let your food go bad. If you must, use a subscription plan like  HelloFresh to plan meals, search Pinterest or do some good ole fashioned meal planning yourself. Anyway to stop wasting food and money.

16 Refusing to use automatic bill pay

Call me slow, but I just realized that some student loan providers will shave off a small percentage of interest if you enroll in automatic bill pay. I don’t even want to think about how much money in saved interested I missed out on. Plus, it will help you avoid late fees.

17 Paying for Netflix and premium movie channels.

We all know that Netflix is all the rage now. However, what’s the point of paying for streaming devices like Netflix, Hulu if you’re gonna continue paying for channels like HBO, Cinemax, Encore and more. It’s really just a huge waste of money.

18 Not taking advantage of campus perks

If you are a college student, your university offers a lot of services like mock interview sessions, discounted public transportation rides and free apparel. I you aren’t using all they offer, you are wasting your tuition. And if you aren’t in school anymore remember to check out what you can get for free from your alumni network

19 Grouping shopping trips together

It takes a lot of time, effort and gas to keep driving back home between trips to the store. And of course that equates to wasted money. When running errands, map out the shortest distance and group locations together so you’ll burn less gas and ultimately save money.

Did I miss anything?  Are you guilty of any of these? Let me know in the comments.



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  1. Netflix… ugh! My toddler watches it so much though!

    I really need to start using these apps like Ibotta and ebates. Hubby always remembers to check for coupons and I NEVER do. It’s such a lazy habit that I could probably save a lot from if I break.

  2. These are awesome tips and a lot of them I started and stopped doing because I felt like they weren’t working fast enough for me! But I need to get back to it because I am losing money

  3. Great list and some of these are totally me and some I am working to do better about this year but some like my water delivery are non negotiable for me.

  4. These are so great! i am pretty good when it comes to checking my receipts, keeping up with my rewards points and even going to the library BUT that ibotta – I keep forgetting…

  5. You are so right, last week we ran out of bottled water. I gave my 5-year-old tap water for the first time in her life. It was a foreign concept to her. All I could think is what kind of life are we living. lol

  6. I love ibotta rebates, I keep receipts around for about a week just in case I change my mind AND I take surveys on the bottom of my Kroger receipts for additional fuel points. Great savings this way!

  7. I buy lots of water, I keep saying I’m going to buy a brita filter (thanks for the reminder) I signed up for ebotta but never scan my receipts for money back, I use my step moms amazon prime is that bad.. LOL You are certainly right about health benefits, I forgot to get glasses for last year and its about time for some new glasses.

  8. Great post! I love all your suggestions. I need to pay more attention to my receipts and use them to my advantage. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  9. I’m guilty of a couple of these but others I find more convenient and do them well. The one tip that I don’t like doing is the questionnaire at bottom of my receipts. I’ll admit though that the discounts I have received when I did them were always worth it.

  10. I had Ibotta on my phone and removed it because I have no patience, but if it is going to save me money I need to use it lol. I need to get better at being organized.

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