7 Mindless Money Wasters People Think Are Acceptable
To save money, you must identify where the money is getting wasted.
A Man Showing Mindless Money Wasters People Don’t Easily Say Goodbye
I had the strong wrong belief that “I work hard and I deserve to spend my money however I want.” And so I spent—a lot. There was no such thing as delayed gratification.
Even though I grew up in a middle-class family, I still found ways to throw money on things I didn’t need. It’s not that hard when you have credit cards and access to loans.
It took me a long time to realize that I was burning my hard-earned money. I was in my early twenties, and $30,000 in debt before it really clicked that I needed to make a change. It wasn’t an easy process, but I slowly became more mindful about my spending.
While it may be okay to treat yourself occasionally, there are some common expenses that many people don’t think twice about but are quite wasteful.
1. The $100 Jeans That Looks Less than $5
I was never really into fashion. I’d see a shirt I liked, but if it were more than $20, I wouldn’t bother. But that all changed when I started my first job out of college and saw how much money everyone around me was spending on clothes.
They had the latest this, the most fashionable that. It all looked amazing, but it was so expensive. I started to feel like my wardrobe was subpar.
I told myself, “It’s okay to spend a little more on clothes since I’ll be wearing them every day.”
Before I knew it, I bought a $100 pair of jeans that looked torn and tattered. My father’s immediate reaction was, “Hey, you don’t need to buy $5 jeans!”
I felt humiliated!
It isn’t just clothing. There are all sorts of products designed to make us look good: hair gel, cologne, makeup, etc.
The global beauty industry has skyrocketed from $483B in 2020 to $511B in 2021. And it’s expected to hit $716B by 2025. And $784.6B by 2027.
This shows we’re spending a ton of money on looking good, and it’s unnecessary.
I’m not saying you should stop caring about your appearance altogether. But there’s no need to spend a fortune on looking good. You can find affordable clothes that look great. And there are plenty of drugstore beauty products that work just as well as the expensive stuff.
2. Gambling Is Quicksand
Gambling is a mug’s game.
The odds are against you, and even if you “win,” there’s a good chance the casino will find some loophole to deny your payout.
But I understand the allure. Gambling can be thrilling, and when you’re on a roll, it can feel like free money.
I wasted a ton of time and money gambling in my twenties. It was only when I started reading about casino math that I realized how badly the odds were stacked against me.
The casino always wins in the long run. They have an edge in every game. Here’s an interesting article that proves this fact:
Why Does the House Always Win? A Look at Casino Profitability
There’s one certainty in gambling: Nothing is left to chance. In the end, the house always comes out the winner. A…
Blackjack is one of the few games where you can have the edge over the casino, but only if you’re a card counter and willing to put in the time to learn the perfect strategy.
And even then, casinos will quickly figure out what you’re doing and ask you to leave.
If you want to gamble, go to Vegas for a weekend and blow your yearly gambling budget in one go. It’s a lot more fun that way.
Just remember, the house always wins!
3. Paying a Beefed-Up Guy to Tell You How to Workout
I used to be a member of a pretty popular gym chain. I’d go maybe once or twice a week and happily pay $600 yearly.
I was in decent shape, nothing amazing. I could lift some weights and do some cardio. But one day, I started noticing all these people with amazing physiques.
“Where did they come from?” I asked myself. “I’ve been going to this gym for years and never seen them before.”
As it turns out, they were personal trainers. And their services didn’t come cheap.
The same gym that charged me $600 per year charged people as high as $100 per hour to tell them how to exercise.
I’ve since learned that a personal trainer is one of the biggest scams in the fitness industry. Read about the confessions of a gym trainer who accepts this fact here.
You don’t need someone to tell you how to exercise. You can find free workout routines online or buy an inexpensive workout book.
I was paying not to work out. You could be paying someone to tell you how to work out or to prevent you from giving an excuse not to exercise.
If you want to hire a personal trainer, that’s your prerogative. But know that you’re not getting a good deal — you’re getting ripped off.
4. The $7000 Vacation You Can’t Remember
I’ve always been fascinated by people who take multiple international vacations every year. I know a few friends who annually go on two or three “exotic” trips.
And they love to post about it on social media.
When I was younger, I thought these people were rich. I mean, how else could they afford to travel so much?
As it turns out, many of them are in debt up to their eyeballs. They’re putting vacations on credit cards and loans, then dealing with the consequences when they get back.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with going on vacation. I’ve been to some amazing places, and it’s one of my favorite things to do.
But there’s a big difference between taking a trip you can afford and going into debt for the sake of a few Instagram photos.
If you can’t pay for your vacation with cash, you can’t afford it. Period.
5. Cable Companies Are the New Mafia
We’ve all been there. We get our first apartment, and the first thing we do is call up the cable company to connect our TV.
They show up, hook everything up, and hand us a bill for $200 per month.
“What?! How is that possible? I only have basic cable!”
Cable companies know they have you by the balls. They know you’re not going to cancel your TV service because you need your Game of Thrones fix.
So they charge you an arm and a leg, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The average American pays $217 per month for TV service. That’s $2600 per year!
And what do you get for your hard-earned cash? A bunch of channels you never watch and a lot of commercials.
If you’re paying for cable, it’s time to cut the cord. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives that don’t require a long-term contract.
Sling TV, for example, starts at $30 per month. And for that price, you get a ton of channels — far more than you’d ever watch.
You could also sign up for a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. These services start at $10 per month and offer a wide selection of TV shows and movies.
6. Get Rich Quick Schemes
My friend was sucked into a multi-level marketing scheme (AKA pyramid scheme).
For those who don’t know how these work, you basically recruit people to sell products for you, then take a cut of their earnings.
You get a couple of people to join under you, and they do the same. Eventually, you have a small group of people selling products and making you money.
The issue is these schemes are nearly impossible to sustain. Inevitably, people will drop out, and you’ll be left with nothing.
My friend was convinced she could make it work and spent hours trying to recruit people every day. After a few months, she gave up and was out several hundred dollars.
7. You Don’t Need That Many Shoes…Do You?
I used to have a shoe obsession. I would buy a new pair of shoes every month. I had so many shoes I didn’t even know what to do with them all.
I had shoes for every occasion: dress shoes, running shoes, casual shoes, party shoes, you name it.
My obsession finally came to an end when I realized that I was spending way too much money on something I didn’t need.
I gradually started selling my shoes on eBay, Kijiji, and Craiglist and repeatedly wore the same few pairs. It was amazing how much money I saved.
Nowadays, I only buy a new pair of shoes when my old ones wear out. And I only have a handful of pairs that I rotate through regularly.
CONTRIBUTED BY Darshak Rana.
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