Here are my top five money wasters.
5. Being a pack rat without being organized. This is a huge money waster because you have every thing you could ever need because you don't throw anything away, but you can't find it when you need it, so you go out and buy it again! Put your stuff in a place where you can find it when you need it otherwise, you keep buying the same stuff over and over without using the stuff you already have!
4. Buying brand new sports gear, especially for our little ones who are still growing. Mason is only four, yet he has name brand snow clothes, Wrangler jeans, hand crafted cowboy boots, and so much more. Not one piece was purchased new. I like to shop at thrift stores, so when I am in Truckee, I shop for winter wear. After all, the people who live in the colder climates have more of this kind of clothing. Their children can't wear this stuff out before they outgrow it, so I happily make the donation to the charity like Goodwill or Hospice, Mason gets great gear, and I get a deal with a tax deduction! While in Key West, FL, I found some great beach wear for pennies.
3. Convenience store and gas station snacks. This is one we all fall for at some point, usually on a road trip. A little planning goes a long way, I mean, how often are you on a road trip you didn't know you were going to be on? I suppose it could happen, but in reality, plan ahead. Pack a cooler with some drinks, reusable water bottles filled ahead of time and some snack food. Not only will you save your cash, but you'll also be able to eat a heck of a lot healthier.
2. Starbucks coffee and energy drinks. I bet you though this would be number one, didn't you? I'm going to be kind here, but let's do some math. If you spend $2.00 a day, five days a week, that's $10.00 a week and $520.00 a year! I bet this very minute you're not laughing, because you realize that you spend more than $2.00 each time you go to Starbucks or buy an energy drink. I don't drink the soda stuff, but it seems to me that Dave spends more like $2.89 per can of Rock Star and my girlfriends spend more like $4.00 per Starbucks coffee drink. At $4.00, that's $1040.00 per year if you're only going once a day. Just in case you're wondering, I make my coffee at home each morning.
1. In my opinion, the number one money waster is public storage services. Let's face it, the idea is that you need to store your stuff for a temporary amount of time, usually short term. It never works out that way, in fact, the average amount of time a family uses a rental storage facility is six-plus years. Think about this, if you're paying $100 per month (this is conservative) for a small unit, that's $1200 per year and $7200 for six years! Is the stuff you're storing really worth what you're paying each month to keep it? I suspect about 1% of you can answer yes, but most of us are storing cheap furniture, old records, sports equipment we don't use because we can't access it easily, and holiday decorations. In many cases this also goes back to #5, if you need something you have in storage but can't get there quickly, you'll likely go buy another one of whatever it is. As soon as I have the extra money, I'm investing in a rental storage facility!
Where are you wasting your money? Think about it, and if you can find just one place you can stop wasting, you'll be on the road to coming out ahead!