Some of the biggest money don’ts are obvious. Most of us know better than to light a cigar with a $100 bill or advance that Nigerian prince thousands of dollars. But when it comes to less obvious mistakes, the majority of us don’t have enough financial sense to avoid them. Wasting money is incredibly easy to do in increasingly subtle ways. Take a look at these common expenses people waste money on and make sure you don’t do the same.
Costly Cable Subscriptions
You caught up with Netflix’s Narcos on your iPad, and you re-watched all of American Gods on your laptop. When, exactly, was the last time you watched something on TV? If you’re like most guys, it was probably during the Super Bowl.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t catch a single HBO show on TV (let’s all pretend we didn’t illegally stream the season premiere of Game of Thrones) you’re still paying for that cable. The average American pays just over $100 a month on their unused cable subscription on top of your grandfathered Netflix account. By cutting the cord you could save over $1,200 without sacrificing quality content. Escaping terrible local news for the latest Netflix original is a win our book before the savings even factors in! As for your sports fix, there’s always a stream available of the biggest game.
Unused Gym Memberships
The only one making mad gains at the gym are the people who own it. Americans spend nearly $22 billion each year on gyms and health clubs, yet only 67% of those who have memberships actually take advantage of these facilities. The cost of this membership varies depending on the company and your state, but the average American spends $53 at the gym each month. Tally that together and that’s over $600 every year just so you have access to a room that smells like sweat.
Summer’s nearly over. It’s time to let go of your New Year’s Resolution for abs like Chris Evans, but don’t just absorb the cost of your membership into your checking account. Funnel that $53 a month into a high-interest savings account, and you’ll be making $600 plus interest each year.
Paying More For A Loan
Before cutting cable and opting out of costly gym memberships, all of that extra spending will limit your ability to create a safety net of savings. Naturally, you’ll have to turn to loans to cover those bills and repairs that exceed your capabilities. Payday loans can be a practical way to bridge your paycheck but only if you choose one that fits your financial profile.
According to the latest Standard and Poor’s global survey on financial literacy, 46% of Americans don’t have a basic understanding of numeracy and compound interest. Without a firm understanding of these concepts, it’s easy to lock into a payday loan that costs too much thanks to hidden fees and APR.
It’s your responsibility to teach yourself these concepts, but you can help your case by searching out a direct lender that helps keep their loans simple to understand, like MoneyKey. They offer payday loans online that adhere to strict practices that include clear, no-nonsense terms so anyone can understand the conditions of their help. Open up a new tab and check if they’re a licensed direct lender in your state and see how simple they keep their rates, terms, and conditions. Once you know how much a payday loan will cost, including fees and interest, you’ll know whether or not it’s within your means to take on.
Expensive iPhone Mentality
You can thank Steve Jobs for this one. With yearly upgrades available to the iPhone, Apple has instilled a need for the latest, greatest device — even if the original still works perfectly fine. We jump from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 7 with hopes to get our hands on the upcoming 8 soon just so that we can say we have the most advanced smartphone possible.
But at roughly $1,000 without a plan, these upgrades are costly. Break out of the upgrade cycle and learn to love your out-of-date phone. It will save you considerable dough on your cellphone bill, and when you do finally opt to upgrade years down the line, the novelty of a brand new phone will be that much sweeter.
Using ATM & Eating The Fees
You’re out on the town, catching up with friends over beers, and you realize the restaurant accepts only cash. Rather than leave to drive the 3 miles to your bank, you decide to take out cash at the restaurant’s ATM. It’s faster and much more convenient. It’s also much more expensive, as the average American pays $4.57 surcharge when they withdraw from an ATM.
Once or twice, this surcharge won’t do any damage to your finances, but if you grab your cash consistently from ATMs, these charges add up. Take the time to visit your bank once a week to get out the cash you think you’ll need, and you can pocket those surcharges.
Though less ostentatious than lighting a cigar with a $100 and less foolish than answering that Nigerian prince, these common habits can waste money just as easily. Stop wasting your money and eliminate these habits from your life. You’ll start to collect savings faster than you think.