Even though you try to be careful with your money, you are probably wasting a lot of cash without even noticing. If you find yourself wondering where your money goes, see if any of these mindless money wasters are escaping your attention.
1. Superfluous presents
The easiest way to make sure you have a special occasion covered is to buy presents, cards, flowers, cakes, etc. Some special occasions merit this kind of spending, but it’s easy to get in the habit of routinely buying small gifts that will quickly be forgotten and eventually get tossed. A quick note is a meaningful way to show you care — and it’s free.
2. High-tech gadgets
Many people automatically get a new cellphone when their contract is up, or buy every new game console that comes out. But do you really need an upgrade? Instead, keep your working tech toy around until it starts to get glitchy.
3. In-app purchases
Those free games and apps are usually trying to sell you something. They make it easy to click and buy a way to beat a hard level of a game or add a new feature to your free app without really thinking about it. Resist!
4. Unused subscriptions
When you were hyped up about getting in shape for the new year, you subscribed to a fitness video channel and watched it a few times. But you are still paying $9.99 per month just in case you decide to get in shape later. Cancel that membership and start saving money.
5. Your morning coffee
Lots of people seem to operate on autopilot during their morning routine. They hit the coffee shop or maybe grab fast food for breakfast. They are blowing money every day before they are awake enough to notice!
6. Recreational shopping
Stores are intentionally designed to trigger buying and extract as much money from shoppers as possible. Walking around a store or mall just for something to do is likely to result in unintended spending.
7. Buying books
You may be in the habit of buying the latest book in a series from your favorite author as soon as you see it at the store. But you can get new book releases at the library for free, or get ebooks instead of paper books, sometimes for lower prices — plus you won’t need to store the book after you read it. Another alternative is to find used books for a fraction of the cost of new books.
8. Buying name-brand everything
People like buying name-brand items and seem to do so without even considering generic alternatives. Sometimes buying name brands makes sense if it offers more features or higher quality, but often the generic version costs a lot less and you won’t even notice the difference.
9. Convenience items
Individual serving containers and prepared food items are quick and convenient, but cost much more than larger quantities. With a little planning, you can get the same items and avoid paying extra. (See also: Here’s How Much More You’re Paying for These 6 Convenience Buys)
10. Making minimum payments
Credit card bills show the minimum payment you are required to make each month based on your total balance. Many people simply pay just this amount, but it can take over a decade to pay off a credit card making minimum payments. (See also: Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K Credit Card Debt)
11. Getting high interest credit cards
Credit cards often offer a low introductory interest rate and later bump it up significantly when the promotional period has ended. Check the interest rates on your accounts and do a balance transfer or debt consolidation loan to get rid of high interest balances. (See also: When to Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt)
12. Opening high fee investment accounts
The good news is that you are investing money for retirement, but the bad news is that high fees may be erasing a lot of your gains and could delay retirement by years. Take the extra step to check out the expense ratio on your investment options and choose ones with low fees. (See also: Why You Should Invest In Index Funds)
13. Accruing late fees
With free autopay, you can pay your bills even if you don’t bother to open them and avoid late fees.
14. Getting the extended warranty
When you buy a new gizmo, you will often be offered extended warranty coverage. At that moment, saying yes to protect your new toy can seem like the easy answer, but purchasing an extended warranty is often a bad deal for many items including appliances, electronics, and vehicles. (See also: 5 Times Buying the Extended Warranty Makes Sense)
15. Going along with the crowd
It is easy to get pulled into going to an expensive activity such as a concert or sporting event with friends, but make sure the…