Five ways you are wasting your money

Five ways you are wasting your money

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You can save yourself hundreds, even thousands, of dollars each year by eliminating these five bad habits, according to the Ohio Credit Union League.

“The best advice any financial advisor can give is to look for ways to cut back and save,” said Patrick Harris, of┬áthe Ohio Credit Union League. “The best way to do this is to look over your last three account statements and point out areas where you spent on something you wanted, rather than needed.”

Wondering why your money disappeared? Below are five ways consumers waste money.

1. Buying coffee and lunch every day.

According to the Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey (January 2012), half of American workers buy coffee on workdays and two-thirds regularly buys their lunch. Coffee purchasers typically spend more than $5 a day, averaging $1,092 a year. For lunch buyers, the numbers almost double, averaging $1,924 per year.

2. Paying late fees or penalties on bills.

Americans rack up more than $22 billion in credit card late fees and penalties each year. Late fees on bills are easily avoided by setting up reminders on your calendars and participating in online automatic payments. Not only are these fees a waste of money, they can wreak havoc on your credit score.

3. Overspending on cell phone and cable/satellite.

Ever flip through channels and think to yourself, I never watch any of these? Chances are, you are right. Consumers are also unlikely to utilize all of their allotted cell phone minutes per month. A simple audit of what you use and don’t use may allow you to slim down your monthly bills.

4. Not taking advantage of gift cards and coupons.

As consumers, we should avoid paying full cost, at all costs. Unfortunately, each year we leave more than $6 billion in unused gift cards buried in our junk drawers or deep inside our wallets. Not to mention, the Sunday paper is full of coupons that, when used properly, can save hundreds a year. However, supermarket owners are well aware that 98% of all coupons get thrown away.

5. Sticking with high-fee bank services.

Americans shell out more than $7 billion in bank fees every year. According to Consumer Reports article, those numbers are expected to escalate as mega financial institutions look to recapture lost revenue. The article suggests shopping around to save money, and points to credit unions as an option to avoid the highest fees. To find a credit union, go to