Here are 8 Ways You Could be Wasting Money Unintentionally.

Are you looking for ways to cut back? Do you feel like you’re wasting money? I think there are many ways that we waste money whether it’s intentional or not. And if you’re on the journey out of debt, you need all the extra money you can find. Setbacks along the way can be disastrous. So read through this list of ways to waste money, and make sure you’re not guilty of any of these offenses.

There are certainly some crazy, maybe even insane ways to save money. According to my 7-year-old son, going to the bathroom outside is a great way to save money. After-all, the water you save from not having to flush the toilet more than makes up for the inconvenience of finding a big tree.

In all seriousness though, some of these things are great ways to save money with little to no effort.

1. Not doing a Budget

You don’t even know how much money you’re wasting if you don’t track your spending. And if you don’t have a budget or plan for your spending, it’s far too easy to spend money whenever the opportunity arises.

The hard part with this one is that a budget is work, and it takes some commitment to keep it going and to stick with it. But it is worth it. Trust me! Having a plan for spending your money is liberating. It’s not that you can’t spend any money. It’s just that you are free to spend the money that you planned.

2. Thinking that We can’t cut something because it’s too important.

When you’re in get out of debt mode, everything is fair game. Or least it should be discussed. Outside of housing, transportation, utilities, and food, the other budget items could be cut. Seriously, your kid doesn’t need gymnastics or ballet or horseback riding lessons. They’ll live without those activities. And it doesn’t have to be permanent. It’s just a temporary measure to save money short-term.

You’ll be amazed at how your kids respond once they realize the reason for the cutbacks. Remember it’s for debt reduction and for freedom in the future.

3. Signing up for a subscription that you intend to cancel, and then forgetting to cancel.

This is how most of the freemium services make their money. They offer a free trial period, and if you don’t cancel before the trial period is up, you’re on the hook for the monthly subscription. And you just wanted to try it. But then you got busy, and you forgot to cancel. And now it’s just a hassle.

But you’re not really sold on the service you’re now paying for. You just don’t want to go through the aggravation of calling them and canceling. It’s just easier to keep paying. What?!!??!!

Call them this minute, and cancel that meal subscription, or that video service, or . . . whatever. You know what I’m talking about. You’re just wasting money.

4. Buying Name brands vs the Generic brand

Were you raised in household where the generic brand was looked down upon in disgust? “The store brand could never taste the same as the well-known brand!!”

Did you know that when it comes to food, most store brands are the exact same item as the name brand. And they’re even made in the same factory!!

So why spend more money buying the exact same thing? Do you really like the fancier packaging that much??

5. Wanting a new version when a used one would do just fine.

I’m guilty of this one as well. I like new things just as much as the next person. We were shopping in a thrift store the other day. And my wife showed me a book that she wanted to buy for us to read together. It was certainly used, and had some stains on the pages. But it was only a dollar.

I said that I would rather buy a new copy on Kindle for $8 just to have a new version. Now that was just a tiny example. I mean, spending $8 instead of $1 isn’t going to break us, but the principle is the same. If you would rather buy a new couch for $1000 than spend $100 on a good used couch off Craigslist, then you are just wasting money.

6. Buying something that you don’t need because it was a great deal.

Have you ever seen a great deal in the store, and thought, “Wow, I could buy that!! It’s 80% off!!? And the sale ends tomorrow!! I might never get another chance!”

In reality, you will get another chance. Stores are always having sales. And if you wait until you actually need the item you’ll be able to research and shop around, instead of buying the sale item on impulse. Which as we all know is a bad idea.

7. Buying the Extended Warranty

You may think that you’re being pro-active and smart by purchasing that extended warranty on your new weed whacker that you just bought at Lowe’s, but it really is just a waste of money.

Even on larger items like houses and cars, an extended warranty is a waste of money. Just think about this. Why would insurance companies sell extended warranties if they didn’t make any money, your money, on them? The truth is, they do make money on them.

And you can forget about them to pay out when you actually need a repair. Most times the broken item or part is not even covered. Or the coverage is so limited that you’ll never actually be able use it.

Stop wasting money, and fix it yourself, or if it’s a smaller item, buy a new one.

8. Getting nabbed with a speeding ticket.
police car lights

Speeding is something that most of us do, and we never think about that much. But it can be costly if you get pulled over. Raise your hand if you’ve received a speeding ticket. I’ve certainly had my share.

Giving the local government $200 or so for each offense just seems too generous to me.

Because it’s really not that hard to simply slow down. Especially if you’re traveling 30 miles or less; say for work. The difference between traveling 60 mph and 70 mph is just 4 minutes or less for shorter trips. Are you really willing to risk $200 just to arrive four minutes earlier?


So what about you? Are you guilty of any of these unintentional money wasters? Keep your eye out, and you may run into more ways that you’re wasting money. If you do, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

It’s amazing when you start looking what you find.

Thanks for reading and sharing.


Chris is the original Cash Dad. He's a father of 3 and a mechanical engineer by trade.


  1. I feel like #4 was directed at me. I don’t think I am guilty of too any of these and certainly not as many as you? Maybe #6. I do love a good deal. Which reminds me…it is yard sale season! Looking forward to buying lots of other peoples junk and calling it my own. Great post, Honey!
    Love you,

  2. Mike Monfredi Reply

    Haha. You guys…

    This was good, Chris – but your son may have had the best idea!! Save water and electricity – go outside!

    You make some good points here and I’ll agree that we could all probably work on some of these. Nice job!

  3. Great article Chris. I am definitely guilty of numbers 6 and 7. These are things most people don’t think about in the long run but will sure save you money that you may never use.

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