Common Habits That Are Draining Your Wallet

Try as you might to save your money, you’re still surprised at the end of each month by how much you end up spending. That is in part because some of our everyday habits are costing us far more than we realize. Here’s a look at common habits that are draining your wallet. (Page 8 is a real eye-opener.)

1. Your morning coffee run

Coffee
Morning coffee | Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

We aren’t just talking about the super fancy lattes either. Certified financial adviser Nancy Fellinger tells USA Today a measly $3-a-day coffee habit becomes “$21.00 a week or $1,092 a year. If I took that $1,092 a year and invested it in something that averaged 7% in 10 years, I’d have $15,087.” Long story short: Invest in a coffee machine and get your fix at home.

Next: This habit is more costly than you think …

2. Not cleaning your plate

Pesto pasta on white plate
Eating pasta | a_namenko/Getty Images

According to a Forbes report from 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) says 30% of food is wasted globally each year, rounding out to about $1 trillion a year. So every time you don’t clear your plate and toss that food away, that’s money down the drain. Consider cooking or ordering smaller portions, or eating your leftovers.

Next: There’s a fine line here …

3. Constantly updating your electronics

iPhones in boxes
New iPhones in boxes | George Frey/Getty Images

Having outdated electronics that don’t work properly is never a good thing. But being on the opposite end of the spectrum and updating your gadgets every time something new comes out can hit your finances pretty hard. Plus, if you don’t recycle your old phones and other electronics, you could be leaving even more money on the table.

Next: Where everybody knows your name, and where your money can rapidly disappear … 

4. Posting up at your local watering hole

bartender, worst jobs
Bartender | yacobchuk/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you have a regular bar you like to frequent or you’re a fan of trying out new places, going out to drink multiple times a week can really put a dent in your finances. But don’t worry — we aren’t suggesting you give this habit up cold turkey! Instead, check out these helpful tips.

Next: You’ve probably heard this one before …

5. Grabbing a quick bite on the go

Eating at the office
Your favorite Chinese takeout| iStock.com/Ekaterina Molchanova

In addition to not keeping you full throughout the day, your midday takeout routine is also costing you some serious cash. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics says the average American household spends roughing $3,000 a year eating out. While it sounds like more work, meal prep and mini meals will save you money in the long run.

Next: The most unhealthy habit on our list …

6. Smoking

Nicotine smoking
A hand holding a cigarette | Terroa/iStock/Getty Images

This isn’t new news — anyone who smokes knows it’s an expensive habit. WalletHub tells us smoking costs the country more than $300 billion every year “which includes both medical care and lost productivity.” 

Next: Being a social butterfly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be …

7. Accepting any and all social invitations

Social invitation | krung99/ iStock/ Getty Images

Good for you for having a loaded social calendar! Just beware of how much these activities are spending you on a monthly basis. Thankfully, Forbes offers some very helpful tips for staying social without completely emptying out your bank account.

Next: You’ll be amazed how much of an effect this has …

8. Not writing a list before you go shopping

Woman with Shopping List
Woman with Shopping List | Cathy Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

You may think you can keep a mental list of what you need from the grocery store and be a-okay. But for most people, going to any store without your essentials written-out prompts you to stray and buy things you don’t need. Another way you end up spending too much money at the grocery store? Shopping when you’re hungry.

Next: Here’s a biggie …

9. Having cable TV

Watching TV
Watching TV | Ahmet Yarali/iStock/Getty Images

That’s right — this once-necessity has become more of a money suck than anything else. You end up with paying for channels you never watch and arguing with the cable company about who-knows-what. There are good alternatives that will help you get your TV fix without sucking your bank account dry.

Next: This habit gets many of us into trouble …

10. Updating your wardrobe regularly

Overstuffed clothing in wardrobe or closet
| DLMcK/iStock/Getty Images

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep your style updated. Just beware the bite of the shopping bug, which can wreak havoc on your bank account. If this is a habit you struggle with, consider setting a monthly budget for yourself.

Next: Another habit that can be tempting …

11. Traveling whenever you have time off

a camera and notebook spread over a map
Travel plans | Fly_dragonfly/iStock/Getty Images

The occasional trip is fine and dandy. But if every stretch of time off includes packing a bag and hopping on a plane, it can get expensive. Credit Karma offers up advice on ways to cut back on travel costs.

Next: Most of us are guilty of this habit …

12. Always using your debit or credit card

credit cards over grey background
Credit cards | Kenishirotie/iStock/Getty Images

It doesn’t matter how good you are at mental math. Constantly pulling out the plastic to make purchases is a good way to lose track of how much money you’re actually spending and makes you spend more, NerdWallet says. Consider carrying more cash on hand to get a better idea of how much you should be spending.

Next: This habit can be fun, but it can also be pricey …

13. Regularly hosting events

Dinner toast | DragonImages/ iStock/ Getty Images

Good for you for being the host with the most! Just keep in mind, being the social chair of your group of friends can be expensive. Bustle has some good tips for throwing a shindig on a budget, which can help take some stress off both you and your wallet.

Next: This habit is easy to change …

14. Leaving the lights on

Lightbulbs
Lightbulbs | RomoloTavani/iStock/Getty Images

What can be said about this habit that hasn’t been said already? Leaving the lights on boosts your electric bill and burns through the life of bulbs. No fancy tricks here — just turn the lights off when you leave a room.

Next: Last but not least …

15. Going overboard with the small purchases

Ten dollars
Ten dollars | OlyaSolodenko/iStock/Getty Images

“Spending $20 once in a while won’t break the bank. But spending $20 several times every month could send you to the poorhouse, depending on your income,” SafeBee.com cautions. This is where everyone can benefit from mapping out their finances for the month. Being hyper-aware of how much money you’re spending can go a long way to helping you save some of it.

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